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168 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When asked about Spey casting by people who don't know much about it, I describe to them that it is like fly casting, only instead of false casting back and forth to load the rod, spey casters use a differnet series of efficient movements depending on conditions, involving tension on the water, timing, and d loops, to load the rod to finish off with a power stroke. Now if you can offer me a better explanation, please do, but that is what I say.

I'm sure each and everyone of us has casts we prefer to do.
All a cast is, is a different way to load your rod for the power stroke, depending on the situation. Here are a few questions.

River right - You are on the right side of the river if facing downstream. I think you can then figure out River left.

Name your favourite casts for the various situations listed below. Favourite might be what cast you are most consistent with. Or what cast you cast the longest, Or both. Your choice.

1a River right, no wind.
1b Right right, wind blowing downstream
1c River right, wind blowing upstream

2a River left, no wind.
2b River left, wind blowing downstream
2c River left, wind blowing upstream

3a Favourite cast to work with tips, River right
3b Favourite cast to work with tips, River left.

4 Easiest cast to learn/do in your opinion.

5 Your best cast - name the situation (IE River left, no wind, snake roll, or something like that).

6 Describe your offhand (hands still in the same position, but accross your body, Bill described it as "crosshand" I apologize for the confusion) casting situation versus your on hand casting situation. Do you feel you are a better offhand than on hand caster? Do you even do the off hand? Do you try and avoid the offhand if possible, despite the conditions (IE you have an upstream wind, but you still do the snake roll?).

7 Rate your knowledge/understanding/proficiency of the different spey casts. To sum this question up: how much do you know about each of the following casts? (consider this when rating them for yourself personally). Do you know how to do them? Have you ever even seen them done? Do you know they even exist? Have you been shown how to do them, but you just don't bother doing them because you have other casts you like doing and are possilby easier/more suited to your personal style? Do you know them and do them well? Do you use them regularly or all the time in your fishing/casting? RAte on a scale of say one to ten. Be honest. Maybe add a phrase or two describing each cast and your situation with it.

a Single spey
b Double Spey
c Snake/Spiral roll
d Snap T, Snap C
e Perry Poke
f Triple Spey
g Grant switch
h Switch cast

If the rod/line combo above changes the different casts you do, (IE you use more "traditional casts with slower rods/longer belly lines or something like that, then mention that, or pick a rod/line combo to answer the favourites, or even mention both).

I'm just trying to get an idea of obviously what your favourite casts are, as well as how much influence a lot of these newer casts have as compared to the more well known single and double speys. Maybe just to see how educated we all are in the spey casting world.

344 Posts
Well, if you want a really complete reply you'll have to give me a clear explanation of the distinction between single spey, Grant switch, and switch. Dana sent my a description last year, but even he couldn't get it clear in my thick head. Somebody will have to show me on the water--maybe I'll make the next Sandy clave. (I'm only 45 minutes away, but 2001--I was there, but with a bad back, 2002-I was out of town.)

I don't get out much, so I'm not accomplished with much, as you'll see:

1a Double Spey
1b Double Spey
1c Cross-hand single; sometimes off-hand single

I am working on the spiral roll, and like the cast, but I am not consistent yet. Playing around with my kids 10.5' two-hander, though, it was my best cast

The rivers I fish, where I fish, I seldom find myself fishing river left, (I generally avoid the Camp Water on the Umpqua like the plague) but when I do--
2a Single Spey
2b Never encountered a significant enough wind when I was on the left bank, but suspect I would use an off-hand or cross-hand double spey.
2c Single Spey

4 Double Spey. Circle/Snap-T might be easier, but I learned the Double Spey first, always fishing river right, and so

5 the Double Spey is my best cast--certainly my most consistent, although naturally I can often get more distance with the single spey. Sometimes I have a good day and the single spey really zings, but I can count on the double to be pretty good 90% of the time (unless the hold I'm trying to reach is 95% of the distance I can usually cast, then all of a sudden my lower hand gets out of control....ooh, that's frustrating!)

6 Offhand sucks, but I am working on it since I don't really like fishing crosshand, although I'm pretty decent at it.

7 With the exception of the fuzzy differences between the single spey and the switch casts, I know all the casts listed.

-- Bill

Speyshop's Speybum
462 Posts

The Double Spey, with power hand up.
Keep working to find a new one but always come home to the double.
Us as single only when I can not get away with a double.
But least we forget a doulble single with no ice.

Easiest cast to learn would have to be switch .

I am still messing with flipping the egg on the snake roll.
End up with scrabled eggs most of time but it will come

Scott great topic

chrome-magnon man
5,375 Posts

1. Snake Roll all over the place. I like this cast so much because I had one heckuva time mastering it (and I use the term "mastering" loosely and in its Eastern sense, which to me sorta means to just keep on practicing and practicing and practicing and practicing...) and now use it even when I shouldn't (upstream wind), so if you see a guy with his Spey line wrapped around him like a really bad Christmas Tree garland it's probably me! :D

2. Grant Switch

3. Perry Poke. I even use this cast with long belly lines and find it a real lifesaver on those days when I can't get the Grant right!

168 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Correct me if I'm wrong

Have you ever tried varying how you set up your Snake roll? By this I mean I found that when you drew a tighter smaller and slightly quicker 9 that the anchor stayed a little bit farther away from you. In an slight (not powerful) upstream wind I would imagine drawing the 9 like this would blow the anchor/loop into the position it would be in normally without the wind, although I need more practice to see if this theory holds true. What have you or anyone else found?


Pullin' Thread
4,694 Posts
I use the double spey on river right 90% of the time when the wind is not up. If the wind is up. I'll use a single spey on river right (either with left hand up or backhand across the body). The single spey or Swtich Cast Switch when I want to make a 90 degree cross stream cast) for about 90% of river left fishing. The rest is a Snap-T or Snake Roll. And if the wind is blowing upstream on river left, I use a double spey or a Snap-T.

267 Posts
Keep it simple

I try to keep things simple when I am on the river. There is nothing worse than having a beautiful day all to yourself on your favorite river and your timing on every cast sucks!:mad: So I try to get away with two casts, the snap T and the double spey. I have yet to find a situation where one of these two casts or a version of these two cant get the job done. Good Luck and Tight Lines!

chrome-magnon man
5,375 Posts
the snake

Scott, there are a number of things you can do with the snake. You can form your loop with more of a sidearm motion with the rod tip close to the water (works best with shorter lines) which will keep the line away from you and also under the wind. You can make a small top loop or a larger one with the rod tip--both will work but if you forget to pull your rod tip straight back and then up when forming your D loop you'll have trouble getting a good D loop, and for maximum efficiency make certain the the top loop is an oval rather than circle. Probably the biggest problem I see on rivers with the snake is people rushing the initial pick up and formation of the back and top part of the 9. I do this relatively slowly which keeps the rod loaded throughout the motions. The only place in the snake where I use a lot of speed and power is in the final sweep back and up to form the D. I like to think of it as the same sort of motion you use when executing the delivery cast--gradual acceleration and a solid stop to unload the rod. Also, remember to vary the size and speed of your movements depending on the amount of line you are casting. Snaking the Windcutter or Loop shooting heads requires smaller, crisper movements than the big lazy ones (except for the final loop formation!) I use with the GrandSpey.

2,736 Posts
1a - snake roll
1b- snake roll
1c - snap t off left shoulder (I am totally left hand stupid and will never master left hand up!!!)

2a - snake roll
2b - snake roll
2c - snap t - off left shoulder

3 best casts for tips would be snake roll and snap t (kinda a broken record). Both these casts move alot of line quickly and help pull up the tips

4 easiest cast to learn not including switch cast would be the snap t

My best cast is the snake roll. I rarely use a double spey as the snake is more dynamic and easier. I also do not use the single much as the snap t gives me a greater change of direction more easily

Relapsed Speyaholic
5,532 Posts
River right -- double spey followed closely and being quickly overtaken by the snake roll.

River left -- Snap-t but beginning to feel comfortable with the snake roll and going more and more to it.

Easiest cast to learn -- Snap-t

2,100 Posts
favorite casts

?31/4?¸in terms of wind rather than bank.

Upstream wind, upstream hand on top. Snap T or single spey [in order or preference].
Downstream wind, downstream hand on top. Snake roll or double spey [in order].

Switch cast used for warmup and timing before fishing, or to repair a poorly executed fishing cast. Also useful for testing the feel of a new or different rod and or line.

89 Posts
Favourite Casts

Hi All
I use my Spey Rod with sink tips most of the time. So for me I find that no wind or up-stream wind, river left, Circle Cast. No wind or down-stream wind, river right, Double Spey. Down-stream wind river left, or up-stream wind river right. I'll go to the bank, sit and cry !! or the other option is to cast off my left shoulder (which is not a pretty sight)

Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
1,771 Posts
Notes about lines and favorite casts from a mere mortal caster:

Line also dictates the favored cast as well as bank and wind. With extended belly lines the snake roll or spiral single gets the line really energized and the rod loaded for me. I'm still on the learning curve for extended belly bliss but with increasing regularity I find the freight train everyone has been talking about and WOW. A Grandspey moment!

Another example of this is with short heads and heavy tips in winter I like the snap-T best from either side. It lifts the tip to the anchor spot and the big sweep loads the rod for the cast.

But right now I am in Midspey mode while I work my way up to the Grandspey groove. Thus my answers to the question of favorite casts are based on Midspey casting on rods from 7wt to 10wt...

Right bank downriver wind:
1st - Snake roll, definitely (thanks Simon!)
2nd - double spey, but why bother when the snake's working
3rd - left hand reverse snake roll, just for fun

Right bank upriver wind:
1st - backhand snap tee, swing fly downriver side
2nd - left handed snap tee, must switch hands to swing on right
3rd - left handed single spey, trying to improve via practicing

Left bank downriver wind:
1st - left handed snake roll, getting pretty clean with it, not quite as strong as right side but getting closer
2nd - left handed double spey, but why bother if the snakes working
3rd - right handed reverse snake roll, I'm no Tyler that's for sure!

Left bank upriver wind:
1st - right handed single spey or spiral single, definitely
2nd - right handed snap tee, but why bother if... #1
3rd - left handed reverse snap tee, pretty clean and fun to do, also takes less backcasting room

Most recent discovery:

When there is dead water at the end of the swing, the spiral single spey is an awesome cast to avoid waiting for the end of the swing while at the same time creating an energized dee loop for the ensuing single spey. I've been told it's a cast Steve Choate uses often, I can see why.

Great topic!

27 Posts
I can't use my left hand up, neither cross-handed technique. Becauese of this, I always use a single spey on the left bank and a snake roll on the right bank. If downstream wind on the left bank is very strong, I use a square-cut cast - not so far but more safe. I also use double spey on right bank when fishig intermediate DT or sinking line, or shooting heads - no need to pull the line up with roll casts if the rod is powerful enough.

For my opinion, easiest cast to learn is a snake roll, most complex is a single spey.

With heavy single-handed rods I oftenly use speycasts - it's a really "power-saving" method except the case of extrasuperfast sinking heads.


1,148 Posts
river right:
no wind , reverse single spey
upstream wind. reverse single spey
downstream wind. spiral roll

river left:
no wind. single spey
downstream wind. reverse spiral roll

40 Posts
First, I'm probably an [advanced] beginner. I fish a 14 foot Sage with a Windcutter. Also, I'm ambidextrous. Thus, for single-spey conditions (casting into the wind), I place my left hand high for RR. For RL I place my right hand high. For double-spey conditions (casting downwind) I place my left hand high for RL and right hand high for RR.

>1a River right, no wind.
>1c River right, wind blowing upstream
>2a River left, no wind.
>2c River left, wind blowing upstream

Snap-T. I favor the Snap-T because it's easier for me to cast consistently relative to the single-spey. However, the single-spey gives me more distance with less effort (when I do it correctly). My longest single spey cast has been 91 ft. My longest Snap-T was 83.

>1b Right right, wind blowing downstream
>2b River left, wind blowing downstream

Snake Roll, especially when fishing sink tips - A double spey takes too long and allows the tip to sink too much.

>4 Easiest cast to learn/do in your opinion.

Double spey.

>5 Your best cast - name the situation

Snap-T - In most cases I can use this cast in all wind conditions (short of really strong winds) and on both sides of the river.

>6 Describe your offhand (hands still in the same position...)

I do not cast cross-handed!

>7 Rate your knowledge/understanding/proficiency of
>the different spey casts.

I'm probably an advanced beginner. Do not be fooled by what might appear to be a high level of skill. My mechanics are mediocre, at best. However, I've read virtually everything about spey casting and can talk about it like I actually can do it. On a scale of 1 to 10, my knowledge is probably a 7. On a scale of 1 to 10, my skill is probably a 4 or 5.

>Single spey

I know all about the physics of this cast. However, I can not execute a single spey correctly in a consistent fashion. In a no wind condition, I have been able to use a single spey to cast 91 feet. However, in most cases, I drop my tip, open the loop, and watch the line crash in a heap about 40 - 60 ft out there.

>b Double Spey

An easy and beautiful cast, but highly restricted. One can't use this cast in an upstream wind. In addition, when using a sink tip the double spey allows the sink tip to, well, sink. The first cast I ever learned, but I hardly ever use it anymore.

>c Snake/Spiral roll

I use this in all circumstances where a double-spey applies. The Snake has the added advantage of being faster and so sink tips are somewhat easier to cast.

>d Snap T, Snap C

I used to do the snap-C until I learned the Snap-T. For me, I can plant the anchor more accurately using the Snap-T.

I use the Snap-T a lot. However, when I really get to where I'm comfortable with the single-spey, I'll move to that. When I hit the single-spey, the line really goes out there.

>e Perry Poke
>f Triple Spey
>g Grant switch
>h Switch cast

I've not practiced/attempted any of these casts.

>If the rod/line combo above changes the different casts...

I'm not skilled enough to know what rod/line combos work best for me. However, for winter steelhead I prefer longer, heavier rods (14' and longer) with a properly weighted Rio Windcutter. For summer steelhead, I prefer shorter, lighter rods and floating , classical spey lines such as XLTs and Mid- Grand-spey lines. In both cases, I prefer fast action rods.


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