Speycasting Tips & Advice
By Jock Monteith 14th September 2019
If you've taken a casting lesson and been taught with a short floating shooting head with no sink tip attached best ask for your money back! Seek out a ghillie who'll teach you exactly how to 'time' the release of your Spey cast anchor point correctly to force you to bring your peripheral vision into play.
Teaching The Spey Cast Properly
There's no point learning the basics of the Spey cast to then go into a real fishing scenario where a long sink 3 tip is required and all of a sudden the casting progress you were making falls completely apart! Get yourself properly trained with 'live ammunition' by a conscientious instructor who'll teach you with a 'proper' braided core sink tip (not a lightweight polyleader) which forces you to watch the anchor point and more importantly to lift the line correctly in the first instance. I've never conducted a lesson on this easy cast without at least a 10ft sink 3 on the end of the floating Spey line to 'solidify' the valid points I'm about to make.
Lifting A Spey Line Perfectly
For many fly fishers the cast is over before it begins as they've never been shown the value (or objective) of a correct line lift. If 95% of the Spey line and sink tip section are not lifted (aerialised) at that split second at the end of the lift then there will be too much 'line' water resistance as you change the rod angle to go into the swing. That means you'll need to snatch the swing which will kill the 'line energy' build up you're trying to achieve or the line won't come round into a good anchor point position (for proper loading) at all. If your eyes are not focussed 'intensely' on the end of your sink tip the spit second your rod very briefly stops at 11 o'clock (with smooth rising hands) at the end of the lift then you're not tuned in well enough to the value of a correct lift.
Salmon Fishing Racehorses
If you observe most Speycasters or 'underhand' casters you'll notice that the vast majority of them release the power stroke based on complete guesswork via a sense of timing. If they're really good they'll get away with it but for most anglers who haven't been taught correctly they'll make a mess of it as their sense of timing will not be sharp enough for every cast to be timed to perfection. Rather than allow testosterone to keep your head focussed on the target watch the anchor point instead! The simple logic behind that is if you get your timing off the water precisely correct then the target will take care of itself! The constantly changing water line height adjustments that occur while wading down through a pool which effect the power stroke release timings would mean you'd need to be Floyd Mayweather to get your power release precisely correct every time without watching!
General Observation Of Salmon Fly Fishers
The biggest nonsense I've seen that thousands of fly fishers have fallen for during the last decade is the 'ditching' of beautiful and effective Spey lines for the easier to learn but aerially nasty and less 'fly control' shooting head systems. What a lesson in bastardisation of something magnificent and how to 'wring' more money from an unsuspecting salmon fly fisher's wallet due to the umpteen different heads that are required at exact weights to match each individual fly rod's action along with a separate running line and a multitude of sink density tips. Diminished 'fly control' and a significant reduction in the satisfaction of delivering a fly line to the river is all that fad has achieved. I think the time is fast approaching for the emphasis to swing back onto Spey lines with their 'effective' magic of a controlled salmon fly, magnificent aerial elegance & significantly better fly fishing pleasure!