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Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought the cortland long belly Spey line. After it had shipped I realized that I ordered their 7wt (550gr) instead of the 8wt (600gr).

This is my first time casting a 60ft head and it was eye opening that I have some practice to do compared to casting scandi and skagit heads.

Instead of returning the 7wt I figured that I’d give it a try because it was similar grain weight to my skagit heads. Because of the longer taper would it be better to have the heavier line?

I felt like I had a hard time generating line speed to fully turn over the line but I also wasn’t able to form a tight loop until I only focused on casting just the head. I’m assuming this is all operator error but was wondering how you gauge what gr weight long/mid belly lines to cast. I’m using a Loop evotec 8136-4 f

Appreciate and information from more experienced casters. I did notice my casting improved when I focused on not letting my rod tip drop too far toward the water on backcast/sweep and forward cast. I had a lot of casts that the line just stuck to the water and failed which I’m guessing was improper anchor on single Spey and snake roll.
 

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I believe Mr. Meiser has said it well :

~ Classic Speys

Many traditional two handed anglers feel that the true poetic beauty of delivery will be best achieved with the use of a longer bellied Classic Spey line married to a long rod. I fully agree with this, and I will always pause my fishing day to watch, and admire a skilled long line caster.

One of the major advantages of Classic Spey lines that anglers universally appreciate is that in order to successfully fish many of their runs, they need only to present, swing and re-deliver the lines long belly length, this minimizing the need to strip in long lengths of running line at the end of every delivery. Shooting heads (on the other hand) have much shorter head lengths, and each delivery will require the striping in of a substantial length of running line.

Rule of thumb: Classic Spey line belly lengths will generally be 4 to 4.5 X the rod’s length. A long line caster delivering a 14'0” rod will feel comfortable with 55' to 65' of aerialized line grain beyond the rod tip. A 13'0” rod will like 50' to 55' etc. Their preferred grain weights will be similar to that of comparable Skagit on the same rod. For example: If your 14'0' 7 wt rod performs well with 650/675 grains of Skagit and tip … I would suggest a Classic Spey of a similar grain weight = 650/675 grains.

Another way to approach the marriage of a suitable grain weighted Classic Spey would be to use the rods determined grain window. If your 14'0” 7 wt has a grain window of 450/750, the happy spot for most classic Speys will be around +- 100 grains down from the high end of the grain window = +- 650 grains.

Most well designed Classic Speys will have the ability to carry both conventional tapered mono leaders, and poly coated sinking leaders with equal efficiency. The most versatile will be those long belly lines that will have the ability to carry not only mono and poly leaders, but also have the ability to carry various sink rate tips as well.


Hope this helps you out :)


Mike
 

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Plus one from Mr Meisers article.

I am not familiar with that line/rod set up but personally I find that moving up a bit in weight can be helpful with long lines. This also depends on the lines profile/taper. I tried an Aerohead 510 on my Loomis and couldn't do it. The nextcast ff70 which is a heavier head cast great and I think it a bit longer as well.

You also have to remember that all that line has to behind you and in line with the target before it will fly forward. You must keep you rod up high to keep the line off the water and not let it drop. Too much line in water will drag the cast down. If you find your pulling the anchor out try lengthening the leader. 20 feet of leader would not be uncommon.

Good luck.
Dan
 

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(Quote)I felt like I had a hard time generating line speed to fully turn over the line but I also wasn’t able to form a tight loop until I only focused on casting just the head. I’m assuming this is all operator error but was wondering how you gauge what gr weight long/mid belly lines to cast. I’m using a Loop evotec 8136-4 f

You should only be casting the head plus a little overhang. Try a shotgun lift to clear most of the line from the water before swinging into the key position. Concentrate on slow on the lift, and the rest of the cast. That helped me on the transition from Scandi to short belly.
 

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The two previous gentlemen gave excellent advice :)
The “shotgun lift” truly helps release the line from the water and brings it high in the surface. I find it essential when using a heavy iron on thin mono, or sinking poly or a sink-tip.
As stated, practice with just the head and a bit of over hang out of the tip. Much easier when transitioning to traditional belly lines. Once you feel comfortable, which may take a few outings, then slowly add some over hang if you can manage and try shooting some line. Once you get the hang of the traditional belly lines, you’ll be shooting rod lengths of running line :smokin:

Caution : the lure of casting long belly lines and shooting rod lengths of running line can be as, or more addictive then swinging for Chrome. It’s not uncommon that you will over target your cast because you can :hihi:


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies! I did another practice session today after reading some of your thoughts. The quote about grains being similar to skagit lines gave me confidence that it was in fact me that was terrible and not the line.

I focused on a slower lift, more bottom hand during the sweep and that seemed to put me in a good position to let it go on the forward cast. Really appreciate the advice, it’s great to have a community to help answer questions when you are trying to learn on your own.
 

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Keeping rod tip high when the D-loop forms is not good method to prevent anchor stuck too much. Only good way is to cast the back cast line loop higher!

Keeping rod too upright cause a Tailing Loop when long cast is done. When gravity pulls the rod leg of the D-loop down it is good to Drift rod tip down to keep line straighter and lessen TL and this also makes following forward casting stroke longer.

Esa
 

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I know this will cause an argument, but it is what I strongly believe. If I were to cast a 60 foot head line I would want to use a 17 foot rod. With you 14 foot rod you will be struggling and working pretty hard; and I don't buy the argument to cast with part of the head inside the rod tip.

A 60 foot-head line was designed to be cast with the entire head outside the rod tip.

(BTW, at the end of your back sweep trying making sure that your top elbow is pointing at the target, in other words, straight ahead. That way you won't be dumping too much line on the water, and when you make your forward cast you won't lower the rod tip from the target line.)

Randy
 

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I recently bought the cortland long belly Spey line. After it had shipped I realized that I ordered their 7wt (550gr) instead of the 8wt (600gr).

This is my first time casting a 60ft head and it was eye opening that I have some practice to do compared to casting scandi and skagit heads.

Instead of returning the 7wt I figured that I’d give it a try because it was similar grain weight to my skagit heads. Because of the longer taper would it be better to have the heavier line?

I felt like I had a hard time generating line speed to fully turn over the line but I also wasn’t able to form a tight loop until I only focused on casting just the head. I’m assuming this is all operator error but was wondering how you gauge what gr weight long/mid belly lines to cast. I’m using a Loop evotec 8136-4 f

Appreciate and information from more experienced casters. I did notice my casting improved when I focused on not letting my rod tip drop too far toward the water on backcast/sweep and forward cast. I had a lot of casts that the line just stuck to the water and failed which I’m guessing was improper anchor on single Spey and snake roll.
Thanks for the replies! I did another practice session today after reading some of your thoughts. The quote about grains being similar to skagit lines gave me confidence that it was in fact me that was terrible and not the line.

I focused on a slower lift, more bottom hand during the sweep and that seemed to put me in a good position to let it go on the forward cast. Really appreciate the advice, it’s great to have a community to help answer questions when you are trying to learn on your own.
That is fine for now , but you'll come to realize there doesn't have to be a correlation between other types of lines and the weights that you can cast. If you look at all the different grains-weights and classes for different types of lines(heads, short-bellies, medium and long ) you will notice a lot of overlap. Example : There are short bellies (50 to 60 feet) that weigh as much as 70-foot long bellies which is to say there isn't any hard-set rules on what line-weight a rod will cast and it may be a line as light as 6-weight to as heavy as 9-weight to that rod - maybe more. In other words don't limit yourself that way.




I know this will cause an argument, but it is what I strongly believe. If I were to cast a 60 foot head line I would want to use a 17 foot rod. With you 14 foot rod you will be struggling and working pretty hard; and I don't buy the argument to cast with part of the head inside the rod tip.

A 60 foot-head line was designed to be cast with the entire head outside the rod tip.



(BTW, at the end of your back sweep trying making sure that your top elbow is pointing at the target, in other words, straight ahead. That way you won't be dumping too much line on the water, and when you make your forward cast you won't lower the rod tip from the target line.)

Randy
You don't have to buy into it - but you can. That's the cool part of it.

Maybe you can explain how that is (save for shooting heads) and why it can not be done.
 

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All Tangled Up
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I know this will cause an argument, but it is what I strongly believe. If I were to cast a 60 foot head line I would want to use a 17 foot rod. With you 14 foot rod you will be struggling and working pretty hard; and I don't buy the argument to cast with part of the head inside the rod tip.
Yes, I, and probably everyone else on the board that casts long lines, pretty strongly disagree that a 17ft (!) rod is needed or even desirable at that head length. Good luck even finding a 17-footer these days, especially in lighter non-salmon weights. To give one objective data point -- the max rod length for the FFI THCI exam is 15'; the practical minimum head length to qualify the line is in the low 60s for a 9/10 weight rod. For a good caster, a 60ft head is fairly standard and pretty easy to manage on a 15' rod. If you prefer a longer rod, fine, that's your preference, but most people will be better served with more practice than more tackle.

Having said that, I do agree that a 60ft head on a 13'6" rod is a bit much when first moving up from Scandi heads. And personally I'd prefer a 15' at that head length [though, a 14' wouldn't be a problem if that's what I found in the truck.] My usual advice for someone experimenting with longer lines on a 13'6" would be something like an Aero or a NextCast FF55. Get perfect with one of those and then move up.

On the head weight question vis-a-vis skagit heads: Yes, it is the case that midbellies in the 50'-60' range often come out similar in weight to a Skagit head sized for a similar rod. Above that, weights will tend to start to go up. But, with long heads, unlike skagit where pretty much any non-ridiculous taper will mostly work, with long heads, there is a complex 3-way interplay between line taper, rod action, and caster preference. While most people who cast long heads have a favorite line system and are familiar with it enough to guess what might work on a given rod weight, there is really no substitute for trying the specific combo. When I am doing a new rod / line match, even if I have a pretty good idea what weight I want to be at, if at all possible, I also try a line weight under and one over (three sizes). 70-80% of the time my initial hunch is right, but every now and then I get really surprised. Not infrequently I find rods that work well with two line sizes.
 

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I do agree somewhat that longer rods help when casting longer lines but a 17 footer to cast a 60 foot head????? I regularly cast a Nextcast FF70 8/9wt on my 13ft. Also a Rio Long Head Spey. The FF70 I believe is ~65ft and the Rio is approaching 70ft. Both of these lines cast effortlessly and don't over work the rod or myself but I do think I'm at the limit. I would need to check the Rio's specs but the FF70 is one size up from the rod spec which is 7/8wt. I also have a 15ft rod that normally casts a Delta at ~65ft and I have some longer stuff to test on it when time allows. There is a 14ft coming soon as well. I have a stack of various long lines to try out when everything comes together.

Dan
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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Thanks for the replies! I did another practice session today after reading some of your thoughts. The quote about grains being similar to skagit lines gave me confidence that it was in fact me that was terrible and not the line.

I focused on a slower lift, more bottom hand during the sweep and that seemed to put me in a good position to let it go on the forward cast. Really appreciate the advice, it’s great to have a community to help answer questions when you are trying to learn on your own.
Lots of good hints in this thread for you, Upstate. And I like your attitude.

I called myself SpeySpaz because it took me two years of solo struggle to start shaping decent loops with a DT line on my first rod, a 12'6". And I found out that it was my denial of the fact that I sucked that was getting in my way; once I accepted the fact that I was SUPPOSED TO suck the way became much easier. Now I don't suck at casting.

So keep at it, baby! Every bad cast is a challenge for you to review the basics, self-diagnose, put in a correction and try again. And if you hit a good one you get a wonderful little squirt of Dopamine in your brain and you feel like a god for about three seconds:saeek:

One of these days you'll be real relaxed and not trying too hard or cursing, and you'll just flip it out there like flicking paint off a brush, totally feeling your contact with the line throughout. Amazing how good a high hard stop can feel, when that rod roars into life and unloads, bucking in your hands. POW.
Go get 'er, you're on the right track.
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the replies! I did another practice session today after reading some of your thoughts. The quote about grains being similar to skagit lines gave me confidence that it was in fact me that was terrible and not the line.

I focused on a slower lift, more bottom hand during the sweep and that seemed to put me in a good position to let it go on the forward cast. Really appreciate the advice, it’s great to have a community to help answer questions when you are trying to learn on your own.
Lots of good hints in this thread for you, Upstate. And I like your attitude.

I called myself SpeySpaz because it took me two years of solo struggle to start shaping decent loops with a DT line on my first rod, a 12'6". And I found out that it was my denial of the fact that I sucked that was getting in my way; once I accepted the fact that I was SUPPOSED TO suck the way became much easier. Now I don't suck at casting.

So keep at it, baby! Every bad cast is a challenge for you to review the basics, self-diagnose, put in a correction and try again. And if you hit a good one you get a wonderful little squirt of Dopamine in your brain and you feel like a god for about three seconds<img src="http://www.speypages.com/speyclave/images/smilies/saeek.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Saeek" class="inlineimg" />

One of these days you'll be real relaxed and not trying too hard or cursing, and you'll just flip it out there like flicking paint off a brush, totally feeling your contact with the line throughout. Amazing how good a high hard stop can feel, when that rod roars into life and unloads, bucking in your hands. POW.
Go get 'er, you're on the right track.
Bob
Yes I’ve been reading through and thinking a lot about the cast now. I got out this morning and was able to film a few casts to get some feedback. There are still weeks to go before it’s time to actually fish this long line so hopefully I can keep improving. Appreciate the kind words. I was able to single spey and shoot about a rod length of line this morning probably 6/10 casts. You are definitely right when you say how being relaxed helps. My best casts just felt like I was trying to flick the line off my rod tip rather than muscle the rod/line with a lot of effort.
 

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Line manufactures label their product as they see fit. Don't they? A Rio LongHead for example - the heaviest/ longest belly n THAT series - 10/11 WF is only 70 feet. Just for the sake or argument -- with a 13 foot rod that is over 5 times the rod length beyond the tip-top !!!
 

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So keep at it, baby! Every bad cast is a challenge for you to review the basics, self-diagnose, put in a correction and try again. And if you hit a good one you get a wonderful little squirt of Dopamine in your brain and you feel like a god for about three seconds:saeek:
Bob
So very true!
And with fewer fish in the rivers, we do need a reward every now and then.
Great post!
 

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Lots of good hints in this thread for you, Upstate. And I like your attitude.

I called myself SpeySpaz because it took me two years of solo struggle to start shaping decent loops with a DT line on my first rod, a 12'6". And I found out that it was my denial of the fact that I sucked that was getting in my way; once I accepted the fact that I was SUPPOSED TO suck the way became much easier. Now I don't suck at casting.

So keep at it, baby! Every bad cast is a challenge for you to review the basics, self-diagnose, put in a correction and try again. And if you hit a good one you get a wonderful little squirt of Dopamine in your brain and you feel like a god for about three seconds:saeek:

One of these days you'll be real relaxed and not trying too hard or cursing, and you'll just flip it out there like flicking paint off a brush, totally feeling your contact with the line throughout. Amazing how good a high hard stop can feel, when that rod roars into life and unloads, bucking in your hands. POW.
Go get 'er, you're on the right track.
Bob
We were discussing the practical use DTs compared to the more popular WFd's - it boiled-down to the level (or amount) of control of the cast and of the fly over the entire length of the line...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So I had a chance to fish today and practice casting/skating flies with the long belly. I went to the lower section of the salmon river and after 2.5hrs of casting I started to think about when that area is crowded in the fall. It might be tough fishing a 60+ ft head in that situation. I did really like the control that I had with the line as my fly swung and was able to take a few bass on the surface. I’m thinking a mid belly might be better applied in that section of the river when the run needs to be shared. How do those of you that fish long lines deal with that?
 

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I went to fish the Salmon several years ago in the fall. I bought a license, drove over to the river and found a parking lot the size of a Walmart, and it was packed. I drove around looking for better access with open water to fish. Ended up just driving away, it was way too crowded for me.

The long or midbelly may just not be a practical solution on a river such as this at such a time. I think the Salmon is a beautiful river but it gets crowded beyond any thing I have seen. I hope you can find some good spots to fish the long belly when the fish are in. It is really fun when you have space.
 

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The belly/body of a line generally refers to the section between the tip and back taper, but is often measured from tip to end of back taper - where the weight of a line is measured and weighed and it is independent of rod lengths:

Short bellies are 50 to 60 feet
Mid-bellies - 60 to 70
Long bellies - 70 feet and longer...
 

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So I had a chance to fish today and practice casting/skating flies with the long belly. I went to the lower section of the salmon river and after 2.5hrs of casting I started to think about when that area is crowded in the fall. It might be tough fishing a 60+ ft head in that situation. I did really like the control that I had with the line as my fly swung and was able to take a few bass on the surface. I’m thinking a mid belly might be better applied in that section of the river when the run needs to be shared. How do those of you that fish long lines deal with that?
Do you have enough line control to navigate the endless line of center pinners parked in one place for the entire day? I've tried to swing in popular water in the past but quickly found out that gear fisherman have no understanding of what a quality spey line cost. It doesn't seem to bother them when that cast over and snag up on your line. This is usually follows by an aggressive yank sending his and my gear into the trees behind him. I refuse to do it anymore and wait for mid week opportunities in these places or seek out better opportunities.

Dan
 
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