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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm starting to get out and actually use my spey rod now that there's some fish in my area. It may seem like a silly minor point, but I can't decide on the best way to work downstream quickly and efficiently while speying. With my single hand, I have a pattern where I cast, swing, let it hang, strip it in, then take 5 to 12 steps downstream, and cast again. But one of the advantages of a spey rod is supposed to be that I don't have to strip in as much and I'm ready to cast again. If I take steps downstream after the hang with all the line out, it will hang on the bottom , particularly with a sink tip or slack water near shore. What I have been doing is taking a few steps downstream right after the line hits the water, but I don't get many steps in and one of these days I'll miss a strike as I stumble along. It seems like a good time to be concentrating on the drift.
 

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Good question and I'm sure you will get some varied feedback. My rule of thumb is:

Floating line/surface or near surface presentation -- step down river before casting. Often this is with 3-4' of line pulled in (unless shooting line). I rarely step more than 6' down between casts and more likely around 4'.

Tips fishing -- Cast and then step down river 2-4'. If I am hanging up, I will alter the angle of downstream cast.
 

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I have looked lots of fish on the North Umpqa while taking steps downstream and even while walking some distance downstream with my line in the water. I don't think you'll miss fish just because you aren't concentrating. How far to step downstream between casts should be based on two things, how many fish are in the river and your level of confidence in the piece of water you are fishing.
 

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I generally take two big steps with summer fish unless there is a lot of structure, and then I might slow down a little. I think that is about 6 ft. I go slower in winter with sunken flies, one step. Fish need to see more of the fly in the winter to trigger the strike in my experience. I let the fly hang for a while and then step down before I strip in for the next cast. I have had a couple of grabs when stepping down, but it is not a common experience for me.
 

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loco alto!
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I think making a singular decision depends on the water and the way that you fish.

With dries, I prefer to step first, followed by the cast. My goal is to keep the fly waking under tension. Stepping after the cast defeats that. Also, it seems for me that steelhead like to hit wakers just when they land on the water and begin moving.

With wets on an easy wading river (cobble bottom) its different. I will often work fast, cast and then step quickly while between those magic spots. I'll even slink downstream during mid-swing if the footing is sure and I'm sufficiently composed - ain't nothing wrong with adding downstream drift to a swinging fly when trying to cover the water.

With wets on hard to wade waters (ledgerock) I take the time to find sure footing before casting, or simply work out line from a good perch. Its better than a swim or broken ankle.
 

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Indicators Anonymous
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SSPey said:
I'll even slink downstream during mid-swing if the footing is sure and I'm sufficiently composed - ain't nothing wrong with adding downstream drift to a swinging fly when trying to cover the water.
i am happy to know that i am not the only one that doest that. although i do try to minimize it because i think it may disturb the swing a little too much but when my ADD kicks in, i just cant help myself.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Good water - steps few and small. Transitional water - frequent and larger. Unfortunately it seems the guy in front of me always shares the same philosophy!
 

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Mr. Mom
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I don't know if I have full on Sparkey style ADD, but I do tend to rush the hangdown. So, I take my steps in summer fishing at the end of the swing, with all the line out, where most people have the patience and sense to do a hangdown. When I stumble while stepping, I just say I'm adding "action" to my hangdown :) So my procedure is Cast, Swing, Step, Strip, Cast...
 

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steps

Makes no difference if single hand or double.The routine is;cast,swing,strip &step.I strip while taking steps.Ed ward taught me that the slower you strip the better the cast.If I strip and step at same time I am mentaly more able to go slow.Not rushing to save time.also ,if I step after stripping,my sinktip will sink as I step and it will be a lilltle tougher to lift for the cast.If visability is really poor[1ft]I may only take one step.If vis is 2-3 ft to my eyes,I know it is more to the fish so take 2-3 steps.If really clear, may take more. dont want them to see it too many times.Dont wade while swinging!I have and still do make that mistake once in a while.When you fish all wkend for a pull and it comes when you cant hit back ,it hurts!I know!Also,the average wader cant help but bounce the fly around in an unnatural way when fishing and stepping.I have seen guys do that all weeklong even after I have told them about it.their casting was good,thier setups ,gear,flies were good.They did not catch fish!!I mean 0 fish!!sloppy steps and rod movement were only thing they were doing wrong!No pulls,even!!!!Others guys, that were not casting as well, caught fish!Beau
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Some good ideas here. I do the cast, swing, hang, strip in, step down when I fish my single hand. But when I fish the spey cast I'm having a hard time stepping down without having the line sink out of sight, making the lift real hard to do or getting me stuck on the bottom. I hate to strip in a multitip past the loops because then I have to work the loops out again. Sometimes when jumping downstream I'll be rolling downstream to keep the line from sinking to the bottom or making little giveaway casts down and across while on the move.

The Broken Tree hole on the Klickitat is long and divided in half by a section that shallows up and speeds up before settling into a real sweet lower section where long spey casts would help me out. With a single hander, I step down through this midsection about 12 steps at a time. I've never caught anything through the shallow dividing section, but I can't stand to reel in and just pass it by either.
 

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i only move when i've covered all water in the zone i can cover with the rod i'm swinging=close,far,,etc,i accept less distance coverage with shorter rods and move faster,cover more water,unless i'm fishing a riffle above a deep;;HUGE! `hole' or stacking area,fishing for fish that are moving thru early and late in the day,then they come to me and i only vary my spots in the riffle
 

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moving down

have you tried pulling in some loops of line then casting a short line square across and moving down river as it comes round,you don't get hung upcause the line (fly) is coming round quick on a shortish cast and it is easy to extend line when you get to the good bit just shoot the loop(s) and if you get a take it's a bonus 'cause you would have normaly reeled in and it's an extra bonus if it holds :chuckle:
 

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Dry or Wet ?

I may be misinturpreting your message, but thought hanging up your sink tip was your concern. If your fishing dry, the only concern is moving down for best water coverage. If your fishing wet, a good time to move is immediately after your cast. You may sink your line a bit deeper, but presummably you'll be out in more flow and depth where hanging up is not an issue. You can end that first cast at your new position a bit earlier, ( forget the hang ), to insure no hang-up and go back to the hang after your move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's what I'm talking about, and that's what I'm doing: steping down right after the line hits the water. Then I try to stop early enough to be alert to a hit when it starts to swing.
 

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Now I am Confused

I'm not sure whether you started with a question or a statement, but in any event, technique worthy of discussion. Probably no relevation here, but I like to "over-mend" a bit after the cast by straighting out the line to insure that my line is relatively straight even while sinking. My thinking is that even while sinking a take will be easier to detect than if the line is serpentined. Depending on depth, flow and where "the zone" may be, I often mend again to speed up or slow down the swing. In any event, good luck.
 

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roballen said:
I have looked lots of fish on the North Umpqa while taking steps downstream and even while walking some distance downstream with my line in the water. I don't think you'll miss fish just because you aren't concentrating. How far to step downstream between casts should be based on two things, how many fish are in the river and your level of confidence in the piece of water you are fishing.
I'm with Rob here; I cast and step down a foot or two as the line is moving. All sorts of reasons why, but step down I do after the cast, not after.
fae
 

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Wetfly? step then cast

When I am fishing wet or dry, I make my steps, then I set my feet and cast. I don't want to be stepping down river as my fly is dropping, or moving downstream before the swing. I want to use my rod during this time to control my flies movement. My attention, right after the fly lands, is best focused on fly control, getting a good leg in my line for the swing. A lot of grabs come just as the fly is turning the corner from heading down stream to cutting across the current. At least, That is where I have had a lot of grabs.
 

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I have found that I am taking my steps when the line is in/on the water. I am not sure how I developed this habit and I am trying to break it. FWIW - I don't think that it breaks your concentration, unless, of course, you fall. :roll:

david
 

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I pretty much agree with tip here. I will very the amount of steps though.
For example, if it takes 2 hrs to fish a run with three steps but the wife wants me home in 1.5 hrs.
I will take 6 steps so I can cover as much water as possible in 1 hr. :D
 

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We were on the Deschutes last week. If the run was smaller, our guide had me following Lynn as I could cast farther. Sometimes I felt like a 747 following a single prop in for landing. Going back and forth waiting for the Lynn to hurry up. Between casts, she would be watching the clouds, chatting with the guide, and, in general, having a really good time. Sigh. The things you do when your spouse takes up steelheading with the long rod. :)
 
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