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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Dana: I was rather surprised upon reading the article on the Burkheimer rod in spey pages to see the comment that the single spey is seldom used for changes in line direction of more than 45 degrees.
If you make a point of watching the Scots gillies who visit the Thompson during October most years you will find that they usually make a 90 degree change in direction with the single spey. My Scots buddy Bill Lynch also makes this chang in direction on almost every cast.
They accomplish this by making a very large d loop in which the rod travels through a full semicircle and is pointing directly back behind the caster at about 2 oclock at the start of the forward cast .
I find this full circle d loop to be one of the primary differences between the older scots casters and the new breed.
Perhaps this is a hangover from their early days with a greenheart rod ,but it is quite noticable ;as is their tendancy to swing the line slightly inwards towards shore before making the lift and swing.
When I questioned Bill Lynch about this he merely pointed out that the secret was by starting the forward cast with the line under the rod tip. that is to say that at the start of the forward cast you make a very small upward lift of the rod tip which brings the line under the tip.
 

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chrome-magnon man
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I probably should have said "over here in North America"

Good point about the classic style. Jock Scott notes in Fine and Far Off that the Grant Switch was often used to make wide directional changes. I used to use the single spey for big directional changes, but then I got kinda lazy and started playing around with some of the "newer" casts. About the only time I use a single spey or Grant anymore is when I am having a "classic day" and swinging long rods with extended belly lines like a long belly DT or Spey-Driver. I have seen a few fellows on the Thompson using the single for 90 degree changes, but only a few; most casters use snaps or pokes or off shoulder double speys or reverse snakes. I think this is because the single spey/Grant Switch are difficult casts to master, and there are easier casts out there that get the job done nearly as well.

ps: thanks for taking me back to that article. It was one of my originals and I enjoyed looking over it again and recalling my conversations with Kerry. Plus after all this time I caught a spelling mistake that I was able to fix for the next upload!
:)
 

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Pullin' Thread
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LA and Dana, this is a cast I use a lot. Taught myself how to do it about 7 years ago on the Sauk because of necessity. It is a very efficient cast, and not hard to master at all if you remember to throw a large 'C' loop in order to swing the line and fly upstream of you and have the line form the 'D' behind you. It is easy to toss out 100 foot casts with this cast. It takes less work to throw this cast to get the line 90 degrees accross the river than other ways. At least that is how I view it. Timing and fly placement are critical though. Perhaps Grant and some of the old masters knew something that we have forgotten regarding theusefulness of this cast.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi: Right on flytyer. I just arranged to have by Scots buddy email me the original description of the classic spey cast as written by Kelson . Once I have all the material I shall try to send along the most relevant sections .
I know that one lister at least has a copy of Kelsons book so if he beats me to it that is ok with me.
For anyone interested in utilizing the classic spey cast with a double taper line I can heartily recommend the Lamiglass 15 1/2' spey caster rod. Todd has done a magnificent job with it.
 

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LA

I have Kelson's book (in fact, I own 2 copies from two different publishers) and his description is how I learned the cast. He refers to the cast we are descibing as the 'Switch Cast'. He simply says you swing the line and fly upstream in an arc so that the line comes round upstream and behind the caster such that it is opposite where you wish to make the cast .

In other words, you throw a 'C' loop that forms an arc upstream of you and which ends with the fly slightly upstram of you and the line looped behind your body toward the shore. Notice this means that you have a large 'C' formed in your line with the fly a little upstram of your position and the back of what we call today the 'D' loop behnid you and 180 degrees from where you want the cast to land after you launch it. This means you are casting across stream at 90 degrees or so from shore. This cast lets you make an upstream cast as well if you wish that can be as much as 45 degrees upstream. Yes, it is a little strange casting this way until you get used to doing it and get the timing right.

I taught myself to do this cast with my T&T 16 footer and use it regularly when I am on the left bank and need to cast across stream. I find it far easier than making a back-hand double spey or a double spey with my left hand. I have found that any rod that can spey cast well will make this cast. I simply prefer the faster rods.

I'm glad to hear that you are using this cast or at least thinking about using it. I'm sure that others on this board use it as well.
 

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LA (Bud)Smithers knows whereoff he speaks in praising the Lamiglass rod. I bought one of these for my son last Christmas. It is a magnificient rod for traditional casting.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Flytyer: Indeed I do think about the classic single spey and have been using it for close to seventy years.
My indoctrination came from wielding my grandfathers 18'greenheart under close supervision of grandfather, father and uncle.
Each year there was a grand ceremony when my grandfather removed the rod sections from their press ,taped the finger joints and placed the rod on its rests along the verandah wall of his summer cottage.
Believe me that rod was a handfull for a young boy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Bebop: Todd at Lamiglass indeed has a way with classic soft spey casters. I believe the secret lies is his use of the older soft 1000 graphite.
For those who enjoy using a single handed spey cast for trout in small rivers the original 10'6"lamiglass 6 wt is a beautiful rod.
I have tried several times to persuade Todd to reissue this rod but to date have not been successful.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Hi LA,

It is a pleasure to converse, such as this board allows, with a gentlemen who enjoys and practices the classic single spey. I have not seen many on our rivers here in WA that use it. I think this is a shame because it is such an aesthetic, efficient, and enjoyable cast. I suspect some of this is due to folks not wanting to put in the time on the water to learn the timing and fly placement for the cast. I also have a strong suspician that my enjoyment of this cast is in part due to having learned to spey cast with a double taper line.

I've never cast a greenheart, although I've cast a couple rather poorly designed bamboo 2-handers that had tips which collasped on the cast. And I've cast more than a few graphite 2-handers (some that were not cheap either) that I was afraid would break when cast with a double taper or long-belly (75ft or longer) spey line because they had no real backbone. I'm sure that it was a handful for a young lad.

Interestingly, I've taught my sons how to cast double and single spey with a medium slow 8 1/2 foot single-hander when they were 5 years old. One is now 11 and is using a 2-hander under my watchful eye and the other is now 15 and has a St.Crois 2-hander as his 15th birthday gift from us in May.

I agree the new Lamiglas 2-handers are very capable rods if you either prefer a medium-slow rod or remember to slow down and wait forthe rod if you prefer the faster rods. The old ones were let's say, less than ideal for spey casting.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Flytyer: Indeed it is a pleasure. I must confess that ,perhaps from my earlier experiences I prefer a slow full action rod. I firmly believe that the rod which best suits the individual is a rod which matches best his natural tming and rythym.
Much as in the golf swing I for example have a slow swing at about 85 mph and prefer a "R " shaft with a mid kickpoint. However in spite of this slowness of swing I outdrive most of my contemporaries .I will admit however to having lost some distance off the tee in recent years.
I have always felt that the most crutial element of the spey cast is the ability to keep the rod loaded continuously from the start of the lift right through to the final cast or as Kelson would say the 'forward thrash'. I find that the faster graphite rod require esquisite timing to acieve this objective. They load and unload so fast that the slightest hesitation or deviation during the cast causes the rod to unload and it must then reload.
The second deficiency of the fast graphite lies in the fact that they deliver their energy over a very short period of time .This makes it necessary to fire the line rather than the action of the classic spey which is really an extended roll.
I must admit however that inspite of its action the graphite rod is so much lighter than greenheart that itallows even an relic like me to continue to enjoy speycasting.
 

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HI LA,

Relic like you, NEVER! One of my very best friends in this life is in his 70's and although he fishes a 2-hander, he has never taken the time to learn the classic single or double spey casts. I love him dearly and fish with him as often as I can, but I notice that he watches my casting far more than he is fishing. He tells me that he wishes he could cast in the classic spey style but he doesn't want to take the time to learn how. He says it will interfere with his fishing time. Oh well, he is content with sort of rolling the line out with multiple roll cast. At least he keeps the rod loaded through most of his cast. He does hesitate beforehis forward spey and this lets his rod unload. He knows this but is unwilling to learn how to not have this happen.

I agree with you that keeping the rod loaded throughout the cast is an absolute necessity. And like you, I think that a person needs to use a rod action that suits his casting style. Faster rod for the more agressive style like I prefer, and slower for those with a more relaxed style of casting. As you know, this doesn't mean that one style is less owerful than the other or that one is more capable of longer cast. they are simply different styles of casting.

And like you, I feel that one needs of rod that has sufficient backbone to move and throw a long belly during the 'thrash downs' (I love Kelson's word choice here because that is truly what it is, a thrashing down of the rod during the launching of the cast). Unload the rod, and you give the cast the kiss of death. Interestingly, I find that I can slow down rather easily and quickly when casting a medium slow rod, it just feels like I have to wait for the rod. Fast rod or slower rod, each tells you when it is loaded and working properly, if you let it.
 

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I’ve been using the single-spey to cast across and even upstream for years. The trick is getting the fly in just the right place prior to the formation of the loop (not too far up but not too close) and allowing sufficient time to allow the fly line to pivot straight behind you before the delivery. The timing is critical, but once you have your muscles trained it’s about as easy and elegant way of getting the line across the water as I know. I’ve tried some of the “newer” casts and they work fine, but they don’t give me that same rush that I experience when, with a single continuous movement, my line momentarily kisses the water and then almost magically fires 80-100 feet across the river. It’s a wondrous thing when you hit it right…
 

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I am a near neophyte to spey casting and maybe that is a positive for what I have to say. I think spey casting is almost impossible to describe on paper, at least to the un-initiated and best learned by 'viewing'. There is no better visual demonstration of this technique. short of being on the water with an instructor, than Derek Brown's basic introduction. It has something to offer any spey-caster, and the newer one is to the technique, the more you need to see it.
 
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