Spey Pages banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I would like your thoughts on the benefits of ambidextrous vs reverse spey casting. As for myself, I've worked on spey casting with either hand high. Thus, I would have no need to execute, say, a reverse snake roll. However, as I've become more and more proficient I've observed that I can get more power on the reverse (of any cast).

In order to confirm this, I've spent the last week conducting empirical experiments in hopes of confirming this observation. The question is whether a reverse spey cast is more efficient than its normal counterpart. To answer this question I compared the distances and flight trajectories of the normal and reverse versions of the Snake Roll, Snap-T, and Double-spey. In all three casts (on both water and grass) the reverse version yielded (1) longer distances and (2) a higher percentage of correct line trajectories.

EXPERIMENTAL METHOD

I used a 14' Sage 9140-4 IIIe equipped with an 8/9/10 Rio Windcutter (upgrade). For the grass tests I used the floating tip equipped with a 12' grass leader. For the water tests, I did the tests with the type 3 sink tip with 4' leader and the floating tip with a 14' leader.

The distances on the grass were measure by pacing and always rounded down. The distances over water were measured relative to a known mark on the running line.

The tests were conducted over a 5 day period. For two of those days the rain was a significant factor. However, the wind was more or less calm on each of the 5 days during the casting tests.

Finally, only correct casts were scored. For a cast to be correct the following criteria had to be met:

(1) The fly had to touch down before, or simultaneously with the line.
(2) Upon landing, slack line (wiggles) were permitted. However, the existence of a coil in either the line or the leader disqualified the cast (NB: The on-water tests were problematic because I couldn't wade out to mid-stream and check that the leader was straight).
(2) The cast had to be such that no significant recoil occurred.

RESULTS

These data are the mean and standard deviation of the distances over grass (1st column) and water (2nd column). The final column are the percent of casts that flew and landed correctly. Significance of these results were calculated using Student's T-Test.

RH = Right Hand High
LH = Left Hand High

RH snake
Forward 85' +/-3' 75' +/-2 66%
Reverse 90' +/-3' 81' +/-2 75%
LH snake
Forward 83' +/-4' 75' +/-2 66%
Reverse 90' +/-2' 81' +/-2 75%
RH double
Forward 87' +/-2' 79' +/-3 80%
Reverse 91' +/-1' 85' +/-2 79%
LH double
Forward 87' +/-1' 79' +/-3 80%
Reverse 89' +/-1' 85' +/-2 79%
RH snap
Forward 81' +/-3' 74' +/-2 85%
Reverse 85' +/-4' 81' +/-1 90%
LH snap
Forward 79' +/-3' 74' +/-2 85%
Reverse 85' +/-2' 81' +/-1 90%

My reverse casts over both grass and water were consistently longer. In addition, tho' not reported here, I had more failures due to line recoil when reverse casting. Interestingly, that the added length was achieved without a corresponding degradation in variablility was striking. I would not have expected this result.

Finally, after having conducted these tests, I debated including the percent correct casts column because this probably reflects my own skill as much as it does any attribute of the cast. Nevertheless, I included these results and will let you draw your own conclusions.

SUMMARY

First, these results are undoubtedly biased in ways of which I am unaware since the only caster was me.

Also, note that all casts were shooting casts, since this is the design center of the line I was using. Were I to repeat these tests with a Mid- or Grand-spey, or an equivalent line, the outcome could be different.

To say the least, I was surprised at these results, but I want to advance an explaination and see what you guys think.

I believe that in order to execute the reverse version of any of these spey casts, the body must be rotated to a greater extent in order to accomodate the cross-chest move. The cross-chest move also forces the rod slightly higher in order for the upper arm to clear the chest. Coupled with the torque generated by the body unwinding (during the forward cast) and the higher rod position, the line will tend to fly farther and higher - All good things.

Are these data consistent with the experience of those of you who are inarguably experienced spey casters?

or

Do these differences between disappear with experience? Do they become more pronounced?

Cheers,

Michael
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
reverse

my reverse cast are by far my best.i stop the rod better.i also dont tend to over power wiyh the upper hand. use the underhand more. when i started spey casting i quikly found at one time that i did better with my left hand on top. but that again was because it was weaker and i did not rely on it and overpower my top hand.but than i learned the benefit of stopping the rod at the end .when you do a reverse your elbo stops it.i also keep the rod loaded better as i turn my hand and rotate as i approach the final stroke. beau
 

·
Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
Joined
·
1,771 Posts
I noticed you didn't list the reverse single spey, which I feel is a very uncomfortable cast. The reverse snap-T feels natural for me though, strangely, although it's not an efficient cast. Clearly a strong left-handed single spey is more efficient than a reverse snap-t, but to your point unless well-practiced it's not going to be more effective.

IMHO - there are two other considerations besides effectiveness - practice and preference. Because I enjoy the pursuit of casting off my left side more than crossing over I prefer to cast left-handed instead of crossing over with my right hand on top. Of course I am as of yet pretty bad at it, but my left-handed snake roll is really coming around and my left-handed single spey is following behind slowly. With shorter heads and midspeys I feel pretty comfortable off the left side.

To your point I'd guess it's much more effective to reverse cast with the strong hand on top. Yet I agree with those who feel learning from both sides, however painful the learning curve, will ultimately bring the most effective results in the long run.

.02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
I think Beau is on the right track, the reverse casts automatically bring the underhand into play, this adds a great deal of load to the rod and consequently more power to the cast. I have said many times that my reverse or cross-handed casts are my best. Juro, for the record my reverse single is by far superior to my right shoulder version.

As well as promoting the use of the underhand the reverse hand position makes it very difficult to bring the rod into firing position any way except high and 11 o'clock - I find this especially helpful on the single spey.
 

·
Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
Joined
·
1,771 Posts
The "Kush factor"...

I knew I would have to answer to Kush when it comes to any reverse cast discussions! :D

Kush is proof positive that reverse casts are just as or more effective, powerful, etc. if you master them as he has.

Micheal - My point was really that for some, there is merit to being a little less effective for a few years to gain ambidexterity, if that's a goal (individual).

I will never cast as well as Kush, but I will eventually be very comfortable from the left side and will be able to fluidly switch sides to cover any bank/wind scenario given my planned regimen of practice over the years to come.

Having witnessed Kush cast for the last several years I will also include reverse casts in all four quadrants as well! Learning all the dimensions of the Spey cast is one of the best parts of the game for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
reverse

juro. i went thru that period of being amadextrous[sp] and as i said i was better with my left. than i diacovered the reverse. i was spending all my time one summer on river right with upriver wind. so did perrys poke.and chicks dig it on reverse shoulder.realized that was a much more powerful and correct form cast for me. my right side cast did not get much work and sucked. got to the point where i would force a reverse even when the wind was a little wrong. not good!there was a picture posted of me with an intruder buried in my left ear in the ashland outdoor store that proves we should not do those things. i finaly started to make good progress when i analized every element of the reverse and tried to mimic them on my right side.plus i got some great help from Ed Ward on my standard double spey which has always been my worst cast.a lot of it has do to with hand postion as Kush pointed out.i now feel just as comfortable doing that cast as any.also since all that work had to do mostly with the final delivery my snake roll really kicks too.i was never all that great with the single but once again i got good with it on the reverse side and than applied that to the right side. i love to be able to make all the different casts and to constantly change as nature dictates. it is very pleasant to work down a bank and adapt to everything. a great sport!! Beau
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
What about the single-spey

I did the same set of experiments, not with the single-spey, but with the switch cast (i.e., a forward-spey with no change of direction). The preliminary results were similar to those of the other casts, i.e., the reverse switch cast was the more efficient whether for distance or line trajectory.

In light of these findings, why practice to be ambidextrous? I can think of at least 3 reasons:

(1) IMHO, to teach more effectively (professionally, or just to give advice to your buddies) ambidexterity is a good thing.

(2) Injury (e.g., a pulled muscle) may make the reverse cast painful, but the normal cast OK.

(3) By training both Left and Right sets of "spey" muscles, you will be able to reverse cast ambidextrously as well. After all, if you are right handed and really need to rock your cast, do the reverse cast with your left hand. Voila!

Cheers,

Michael
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
reverse left

prior to my well spent time with Ed i was on a 3day trip and totaly gave up on my right shoulder casts which due conditions i was forced into using[did not want to hook my ear again].i totaly gave up and did all my cast with reverse left handed style. it worked fairly well and looked better than my right hand right shoulder casts. beau
 

·
just one more cast...
Joined
·
163 Posts
As one who has been forcing himself into ambidexterity for the past couple of years to eliminate the need for reverse casting, I find all this very interesting and enlightening! I've never been fortunate enough to fish with any experienced speycasters, and have "learned" strictly from videos, mainly Derek Brown (also to a lesser degree M. Evans, M.Maxwell, J.Vincent). I recently got a copy of the Rio International Speycasting tape, which I enjoyed very much, and I recall Simon G. spending a few minutes discouraging the use of reverse casts, because (if memory serves!), it's awkward to keep the D-loop in the same vertical plane as the final delivery stroke when reversing, and therefore an efficient cast is unlikely. (Simon then demonstrates a lame reverse single spey)

From what you guys are saying, I guess this doesn't wash...
Or am I missing something?

John

(hoping to make a Spey Clave sometime !)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hi MacSpey,

>From what you guys are saying, I guess
>this doesn't wash... Or am I missing something?

I don't think you're missing anything. I took a class from Derek Brown a few months ago and he, also, encouraged us to practice with both hands high. He also said that, in his opinion, his reverse casts were better than his normal casts FOR HIS OFFHAND.

It's probably the case that reverse casts are regarded as necessary evils by the really excellent casters like Derek, Simon, Jim, etc. I am also a strong proponent of practicing with either hand high until one is as good with one as the other.

That said, reverse casts are [arguably] more efficient and I've taken to including them in my practice regimen. Indeed, my goal is to be ambidextrous for both regular AND reverse casts.

Cheers,

Michael
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
reverse

the best caster i have been around is probably Dec Hogan. he does reverse casts.in my early times with him he complimented me on my ability to make left hand casts.he never pushed for me to do reverse. but when i saw his reverse casts i knew i had to add that ability.as i said, it was obvious that i was better at that cast, to the point that i said why would i need to cast left.everthing lines up better for me. my rod hands had to be higher and the rod has to be cross body,and it was easier to get that little rod twist in that smoothly keeps the rod loaded, and easier to have the rod further back,and promoted more underhand.Beau
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
Even Mikey likes it!

Even the original Spey Guru for the Northwest - Mike Maxwell in his book - The Art & Science of Speyfishing demonstrates the reverse casts and in fact predicts that it will become your favourite cast. Here is the quote from Mike: "A word of encouragement - Don't be intimidated by 'lesser speycasters' who have not learned the left shoulder technique or who advise you to change your rod grip and cast left-handed. You will find that with effective practices, your left bank double spey will be your best and favourite cast." (page 119)

While I don't subscribe to Mike's rock and roll style (or his very strong opinions of anyone who doesn't cast like him) I point the quote out to demonstrate the many very accomplished casters prefer the cross-handed or reverse casts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
Speybum - is that you?

Aaron,

After I found the quote from Maxwell I was flipping through the book, which I haven't done for some time and much to my surprise I come across a photo of some bearded ruffian from Alaska that looks kind of like you! Is this true?
 

·
Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
Joined
·
1,771 Posts
That's him alright! I remember noticing our sponsor in the book years ago when I first met Aaron up on the upper Green seeking winter runs.

Fess up Speybum! ;)
 

·
just one more cast...
Joined
·
163 Posts
Great information, guys, thanks. I wish there were more 'liquid river' around here to go to work on, may have to resort to flogging the front yard. Anyone have a good formula for a good 'snow leader'? Down to ZERO here tonight! Heated Grips?yeeehaa...

Left bank double spey, RT hand up- OK

John
 

·
Speyshop's Speybum
Joined
·
462 Posts
Busted

Busted
Yes,
That’s me on the Throne River just down from Steelhead Bob’s Camp near where the mouth of Rio Roberts Creek.
Those were the days lot’s of fish and no fisherman.
:devil:
Speybum
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top