Watch Your Spey Casting Anchor Point
By Jock Monteith 26th March 2021
If you take the time to study 90% of UK Spey Casters you'll see that they are only focussed on the target area when their forward power stroke is being applied and not the critical anchor point 'release' timing which is the catalyst for optimal power and salmon fly turnover.
Don't Be A Spey Casting Racehorse With Blinkers On
If you're only focussed on the forward delivery target area and your sense of timing is 'expertly' acute then you'll likely get away with optimising the forward delivery energy during most casts. That category of Spey caster are however few and far between so stop Spey casting like a 'race horse with blinkers on' and pay attention to the shape, distance and timing 'off the water' at the critical anchor point moment which provides the 'pulling power' that makes the entire forward delivery possible and effortless if executed perfectly.
The Spey Cast Anchor Point Silence
If you're Spey casting and hearing a continual 'slooshing' sound as the line lifts off the water then you've given the line too much time on the surface of the river. That 'slooshing' sound represents a loss of power stroke energy that should have gone to the fly! On the other hand if you're hearing a frequent 'wooshing' sound it means the anchor point has been missed completely or you're a millisecond too quick with the power application. A well timed anchor point release should be virtually sound free.
The Shape Of The Spey Cast Anchor Point
If you're fishing with one of these modern day 'talent compensator' washing lines and a stiff broom pole action rod then this is going to be a tricky thing to achieve unless you're very gentle with your lift and swing. The objective of any anchor point is to lay the front of the line down at the same angle it's to come off the water at. This logically minimises the energy loss by keeping perfect 'straight line' shape true to the intended delivery line angle instead of the line having to unravel a 'dog's breakfast' as it's lifting from the water. The true test again is 'visual' and you should be seeing a straight line ripple on the surface of the river the split second after the line has gone.
The Spey Cast Anchor Point Visuals
If your 'lift' has been high enough and your 'swing' smooth enough then you should be in total control of the positioning of the anchor point. For normal fishing this positioning should be approx 1 rod length from whichever shoulder you're casting off and this positioning will give you reasonable loading for the majority of casting ranges. The key to the entire deal is to tune your peripheral vision into watching not only the positioning & shape of the anchor point but the timing 'off' the water too. This will give you a consistent forward delivery casting advantage and will counteract the depth adjustments often experienced while wading down through a salmon pool and allow every forward delivery to be an absolute peach!
Understanding The Speycast
Success in Speycasting is easily achieved as long as each of the 3 basic steps of the cast are fully understood along with the basic logic associated with the lift, swing & power stroke components. If you haven't taken quality instruction you'll very likely develop bad habits or miss out on understanding the little pointers that make a huge difference to the delivery ease of the cast. There's nothing more elegant & satisfying than being able to perform the Spey cast off either shoulder with ease & grace so it's well worth learning. Modern day line systems although easier to cast with (if no Spey casting tuition has been undertaken) come nowhere close to an elegantly tapered Spey line for casting and actual salmon fishing 'effectiveness' via total fly control at long range which only a minority of salmon anglers understand or pay attention to these days.