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there was some discussion on this in another thread awhile back - there are two thoughts on the snake roll -some suggest a lift first as in most other spey casts while others suggest starting with the rod low. I find it easier to do a lift with tips but this has to immediately continue into the roll - the lift helps raise the tip to the surface and begins to load the rod - you can't pause or you introduce slack into the cast and the tip begins to sink - just go into the roll - a big roll further helps to get the line moving but you need to come back flat as in all snake rolls.

This works most of the time especially if you have good current that helps raise the sink tip - in slow water or back eddies at the end of the swing you may need to do a roll cast or two to bring the tip up then go into the snake roll
 

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loco alto!
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I also use the same stroke as with a floater, but a slightly larger arc. Whenever fishing heavy tips, I make a couple of strips of line before making the cast, which really helps to bring the tips to the surface.
 

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Its not easy I 'll grant you that. I can manage a Snake with a floater without too many problems but put a sink tip on and it really upsets the cast.

It can be done, I haven't mastered it yet but a pal of mine has. Generally he will bring the line to the surface first by rolling it onto the top. The snake is then very firmly executed in a very tight screw which whips nearly all the line off the surface ready for the forward cast. His technique of starting the cast is as one would mend line upstream where the bow of line clear of the water extends almost to the leader.

I think the action of the rod may also play its part, he uses quite a through action rod which bends right down to the butt, unlike my own which is middle/tip. Bizarrely I can snake roll quite well with his rod (powell 14ft) but can't Spey cast for toffee with it!

Anyone else suffer from this Spey/Snake conflict afflication?
 
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