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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a theory on why single spey is perhaps the most difficult spey cast to perfect...

I think it's because we switch cast too much! Granted if not for that cast most would have given up long ago - but it seems the more I cast to the same spot the worse my sharp angle directional change becomes.

No more switch casting for me!
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Juro,

You might be on to something. I hardly ever switch cast, in fact, I never have done much switch casting simply because it doesn't allow me to place the fly across stream to provide for the longest possible and useful drift for the fly. Instead of switch casting, I single spey to get the better fishing drift for my fly.

Granted, the single spey is not the easiest cast to master; however, once you get it nailed, you will wonder how you got along without it. And, it is a most useful cast to use from either shoulder because you never know when the wind will be blowing upstream when you are on the right bank.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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???

a single spey isn't much more than a switch cast with a directional change. Switch casting is an excellent way to reinforce the basic mechanics of the delivery portion of any spey cast. In my experience where most people run into problems with the single is that they are trying to execute a big directional change right off the bat, rather than a quartering downstream cast. I think most of us try for 90 degrees without realizing it, and this is becuase we are so used to casting 90 degrees in many fishing situations. Rather than try for a big directional change on the single spey, stick to 45 degrees, master it, and then learn to throw a really long cast--this will cover much the same water for you as a standard 90 degree cast.

single speys with big directional changes -->45 degrees--are always challenging and require a lot more attention to detail than the standard quartering downstream single spey. For big directional changes, a good deep load on the rod and steady acceleration is critical, especially with a long line.
 

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What Dana said. Right or wrong, I believe the switch cast is the heart and soul of the spey cast.

All spey casts--single, double, snap-c, snake roll, etc.--are designed to orient the belly or D-loop directly opposite (180 degree rule) the forward cast. Once the D-loop is formed and properly aligned, a solid switch cast is all one needs to complete the cast. Quite simply, the best D-loop in the world will be wasted if one cannot execute a proper switch cast (i.e. forward spey).

An effective way to teach the single spey is to instruct the caster to make repeated casts out to 45 degrees across current in 10 DEGREE INCREMENTS. It will take 4-5 casts to work the line out to 45 degrees. The caster should accomplish these tiny directional changes primarily with a hip pivot. Once the caster can reach 45 degrees in 4-5 casts, he/she then tries it in 3-4 casts, then 2-3 casts, until eventually able to make a 45 degree angle change in one go.

The single spey is by far my favorite cast. I practice by grooving my switch cast, usually on a pond, and then working small pieces of pie across the water from the shore to my left all the way to the shore on my right. I then double spey or snake roll my way back to my original starting position. I get in a tremendous number of casts when practicing in this way.

I fully understand, however, Juro's original point, and I am open to new and better ways to accomplish and to teach the single spey!!
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Discussion Starter #5
Great responses, but a little out of context... but then again I never provided the context! :p Sorry about the snippet!

I fully agree that the switch cast is the basis for all casts. In fact, in my own learning curve the switch cast is far and away my best cast. Yet I would never fish with a switch cast! Per my comment above were it not for the switch cast, a critical learning tool would be missing and perhaps the bulk of the entire casting population would be affected (e.g.: "most would have given up long ago").

Allow me to clarify: living where I do and practicing as much as I do (virtually every day) I do a ton of switch casting to reinforce those elements as have been pointed out here. Finding a spot between trees on a frog pond or a boat launch to practice tends to limit one's options.

I am no expert but can form a good d-loop with consistency and know when to stroke forward to put what the loop has to give into the blank to load the forward punch. At this point, building muscle memory for a d-loop to cast without a directional change is no longer relevant except for testing a new rod, line or theory.

In essence, you'd have to agree that forming the d-loop for a switch cast and forming it for a 45+ directional change is dramatically different in terms of what the body, arms, and mind must do - I would go as far as to profess that this familiarity with straight-away casting is what makes directional change the hardest cast to master. Yet it's most similar sibling, the switch, is the easiest to master.

Yesterday, I stopped practicing with the switch. Today, I only used it to straighten out a line before a single spey when the sinktip fell too deep into the backeddy, etc.

Once again thanks for the advice. If I succeeded in explaining myself, do you think that practicing switch casting helps, hurts or neither?
 

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I gotcha' now........may I begin by saying that none of us are ready to walk the rice paper and do so without crushing it: more time in the temple with the blind guy required.

I think you are quite correct, Juro. I would say, however, that yours is a point for the rather advanced spey caster. Although you claim to be no expert, I would disagree! You can make all the casts, and have been exposed to more good casters and different casting styles than anyone I know (the benefits of a bi-coastal lifestyle!).

Unlike most beginning and intermediate spey casters, your switch cast is fully grooved. It is, therefore, not something you need to expend more than a few warm-up casts before fishing or perhaps a few throws to get the feel of a new rod at a Spey Clave.

Most folks, however, do need to practice their switch cast. It bums me out to see folks getting down on themselves about their spey casting when all they really need to do is spend some quality time with the switch cast before attempting big directional changes on the river.

May I close by saying that while grasshoppers are primarily earth-bound creatures, they are capable of brief but inspired moments of flight.

The rice paper awaits..........
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Discussion Starter #7
Good advice, master.

One should gain what they can by practicing the switch cast up to the point where the straight-away practice becomes instinctive.

They should then move their focus to directional change rather than practicing switch casts - or at least spend the majority of time developing solid directional change skills rather than getting off on switch casting.

The switch cast, in fishing, is simply a cast used to straighten out a line for change-of-direction cast.

For me, the more I get grooved in switch casting the less muscle memory I have for a solid directional change. Hence, for me no more switch casting practice.

It's gonna be hard to kick the habit!
 

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Speyladdie
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429 Posts
Juro.
My thought's are that the switch cast is the only cast to teach
beginers.
You saw what happened at Henning Park.
We could show rank beginers how to use both right and left hands to perform the switch cast
By explaining and demonstrating a standard roll cast,then explaining and demonstrating the extended loop,(arrow loop)I believe the student learns the basic mechanics of the spey cast
better and faster.
Also by getting the student to alternate between hands after each cast it teaches muscle memory.
Speyladdie :smokin:
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Discussion Starter #9
I couldn't agree more!

But just to be clear, the point was not whether the switch cast is a valuable learning tool or not.

The point, once again, was that once instinctive does the switch cast create muscle memory that makes directional changes harder?

I believe it does.

Thus the basis of my current phase of experimentation, i.e.: I am cutting them out to see if my I can get my hard angle single speys to feel as comfortable as my switch do now.

I hope that was clear.
 

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Juro,

I think I can solve/answer your experiment right now...

Go fishing... then go fishing again. Then after a short while go fishing... Repeat as necessary.

Doctor K :devil:
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Discussion Starter #12
kush said:
Juro,

I think I can solve/answer your experiment right now...

Go fishing... then go fishing again. Then after a short while go fishing... Repeat as necessary.

Doctor K :devil:
Easy for you to say! ;)

Actually, I love the analytical process especially if it yields positive results. The satisfaction is second only to fishing! But it's dramatically more available to me.

For a quality Spey day I have to drive two hours to find a river that looks and feels good enough to fish but has nothing worthwhile in it.

I'd be slingin' the singlehander on the flats :razz: but the big fish have been late (although I expect that to be remedied within the next few days)

For real salmon, a big windcutter's worth of driving... 9-10-11 hours.

I hope to chase early summer fish before the claves this weekend at the Sandy :) :)

But thanks for the prescription, doc!
 

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Dana:

How much attention do you pay to where your D loop is in relation to the direction of your forward cast? I'm a total neophyte at spey by most standards and 95% of the casting I do is single hand. Maybe it's the single hand rod but I have to make a drastic change in the direction of my D loop to make a single hand work, especially if it is going to be anywhere greater than 45 degrees. I've also noticed that working a long line with either a switch or a single spey that kicking the loop high in the back cast has added considerable distance.

If I don't pay a lot of attention to my back cast my forward cast will be terrible and it's worse with long lines. I'm just curious if that is a 2 handed issue or if it is just a single hand phenomenon.

John
 

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chrome-magnon man
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I always try to get my D loops 180 degrees opposite the intended target, John--this makes for the most efficient spey cast. You can cast with the D loop at an angle other than 180 degrees--for example you can make a cast called a square cut with the D loop at nearly 90 degress to the target--but this will introduce all sorts of potential problems that you have to actively compensate for, such as crossed or tailing loops. It is fun to experiment with less-than-perfect D loop position particularly for casting instructors because it teaches you to identify potential fixes for casting problmes, and for the angler it teaches you how to cast in tricky situations, such as extremely tight casting quarters.

And yes, a rising D loop is a really important feature of any spey cast, although it can be somewhat less critical in classic underhand casting. With a really long line though, if your D loop doesn't rise you're dead-in-the-water.

Everything you know about casting with a single-hander applies to double-hand rods. I think where the confusion comes in for most people is that in some spey circles there has been an active "mystification process" at work, which has convinced many people that spey casting is some arcane method requiring specific techniques with specialised rods, lines, reels, clothing, cigars, scotch, etc. I guess these web sites exist because I personally have a problem with that whole approach. Everything you're discovering about spey casts with a single hand rod will apply to the two-hander, and everything you know about casting as an expert single-hand caster will apply to spey casting. Sure there are a few twists and turns that seem unique to two-handers, but they can all be done with a single-hander as well.
 

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Juro,

I do empathize with your plight. The slowest "speying" season is upon the Northwest (even Ed had to head to Oregon in the hopes of fish). I am even going out with Dana, Jeff and Poul for a mini-casting clave this morning! The next real fishing speycast will likely be on the Dean in August! Unless of course I slide down to some Washington summer rivers :smokin:

I guess I have to content myself with a bunch of trout fishing in the Cariboo and salmon fishing in the Queen Charlottes...
 

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Juro,

I second Dr. K's prescription: speaking only for myself, personal levels of deadly fishing build-up have reached previously unattained plateaus of toxicity.
 

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(even Ed had to head to Oregon in the hopes of fish).

Here's the good news. We're already 'awash' in Spring Kings and the winter run steelhead count is over 24,000 fish (vast majority have already spawned and are downers) but when the stream flows drop back to 2500 cfs, or less, we 'fly guys' are back in business.

Snigger, snigger.... :smokin:
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Kush,

Good to see you have followed my advice to spend some time astream to cure your addiction to tying boobies and intruders.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Discussion Starter #19
Ahhhhh...... I got a little relief as I was scouting my haunts for the upcoming week of guiding. Although the water temps and late spring season would indicate a lack of better stripers in the area, I met a big pod of thick shoulders drag burners to help me shake my affliction!

http://www.flyfishingforum.com/flytalk3/showthread.php?&threadid=11128

I will be all better soon :p
 

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Indicators Anonymous
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kush said:
Unless of course I slide down to some Washington summer rivers :smokin:
...which I am sure you will find time to do. As you probably know, the summer fishing in our Puget Sound rivers just gets better every year.

...to the point at which I am looking forward more to June and July then I ever looked forward to Febuary, March and April. :eyecrazy:
 
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