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At our spey casting class a month ago one student asked "What should I do after my fly lands on the water?" Speybro replied "Gentlemen, Always remember M.A.T. Mend, Angle and Tension." Any comments regarding these three aspects would be appreciated. Perhaps elaborations re: depth, speed, sink rate, tips, inside seam, outside seam, Skagit. Thankyou, Link
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Mend the line so the fly is downstream of the line; angle means the angle of the cast from where you are standing in the river; and tension refers to keeping the line taught between you and the fly while either slowing the fly's progress across the river or speeding it up so it moves faster than the current.

In the low water temps of late fall/winter/early spring for steelhead, you want to slow the fly as much as possible as it swings across the current to give the fish maximum time to move to the fly and for the fly to remain sunk at sufficient depth. In late spring/summer/early fall there are times that you need to move the fly across the current faster (sometimes much faster) than the current when fishing a very slow pool.
 

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I agree but let me add two little things

about mending. I've watched a lot of people make unnecessary mends, and have done so myself until someone showed me. Some water doesn't require mending, like a nice slow moving pool, not all but some don't. Also, when making your mends, watch your line, sometimes the fish will take right after you make your mend and if you aren't watching your line, you won't see or feel the take.

CDG
 

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I was going to put in my .02 cents...

but these fellows covered it pretty darned well!
:smokin:
 

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i like to activate the bug,during the swing,,been referred to as a TWITCH,,sometimes,,sometimes,this will be the diff,, 2 centavos!
 

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Lift, Touch and Fire
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Any info about winter tactics, sink-tips, mending, fly size & patterns. Trial & error stragety and re-veiwing T Combs books has fishless and cold.:rolleyes:
 

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2spey,

Summer or winter it is the same things at play. the only differences in the winter are the use of fast sinking tips and slowing the dirft of the fly as much as possible through the use of a back mend (an upstream mend as soon as the fly hits the water).
 

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EAT IT!!!
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This is all sound advice, but you all forgot one thing. I find it helps to talk (sometimes swear at) the fish while I am in mid-swing. :hehe: The best advantge of this: Keeps anglers from crowding you as people seem to steer clear of the Spey Rodder muttering under his breath at the uncooperative fish. On the serious side, mending is fine, but a whole lot can be accomplished by leading or following with a 13-16 foot rod and changing the angle of the cast up and down stream. Now if I could only perfect the Two hander Spey and reach reach cast, mending wouldn't be much of an issue.
 

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A great way to better understand and practice this is to put a waking fly on and see what is necessary to "keep the fly alive". It is the tension that works the fly and a visual indicator does wonders in understanding M.A.T.
 

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Lift, Touch and Fire
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Cold wx swingers

Thanks for all your replies,but I need some more. This to all you cold Wx swingers. What size flies, angle of fishable swing, general locations of fish, leader length,fly color, a description on how to get low and slow, a description of mending technques.:rolleyes:
 

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Fly size for cold winter water is easy: anything from #2 to as large as you can cast pretty much covers it. Colors are the standard steelhead colors found in any of the books on steelhead fly fishing. Angle of the swing (really angle of the cast) is dependent upon current speed and to a lesser extent depth of water. The faster the current the more downstream you need to cast for a proper slow swing.

Depth of fly is dependent on current speed, fly size, hook weight, whether the fly is weighted in any manner, and the sink rate of the sink tip being used. I'm aware this sounds too simple; but it really is what fly depth is dependent upon. Faster or deeper water requires a faster sinking sink tip or a heavier fly (possibly both).

Mending is likewise simple: make a large backmend upstream as soon as the fly touches down on the cast to sink the fly and to set up the line for a proper slow swing. Beyond that, mend as little as you can after this initial backmend. Also, you should work on making a downstream curve cast with your 2-hander from each shoulder so that your fly is in the correct downstream position when the backmend is made. This aids in sinking the fly and sink tip since they move more downstream than across stream.

Leader length: keep it short for sink tip work. Most winter steelheaders use leaders of 3ft to 5 ft with a good working average of 4 ft. The short leader keep the fly from riding much higher than the sink tip.

As to where the fish are found, they are found in the same water types that they are found at other times of the year. They are just not as inclined to move a few feet to take a fly or lure due to the cold water.
 

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Right on Kush

I tried the waking fly last fall and it is amazing what I did not know. I learned I was usually mending too much. 1. I would not mend. 2. Mend as soon as the fly landed. 3. Mend about a 60 degree angle. Each of these mending time gave a different time when the fly would make its horizonal move in the drift. On a nice smooth tail out I liked the action of the fly when I did not mend at all. As for tension. I think of tension while I am making the cast. I like to keep tension on the rod when I change direction. The helps me keep the rod under load in this transition. Jerry
 

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2 Spey, it sounds like the best thing might be just trying to visualize what is occuring below the surface during your swing. As Kush wisely said, swinging a dry is the best way to begin to see how you affect the swing of your fly through mends and the like. Others who have responded have done a LOT more winter cold H2O swinging than I have, but my two cents would be to start trying to "see" where in the water fish will lie, and visualize how you want your fly to fish each swing. By knowing what you want to happen, it is a lot easier to make your fly swing in a productive manner.
Winter steelheading is never an easy game. Don't dispair when fish don't jump all over your flies. I enjoy trying to make every cast fish out the way I want it to, and this is what brings pleasure to my days. Sooner or later something is gonna grab you. If you are swinging reasonably slowly, somewhere near the river bottom, in a run that holds fish, you're fishing well. Don't make it more complicated and confusing than that. Certainly, as time goes on you will become more efficiant at all aspects of winter fishing, but for now get your flies in the drink and have fun fishing. :) Until then, Happy Holidays!!!!
 

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flytyer said:
Also, you should work on making a downstream curb cast with your 2-hander from each shoulder so that your fly is in the correct downstream position when the backmend is made.

Hey Fly Tyer, I assume you mean curve cast. I can pull off a reach reasonably well (on my cordinated days), but I hadn't thought about a curve. With the single hander, the extra line speed to make a positve curve comes (for myself) from the haul and sometimes bouncing the rod tip back after a very quick stop. I am not sure if I could generate the necessary line speed with my two hander.
If you could please describe how you make this cast it would be super!
Oh, is this easier with tips than the floating line? Seems like it would be. Thanks;)
 

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Dr. Swing,

You are correct I meant curve cast not curb cast, don't you love typos.

To make a curve cast with a 2-hander is really quite easy. All you do is snap your top hand wrist in the direction you want the fly and line end to go when the final power is applied to the cast. In other words, turn your top hand so that the knuckles are facing up with the double spey, snap-t, or circle-t, and turn your top hand so that your palm is facing you with the single spey or snake roll. Remember that this movement of your top hand is made right at the end of the power application for the cast.

This little move, once mastered, will place the line's tip and fly downstream of the line because it produces a downstream curve right at the last few feet of the line on the cast. The same thing can be accomplished with a single-hand rod by doing the same thing with your casting hand.
 

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Thanks Flytier! Yes typo's are no fun. When I get a defrost I will be out practicing that one (could be awhile.) Sounds simple enough, but of course I sure it will take a little work. The mechanics make perfect sense on paper. Thanks for the excellent description. Curves should make for some darn good presentations. :smokin:
 
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