Common SpeyCasting Problems

Common Spey Casting Problems

One simple law of physics is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, this applies to fly casting. Flaws in technique all tend to diminish casting results, they dissipate energy from the dynamic loading imparted by the action of rod and line causing the cast to under perform or collapse completely. So what are the most common flaws in Spey Casting?

The line fails to draw up stream during the lift.

Bending into the lift

The lift should be done with a straight back using your arms to move the line. By arching your back forward you counteract the rod loading as you straighten your body. Your arms are drawing the rod through the cast causing the rod to be loaded. As your body straightens the butt end raises counteracting the rod loading.

Keep a straight back and use the arms for the lift in both Double and Single Spey Casts.

Hunching Your Shoulders Forward During the Lift

This is a common problem because you are reaching to span a long rod handle with both arms and accommodate the movement of the rod butt past your belly as you cast. People tend to pull the belly in and hunch forward to navigate the gut! As a result your elbows will be held down through the lifting and placement phases of the cast. On arriving at the roll cast position with your elbow down you will be unable to punch straight through to roll cast and you will sweep the rod through an arc using wrist, the cast will fail.

Think of the sergeant major, belly in, straight back, shoulders back and cast!

The Line Flies Right up Stream,Then Cracks When You Cast.

Single Spey and Double Spey Cast consist of 3 and 4 parts respectively. Like joined up writing, although there are distinct stages, each part must flow from one to the other in a rhythm. The common fault is for casters to put all the parts into one action, in doing so the line becomes detached from the water and flows up into the air and you will naturally speed up even more to stay ahead of the action. The cast ceases to be a cast and becomes a whipping stroke, often characterised by line crack as the fly whips round.

Think of the stages in the Single Spey and Double Spey as 1, 2, 3 / 1, 2, 3, 4; distinct actions giving the line time to develop, keeping the rod loaded at all times through the casting action.

The Fly and Line Becoming Entangled in the Roll Cast is Caused By a Number of Factors:

Incorrect fly position at the roll cast;

As you bring the line round to the placement position for the roll cast your fly may be ‘inside’ the plane of the roll cast. In the case of the Single Spey this means that the fly has not travelled up stream enough thus when you roll cast the fly lifts up and strikes the main body of the fly line. With the Double Spey the fly has not come back down stream enough to clear the main body of the line as you cast.

Casting Across the Line;

You may have placed the fly correctly but have turned your body too far so that when you roll cast you cast too square across the river to clear the main body of the line (Single Spey) or not square enough (Double Spey).

Always ensure that the fly is upstream of the plane of the roll cast in the Single Spey and down stream of the plane of the roll in the Double Spey.

The Roll Cast Just Doesn't Happen.

When you turn to place the line, forming the D for the roll cast, the D may collapse because of strong wind, because you have the rod tip too low as you come round or too low over your shoulder or you may just be taking too much time before rolling out which allows the D to collapse. In each case too much line will be in contact with the water, when you attempt to roll the line will ‘stick’ to the water and the cast will fail.

In fast moving water the current will bring the line back towards you and can cause the D to collapse or the line and fly will cross over when you roll.

When wading deep you may get everything right but the cast fails because you have allowed too much line to come into contact with the water. Be aware that as you wade deeper you need to reach up as you cast, to allow the D to develop as well as it would in shallower water. The deeper you are the higher you must reach up to cast.


Strong Winds Collapsing the D.

Take note of the wind direction and speed, when the wind is gusting down stream (Single Spey) or up stream (Double Spey) do not cast, just wait it out. In such a situation there is a very real danger that whether the cast succeeds or fails the fly will come close or even hit you.

Too Much Line Comes Into Contact With the Water Because the Rod Angle is too Shallow.

Remember 11 o’clock and 2 o’clock are the critical points in lift and placement. If your left hand comes up too high the rod tip will dip down, remember to bring the left hand across your belly. If you bend forward and hunch your shoulders your elbow will stay low, combined with a high left hand the rod will sweep in an arc with the rod tip almost touching the ground. You will never roll cast from this position.

Remember, left hand down, shoulders back, elbow up, turn at the waist to create a D with minimal contact with the water.

The D Loop Collapses.

Failing to turn at the waist when you go into the placement phase can result in the line falling too close to your body; this does not allow the D to develop fully. Ensure that you turn your body as you cast, the momentum imparted to the line causes it to swing up stream in a stretched D.

I have emphasised that the Spey Cast should not be hurried, however taking too much time holding the line in the D will allow it to collapse. Develop an awareness of timing, you even have time to look and see how the D is developing, feel for the loading point then cast.

The Line Half Rolls Out Then Collapses:

This occurs when you allow the rod tip to go forward from the 11 o’clock stop position. When the rod tip is stopped at 11 o’clock the line fires out high and in a slightly upward direction shooting out any loops of retrieved line before the cast begins to settle to the water.

Pilots use the simple analogy that flying is about making an aeroplane fall horizontally, landing under control. Fly casting works on the same principal; switch off the engine in a jet and it falls, switch of the energy in a cast and the line collapses. Cast high, stop at 11o’clock, let the energy in the cast roll out the line and then lower the rod as the fly line falls in a controlled and graceful manner to the water.

Do not rush a Spey Cast to make it happen, let it develop and feel for the right moments and it will work for you.





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