Tim Kempton | Tuesday, 23 February 2021

The aim of this series of articles is to share the information that I have been privileged to collect over the years from the great people I have fished with around the world. Everyone has something to offer, and I was inspired to write these articles by a friend who came carp fishing with me and sadly summed up his day “I’m not a very good fly fisherman”. He comes to all the casting days/nights, he has put in the hours, and he can cast very well. BUT..he has not done enough fly fishing, he was taking too long to unstring his rod and make the shot, getting caught in bushes on the backcast, the line getting caught around his feet, not being able to reposition his fly as the fish moved…frustration. Other friends who are great bass fisherman in stillwater lakes have struggled with trout fishing in rivers…their short game, line management, and repositioning were lacking.

It’s a long way back to the start and its easy to forget our beginnings.  I'm sure most of the Sexyloops Community are far better at fly casting than me, and I have a lot more to learn. However, I have been privileged to fly fish around the world, and caught a wide range of both fresh and salt water species. I wrote these articles to share particularly with those who have not yet had the opportunity to gain some of that experience.  

The aim is to keep the fly in the zone as long as possible, feed the fly to the fish, entice it to eat the fly, release the fish unharmed and salute the fish if it wins. Repositioning the fly quickly after a drift, or if the fish has moved is key to keeping your fly in the zone. The more repositioning casts you have in your quiver, the more time your fly will be in the water. There are many scenarios. Jump roll cast to lift your fly over lily pads or snags,  roll cast pickup when fishing upstream, circle C to change angles,  and many many more.  Most of these casts are spey casts, and there are now “spey” lines for single handed rods.  A marketer's dream.

When I first started fly fishing, there was single handed and double handed (spey) casting which was a bit like downhill and cross country skiers, there was little cross over...they were considered different sports.  I learnt spey casting so that I could fish the wide Mongolian Rivers for was an interesting journey because the language used in spey casting made it sound like a whole new artform.  Rightly or wrongly I thought about the fundamentals of levers, and particularly application of power and timing. My light bulb moment was when I likened my bottom (rod butt) hand to my hauling hand (clearly you don’t haul a speyrod), and I timed the pull on the bottom hand as if I was hauling…it worked for me.  Interestingly, pulling with the bottom hand and steering with the top hand has worked a treat with my surfcasting and GT popping rods...much less effort now required.  It's what you think about that’s the key!

Spey is catching on fast. There are lots of spey rods being walked up an down the New Zealand Rivers where people fish streamerdown and across. Spey rods are particularly useful on the wider pools on the Tongariro like the Judges Pool.   New lines like the AirFlo Skagit FIST (Floating, Intermediate, and three types of Sink Tip) have appeared on the market.  Great for casting across the rivers and saves a lot of deep wading.

There are lots of great teaching videos on spey casts and spey rods.  I published an excellent presentation by Simon Gawesworth on my You tune channel TimKFishing. (

These are great repositioning casts. Moreover, most spey casts can be delivered with a single handed rod, as the principles are basically the same. Single and Double Spey, Snap T,  Snake Roll, Circle C, Tongariro Roll Cast (TRC) are all great casts to learn.   Some of these casts like the TRC require overlining with WF lines to get more energised D loops.  

Pre - Covid we fished the Tongariro a lot at night with dry flies for the late evening (in the dark) rise. Snap T, cast at right angles, let the line drift with the current and hang, wait for the splash or the weight. Great fishing for cracker fish. Maybe one day we will get to return.

Great fishing everyone.  Tight lines!