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Ronan's report

Wednesday 09 October, 2013

During the past decade Spey casting has become a magic (selling) term throughout the world of fly fishing. Here are a few statements coming to (my) mind when talking about Spey casting:

“Traditional Speycasting was all about lifting & sweeping a fixed length of line (ie with a double taper) and making the biggest loop you had room for.” (Michael Evans)

“We call it Andersson technique or Underhand casting. It’s not Spey casting anymore. We are shooting the distance.” (Göran Andersson)

“We cast in the Scandinavien Style.“ (Trond & Knut Syrstad)

“For distance, the modern Ness style has only been developed for the tournaments where 30 degrees is the angle direction change.” (Michael Evans)

“You learn the modern Spey casts such as the Snake Roll, Circle Spey, Snap T, Snap Z and so on.” (RIO’s Modern Spey casting DVD)

“Skagit Style casting is defined by the sustained anchor.” (Ed Ward)

"In Fulcrum style, the top hand is used less in power application." (Robert Gillespie)

Fantastic - so now we have: Traditional Spey casting, Modern Spey casting, Andersson style casting, Underhand style casting, Scandinavien style casting, Modern Ness style casting, Skagit style casting, Fulcrum style casting and probably some more.

Then we have very similar casts like for example the Snap C and the Snap T, which differ only by the shape of the loop of the first lay.

In summary we create new names a) when changing the length of the head, b) when changing the profile of the head, c) when changing the shape of the loop, d) when changing the amount of line shoot, e) when positioning the D-Loop upstream instead of downstream (for example the Snake roll vs. the Jelly roll) and f) when varying the amount of force application between the upper and lower hand.

It seems to me like the art of Spey casting is about creating new names and making it more and more complicated to learn what Spey casting is all about. Personally I think that at least some of the names and styles are only good for ego!

A fair question though seems to be: What do all these casts and styles have in common?

To me that is:

A D-loop for a back cast, that anchors on the water, rather than a back cast that unrolls in the air behind.

Our concepts of success are:

a) Keep the anchor just big enough to provide the resistance to not allow the anchor to slip back too much during the forward delivery.

b) Make the biggest D-loop you have room for.

c) Keep the D-loop in one plane with the target.

d) Adjust loop shape, line speed, trajectory and degree of direction change to the situation.

Yes, like in all fly casting (not only Spey casting) our casts then may also vary in how much line we shoot and how our tackle is set up exactly.

Too easy - based on what some of the experts mentioned above?

Well, Michael Evans said: “…sweeping a fixed length of line”. But in truth his own video shows him shooting line right into his (traditional) Single Spey cast (whenever he needs that extra length).

Göran Andersson said: “We are shooting the distance.” But in truth he does not shoot any line whenever a fish rises in a distance he easily reaches without shooting line.

Ian Gordon hit a distance (left + right side) of 273 feet with the Single Spey cast in a Spey casting tournament called Spey A Rama. A hell lot of line shoot even with a pretty long head outside the rod though.

Do we really need different names based on the exact loop shape of a single lay within a cast?

Or how about the Snake roll vs. the Jelly roll in a lake where we don’t have up- and downstream?

I think it may be worth asking whether we want to create all kind of new names for different loop shapes, line set ups and shooting distances for the overhead cast as well as all other types of casts, which of course would provide us a whole lot of new founders for various casts. Or do we want to work on making it easier to understand the keys of success in fly casting including Spey casting and all its various forms?

Paul once said: "Names are good for teaching." I agree, but too many names - especially for the same cast - may easily become confusing. What’s your opinion?

Many thanks for your minds and a good change of direction to all of you!


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