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Spey casting outline
Versión en español
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-- Introduction
different styles
the grip
shooting line
power snap
loop shape
across the wind
into the wind
with the wind
side casting
underhand cast
Belgian cast
different lifts
backcast shoot
basic roll cast
roll cast variations
off the shoulder
dynamic roll
Spey Casting
double right
double left
single right
single left
spey fishing
switch cast
snake roll
fly first
mending line
bow and arrow
rotating thumb
tip kicks

Put quite simply:- a spey cast is a roll cast preceded by a bit of line repositioning. There is nothing more frightening to it than this. There are many alternatives to the traditional single and double spey casts. Most of which I cover here, although it is quite possible to invent your own variations, as we shall see.

Three circumstances commonly present themselves where a spey cast, or one of it's variations, is required:

  • First let us imagine we are in a river situation, our line is on the dangle (lying directly downstream) and we want to roll cast across the current. One requirement of the roll cast is that there is sufficient line in the D-loop; if we were to simply lift the rod backwards we wouldn't be able to form this D, because the current is constantly washing the line downstream: problem 1.

    Problem 2 is that even if we could get some line into the D-loop, any remaining line on the water is pointing in the wrong direction and this doesn't help!

    Problem 3 is that if the wind is blowing upstream we are going to end up either: hooking ourselves (if we attempt forming a D-loop on the downstream-side), or getting the rod to cross over the line on the forward stroke, tangling us (if we try to put the D-loop on the upstream-side).

  • Often spey casting is regarded as purely a river cast, and sometimes purely a double-handed rod cast. This is pure fallacy:

    Take the common stillwater situation where we want to roll cast our line with a change of direction: if the caster wishes to cast his line to the right of its current position, he must roll cast of the left shoulder - otherwise the rod crosses over the line, if he wishes to the left then he must place the D-loop to the right shoulder. Ok, we've been there and covered that, but what if he cannot place the D-loop on this chosen side because of an awkward wind: you certainly don't want to put the line between yourself and the wind. So what you have to do is relocate the line - if you can't cast to the right-hand side of the line, move the line; put it even further to the right than you want to cast, and then you can cast to the left of it's new position. It's an exercise in lateral thinking and its a spey cast.

When we are boat fishing, on the drift, we often end up with the line at 90 degrees to the direction of the drift: the double-spey is the obvious choice to get it back out in front again.

There is a rule in spey casting, which we can also apply to roll casting in general, it is this: when casting across the wind always, always keep the fly downwind.