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Discussion Starter #1
Last six months, I have been working on long distance casting with single, double and snake roll. I use 8/9 or 9/10 midspey line with 15' footer- 10/11 old GLX, T&T1015-3 or Sage 9150-4. I was able to cast 130 to 140' including leader - not consistently though, with underlining the rod, better handling of running line off the water, using the bottom hand more- tighter loop, longer and higher forward stroke. I believe I can not cast 140' consistently because I can not cast 150'. When I cast 110'+, bending more butt section, starting forward stroke at 2 or even 21/2 o' clock, my loop gets wider about 4' more. Do you think that wider loop keeps me from longer distance casting? or something else is missing here? I appreciate any thoughts or opinions.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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howdy!

ok, first of all, if you can cast 120ft consistently you are casting farther than most of us. Distance casting is fun and really sharpens your skills but is rarely necessary--most fish are hooked less than 100ft from the beach (which may be because most folks can't cast more than 100ft, but that's another topic).

Distance casting--spey or otherwise--is all about loop control and line speed. Tight loops and high line speed will get you out there. The wider loop is costing you distance for sure, but from the rear a speyloop can look bigger than it is. Have a look at this clip:

http://www.speypages.com/iangordon2.mpg

If you were standing at the casting position that loop would look huge, even though we can clearly see that it is quite tight and goes out a long way (this is Ian Gordon at Spey-O-Rama this past May--a great cast from a master).

The only way to know for sure is to have a trained pair of eyes watch you cast. You are not loading the rod as well as you might, and this is costing you consistent distance. What exactly is "going wrong" can only be determined through observation.

Another thing to note: you might want to consider moving up to a long belly line. Let's say you have a XLT with a headlength of 90ft - 100ft. In terms of line length cast (not actual casting distance--130ft actual cast length is usually 135ft+ actual line length) if you can pick up, move and cast a 100ft belly, then you only have to shoot 30ft of line to make a 145ft cast (line length including leader). Since the Midspey has a 65ft head, you have a lot more shooting line to deal with. For extreme distance I prefer to carry the longest belly I can and shoot the least amount of running line.
 

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J.

Can't say that I can consistantly cast to 140' either (nor am I sure I want or need to) but I did notice a big improvement in my distance casting from a few changes in my stroke:

(1) Setting up the back stroke proved to be much more important than I had realised. I found that coming around low on the back cast, that is lifting to no more than 10 o'clock (as against the more usual 11 o'Clock position) and keeping the rod at shoulder level thereafter set up a much more efficient pointed D Loop. It is of course much harder work but it gives much more speed to the line. It brings the line around low and paralelle to the water resulting in a straight touch down and less line stick. Simon Gawesqort gives a valuable hint in the International Speycasting video that you should hardly be able to hear the "splash & go"!

(2) Pulling the stroke rather than pushing. When you have set up the back cast and it is on its way you will realise that there is a second or two to set up the forward cast to the 2 o'clock position you mentioned, but also try drifting upwards which will allow you to pull the stroke with a defenite emphasis on the underhand.

(3) Lining the rod correctly. I would guess that the majority of two handed rods are incorrectly line and for the most part by too heavy a line. For example the Midspey you mentioned is 725 grains for the 9/10 line which is too heavy for the Euro 15'1" 10# and the 8/9 is 640 grains which is about correct.

It took me six weeks of twice a week four sessions to sort out my spey casting and even now when I havn't fished for some weeks I have to put in an hours practice to get the rhyth.

Regards

Don
 

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Distance casting

With the CLA game fair coming up, we are going to see the best distance casters in the world, i hope it will be a good comp, as there is a few other guys going that have never entered a competition but can really cast, I am sure the title will be going to a highlander, not sure which one.
There will be loads of other stuff, so going to go and watch the master speycasters, and try and take in some of the demo's, along with around 130,000 other people.
Gordon.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your advice. Looking at Ian's casting which I think was about 140' distant, do you think the loop is tight and is it a good cast?, Do you think he loses energy when he raises his rod before forward stroke, at the end of back sweep. In Simon's advanced spey casting chapter, he does not recommand raising the rod at the end of back sweep. Do you think it won't matter because that is also matter of personal style?
I know for sure being able to cast 120'+ is a must in my fishing. I have many reasons for that. I cast 7/8, 8/9 XLT which could not turn over heavily dressed or tungsten beaded flies.
It is interesting to hear that 10151-4 Sage Euro is better with 8/9 midspey line. I know 9/10 mid spey line is perfect with old 10/11 GLX. If this is the case, How reliable is Rio line recommendation?
 

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Starting Point

J. The RIO recommendations are a good starting point, but only a starting point. You obviously have some very secific needs for distance and using a heavier fly. Not quite sure about the latter. In any case, the 7/8 XLT may be the choice for extreme distance on a rod, when RIO calls for more, for shorter distances. Also, what you like to cast makes a difference. I like a lighter line for a crisper response from a rod.
 

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J.

Rio lines are very reliable; it is the Rods that are inconsistant. Rio led the way some years ago in publishing the grain weight of their lines and the Rod manufacturers are only now contemplating following their lead.

In fairness to the Rod manufacturers it is only now that a standard Spey line rating has been published; previously one mans 8/9 Spey line was anothers 13#!

I have a couple of Scandinavian Rods which have the recommended line weight printed on the butt eg 26 gms or 400 grains (together with the AFTMA rating) and then they also supply matching lines!

As regards the shape of your loop try this: allow say three feet of overhang when stripping in line and going into the cast. You will find that you can handle more overhang with a pulling stroke, and you will notice that your loop will climb and become pointed as it does so and will thereby help with that extra distance. The overhang can be hard to judge with long rear tapers in contrast to shooting heads and it help to mark the line at that 'sweet spot'.

I agree with you that there is to my mind a surprising delay in Ian Gordans stroke between the touch down of the line and his forward cast (suggests to me that there is more potential there?)

Yes Drifting is optional but you will find it very effective and quite a natural movement.

Regards

Don
 

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chrome-magnon man
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yes, I would call that a tight loop. Ian drifts, and then begins his forward cast prior to the line touching down which is a good thing. The comment about the delay: I was interested to note how much line the Scots were laying on the water. Ian, Scott, Gordon, Bill--four of the elite casters in the bunch--all had big anchors, yet all were casting miles. As always there was a fine line between "just right" and "too much", but these fellows had more stick than pretty much anyone else. It has certainly made me re-think some things about the casts, particularly extreme distance tournament casts.

If I am reading Simon correctly (pp. 185 -6 of Spey Casting) he is referring to raising the rod tip to 1 o'clock as part of the backcast stroke. Drifting occurs after the stroke is completed. In the following clip you can see it in action:

http://www.speypages.com/timing2.mpg

Here, after the initial lift the rod tip travels back in a relatively straight line (you'll notice a slight dip of the top hand as the backstroke begins--this is not intentional, but a function of the bending of the elbow--I don't advocate a conscious dipping of the rod tip during the backcast because this elbow bend and the responsive tip of modern rods takes care of any dipping for you), then you can see it unload and the caster (me) is right into the rearward (slightly) and upward drift, that moves right into the forward stroke before the line has touched down.

This is the rear loop shape you get and what happens when you drift:

http://www.speypages.com/Vloop.mpg

Now, let me point out too that this will vary depending on casting style. For example, my default style tends to be more like an underhand cast:

http://www.speypages.com/danastr2.mpg

As you can see there is a definite "pulling" rather than "pushing" of the rod butt. To make this cast work you need to raise the rod up so that you can bring it back down again. This is similar to what the Syrstads do with their Modern Speycasting technique. Simon tends to use more top arm extension. In his style, with a long flat back cast and minimal lifting you can make a long forward stroke; in order for me to make a long forward stroke with my "pull down" method I need to first lift the rod up.

Simon makes a really good point on pg. 2 of his book:

There are many different styles of spey casting. This book is not going to show you the way to spey cast. This is just an interpretation of the techniques that have worked for me, both as a caster and as an instructor.
A lot of what we are discussing here does come down to style. Bottom line is anyone casting 130ft+ consistently with minimal effort is doing pretty much everything right. Here are some different ways to do everything right:

Dec Hogan

Way Yin

Scott Baker-McGarva

some guy from Vancouver

Ian Gordon
 

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About the Gordon vid: Wow, that´s a beautiful cast. Especially when considering the guy is standing almost waist deep in the water.

I guess he was using his Partridge lines but do you know what rods he´s using, Dana?
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Do not see Dana online but I can answer as to what rod he was using. It was one of his new Partridge 15' rods he designed that should be avail sometime after the Denver show. Paired with his long belly partridge line I think it was easily one of the best combos I cast at the event. Eagerly awaiting for them to be avail this fall. They are killer sticks.

-sean
 

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Discussion Starter #14
long ditance casting.

Thanks Dana, Don and others { esp, Dana for posting detailed explanation with movies}. Last year when my max. casting distance was 120', I never ever thought about casting 120'+ and hooking fish. I've been told long casting is not necessary and end up with bad presentation. This spring, I was able to hook at least two dozen stealheads holding 130 to 140' away. What would you do next when you cast 60' out at max. wading and there is no bite? If you can not cast 70', you may step down and you have to miss fish holding 70+ away. I am refering to pools with relatively even flow. This is an example of short distant casting being advantageous. Let's say that you went to the Thompson river where many pools are 1/2 mile long and you find nobody is fishing in whole river which will never happen to us, it would be stupid casting more than 60-70' away unless you see the stucture out there- most time fish are holding close to shore when they are not spooked and if you cast far, you end up covering only a few pools. If your max. casting distance is 120' with floating line with a yarn, the distance will be much less when wind is blowing at you or when you are using heavy flies with a 18'+ leader or sinking tips. I strongly believe in long distant casting in real fishing situation. I will continue to practice and research until I can cast 150'+.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Funny you would mention the Thompson. My home river, and where I learned to speycast. I like to cast long on the T for the hell of it, and it also pays off from time to time. There are several big flat pools that I fish on that river where the fish could be anywhere--no real structure that you can see--so casting a long way is a good call whether first or last through the pool.

When I was working on my distance casting I remember hitting a few plateus, and then experiencing significant revelations that moved me off them. Watching videos and reading I had taught myself to cast 100ft, then I plateaued. Working on my timing and showing me how to move a long belly line (100ft+ belly of the original Spey-Driver) Derek Brown helped me move on out to 120ft when he visited in 1997 or 1998. Then I hit another wall and I clawed my way to 125ft+ - 130ft but I was sloppy. It wasn't until I had to relearn how to cast due to my elbow injury a few years ago that I really moved off that 130ft plateau. A new casting style (underhand with long belly lines), and careful study of long distance single hand casting (get George Roberts' video Saltwater Fly Casting) took me to the next level. Now after spending some time with Gordon Armstrong at Spey-O-Rama this year I am motivated to work on my distance again.

You mention having trouble with the XLT casting your flies. Have you tried the GrandSpey?
 

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sean said:
Do not see Dana online but I can answer as to what rod he was using. It was one of his new Partridge 15' rods he designed that should be avail sometime after the Denver show. Paired with his long belly partridge line I think it was easily one of the best combos I cast at the event. Eagerly awaiting for them to be avail this fall. They are killer sticks.

-sean

Thanks Sean!

Seems like Ian is busy indeed!

You wouldn´t happen to know which manufacturer is making these rods?
 

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From looking at the build (kinda look like Loops) it seems to me they are probably built in Korea for Patridge. However, I am not sure so I will send Ian an email and ask him.

Will let you know what I find out,

-sean
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Dana, it seems to me that I am following your path. I have been speycasting since 1990. Unfortunately, I had not thought about casting seriously until last year because I had been so busy with only fishing. But lately, I am more excited with casting than hooking fish. As you know, I am hitting 140' wall. I talked two other guys who claimed they have cast 150'-160'. The first guy whom you know, he works in M &Y fly shop and help you this year's spey class. The second one is a young owner of fly shop in NJ. Interestingly, both cast with CND salar 15'6'' that I just got yesterday, I had to buy it, both told me everything had to be right. One was using 8/9 XLT and the other Carron jet stream 9/10 tornament. From viewing and studying the best caster's casting, Scott Mckenzie is the one who has the longest stroke with underhand casting. Maybe he has the answer for me. Dana, your casting
videos inspired me into casting. Thanks again.
In terms of Rio GS, I heard the new ones able to turn over large flies. I will try GS and Carron this year. It is funny that Dave O' brien speycast before you did.
 
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