Monday, June 27, 2011

Spey Casting Practice on Grass

Here is a video footage I made showing the effectiveness of the anchored grass leader system posted earlier (see blog archive). The venue is the field in front of Coho Fly Shop Singapore. Spey casting practice just became a lot easier and convenient with this set up. Snap T, C-Spey, Double Spey, Switch cast, Perry Poke / Wrap, Cackhanded cast are all possible with this set up.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Waterproof Phone for Anglers

Nothing to do with Spey casting but wow....a rugged waterproof mobile phone? Definitively a must have for anglers. More than once I dropped my phone into the lake/pond while fishing and once I even had to dive in to retrieve it. This new mobile phone from Sony Ericsson is godsend and someone must have heard my prayers. Soon to be launch with the latest Android OS, 5MP camera, HD video recording and scratch proof screen that works even when wet. I want one for sure....

The phone looks really good too. Here is the SE promo video with Maria Sharapova:

Why I Love Switch Rod

Watching this video, I can't help but think how I love the Switch rods. What is there not to love about it...its a lot lighter than the traditional Spey rod and a lot more versatile. I think it revolutionize Spey casting,  bringing double hand casting to a lot more people regardless of whether they fish flowing water or not.

As demonstrated by George Cook here, limited back cast room, the bane of single hand overhead  casting, instantly becomes no problemo with the use of a switch rod. I regularly fish ponds and lakes with my 4wt 11ft TFO switch and had a blast doing it as back cast room is no longer a concern. This often gives me an edge over other anglers being able to access pockets that are relatively unmolested (Big Grin).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nice Spey Casting Sequence

I really enjoyed watching this video with lots of nice spey casting sequence. Beautiful river, great  scenery. Thought I will share it here.

Anchored Grass Leader

In my attempt to practice Spey casting on grass, I found the experience less than satisfactory even when I use grass leader. About a week ago, I had a flash of brilliance and came up with this anchored grass leader concept that has proven to work well.

In this system, a long 30-40 feet mono leader that is staked to the ground is used to create the anchor effect that is sorely missing on grass. With the leader 30-40 feet away, you easily see your loop sailing out 60-80 ft when the cast is performed well. This system allows me to practice and teach Perry Poke, Perry Wrap (down stream Perry Poke) and Switch cast on grass. With the Switch cast, I find it helpful to include a short length of elastic cord between the sink tip and the mono leader to take some shock out of the system.

With this system, I get to practice my cack-hand cast in a controlled environment and made good progress within a short time. I have also successfully taught friends the Perry Poke and Wrap on grass. With the anchor securely fasten, new "Speyers" can focus more on their stroke, rod movement, D-Loop formation etc. Try it, you might like it.

Note1: When practicing forehand cast (assuming right hander), aim your cast slightly to the left of the stake to prevent the loop from crossing/crashing. If you are practicing cack-hand, aim to the right side of the stake.

Note2: For this system, you should get better feel of the casting tempo if you use a longer head spey line. For example, When I practice with a 11' switch rod, I get better feel on timing and stroke if I use a Skagit head of 27ft vs a 20ft Skagit head. This is because a short head requires very compact stroke and the whole event happens too fast. A longer head gives you a more relax tempo to work out the kinks in your stroke.

Here is a link to my video on casting practice using anchored grass leader:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tongariro Roll Cast

When I first saw the Tongariro roll cast, I thought to myself what a violent cast......
Much later after learning to Perry Poke and understanding the mechanics behind the cast, I re-visited the Togariro roll cast with better appreciation on the rational behind the cast. Here is another video by Andrew Blake with the cast done more err....gently?

The Tongariro roll cast (TRC) is essentially a Perry Poke or vice versa (don't ask me which came first). With the TRC, the poke is done with rod tip very close to the water, minimizing airborne time of the line, allowing water to grab the line sooner for the back cast. This way, the back cast can start almost immediately after the poke. In contrast, a Perry Poke will have the fly line airborne longer as it drops to the water and there is a perceptible wait before the caster can commence the back cast. So, essentially the TRC is quicker to fire off and if you have a heavy fast sinking nymph at the end of your leader, that is a big advantage.

Here is a video on the standard Perry Poke where the fly line stays longer up in the air before touch down. The caster is forced to wait a bit before commencing the back cast. Not a bad thing if you want to allow the anchor to set.

The Switch Cast

Switch cast is the foundation to almost all Spey cast. I say almost all because there are a few exceptions namely Double Spey , C-spey and Perry Wrap. Learning to do switch cast well is essential to learning Spey cast. Switch cast is also sometimes referred to as Jump Roll, inferring a more advance method of roll casting. Indeed, when executed well, the result is a much bigger D-Loop compared to the standard roll cast. So far, this is the best You-tube video I have seen demonstrating a good Switch cast.

Note how the line is being picked up by initially raising the rod tip followed quickly by a side cast (backwards) with rod tip tracking a straight line horizontal path.  In my practice with Skagit heads, I find this horizontal straight line path of the rod tip rather crucial to get a good D-loop. If the rod tip is swept upwards instead, I somehow loose loading with the D-Loop. Sweeping downwards is of course a no no as it will drive the D-loop down to the water. I find that this applies to the Perry Poke as well. After the forward poke, as long as I am conscious of tracking a horizontal straight line path on my back cast, I will get good loading for my forward cast.

Vodoo Cast

The Vodoo cast was just....well.... real vodoo when I first saw it on You-tube. The line was just flying around doing all kind of crazy loop-d-loop before the forward cast. Not necessary for fishing but impressive nonetheless. Finally someone has step forward to de-mystify the Vodoo cast. The video is quite well done and has managed to break down the cast into manageable bites. Finally I can practice some Vodoo myself.

Update 1 Sep 2015: The above video no longer exist in You-tube. Here is an alternative video : You can see the Voodoo cast being executed at 2:25 of the video.
*Tip: Use the speed setting of the Youtube video to slow down to 0.25x speed and you should see how it is executed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

To Wrap or not to Wrap

This is the best You-tube video footage I found so far showing the wrap style of Perry poke.

Maybe I should call it "Perry wrap" instead because there is hardly any poke in the move. This video footage is truly inspiring as it illustrate the power/line speed generated from centrifugal force in sweeping the rod around in a circular arc. 

Here is the another style of Perry poke where the emphasis is more on linear back and forth motion.

The line is dump right in front of the caster and the back cast is more like a Belgium cast (side cast)  where a loop is thrown backwards before commencing with the forward cast.

The main difference between the "Perry wrap" and "Perry poke" is that in the Wrap, the rod is kept continuously loaded (by centrifugal force) throughout the sweep; whereas in the linear style Perry poke, the rod will unload on the back cast to throw a D-loop backwards and quickly loads again in the forward cast the instance the anchor bites.

I find both style useful for various fishing situations. The Wrap style is more relax and graceful whereas the Poke is more compact and requires less room to execute. I will generally gravitate towards the Wrap unless space is limited and, or I have a fast sinking big fly that needs to be yanked out of the water ASAP, in which case the Poke can be executed faster before the fly sinks too deep.

Spey cast Ogii Lake in review

Upon reviewing my video a year back when casting in Ogii lake Mongolia, I easily caught my own mistakes. In my forehand cast, my anchor point was too far out resulting in a shallow D-loop formation. Bringing the anchor point nearer would have resulted in a much better cast with a deeper D-loop. The sweep following the Perry poke looks OK as my rod tip tracks on a horizontal plane but at the end of the sweep, I made the mistake of dipping the rod tip (slightly) during the transition to forward stroke.

Spey Casting Ogii Lake, Mongolia

Helping friends with their spey cast, I now know that this dipping/downward motion of the rod tip at the end of the sweep is not a good habit to have as it tends to drive the bottom leg of the D-loop down towards water, adding unnecessary stiction/anchor to the cast . This appears to be a very common mistake to new "speyers" as their natural instinct tells them to open up their casting arc in preparation for the forward stroke.

By analyzing video footage of good skagit caster and experimentation, I soon realized that the rod tip should track an upward spiral motion during the transition from sweep to forward stroke. The smooth execution of this upward spiral motion of the rod tip during the transition stage is important as we are changing casting plane from a sweep (rod tip tracking a horizontal plane) to a forward cast (rod tip tracking a vertical/off-vertical plane). When this transition is executed smoothly, all the rod loading that is generated during the sweep is carried over to the forward cast. What this does is to pre-load the rod even before the forward cast starts. All that is needed after this is to power the rod forward with a lower hand pull followed by a high stop and good tight loop will sail AHA moment.....:)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spey Casting in JB Pond

JB pond is a great place to practice Spey casting. This photo was taken by Mervin with his mobile phone late in the evening when we were done fishing and gathered to hone our Skagit cast. This is a great shot capturing the moment when anchor, D-Loop and rod loading all happening simultaneously. I only wish that it was taken with a higher resolution camera....then again you can't always have it all :)