Monday, December 3, 2012

Skagit Spey Cast - T Spey

Here is a unique Skagit style spey cast that you don't see everyday. Brian loosely refer to it as T-Spey (not to confuse with Snap-T). This cast is unique in that it allows the anchor to be placed very close to the body and  slightly aft of the angler. This anchor set up allows for a deeper D-loop, which explains why he say it is a powerful cast. Obviously the same cast can be executed with a Snap-T as well but the Snap-T will not place the anchor as far back as this cast, if that is important.

In Spey casting, the power of a cast is only as good as the anchor. If the anchor does not hold, all the power in the world will do no good. An anchor that slip is liken to a bow an arrow where the arrow slips off the fingers prematurely before the string has been drawn to full potential.

This cast is especially suitable when used with very fast sink tip and/or with big fly where the anchor is great and you need to muster all might to lift that anchor. Obviously you need to water clearance all round as well, not something to be attempted when standing next to a bank.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Skagit Spey Casting with Ed Ward

Here are two very good YouTube videos of Ed Ward, the Jedi master of Skagit casting, demonstrating and explaining the art. This is a must watch for those who are interested in Skagit casting as it is very enlightening. It covers the history and development of Skagit casting briefly and goes on to demonstrate the finer points of Skagit casting and how it differs from other form of Spey casting.

In this video Ed talks about water tension being the friend of a Skagit caster and stressed on getting lots of line on the water (full contact) and waiting for the line motion to stop before moving on the next stage of the cast. While this is true for floating Skagit head, my experience with intermediate sink Skagit head (Wulff Ambush Clear Head & SA Skagit Extreme Intermediate) however tells me that water tension can sometimes become too "friendly". Intermediate sink head can sit too low if left too long in the water column and in this case, full and prolong water contact becomes a hindrance. Once the water surface developed too much grip on the fly line, energy will be sapped from the cast when sweeping to form the D-Loop and the cast will not go well. Cast that performs well for intermediate Skagit head are those that the line only sit on the water surface briefly. For that reason, I often turn to the Speed Poke when using intermediate line.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Skagit Spey Casting - Wiggle C-Spey / Snap-T

Here is a novel cast I invented quite by accident recently. Ever since inventing the Wiggle Roll Cast , I have been using it quite extensively in my fishing especially with full intermediate Skagit head. In still water fishing, intermediate heads are not easy to roll cast to the surface unless you strip in at least half the head. The Wiggle Roll Cast conveniently did away with that and allowed me to surface the head with just one roll.

Recently, I have been experimenting to incorporate the wiggle into the Snap-T. I had some success  but was not happy with how far in the anchor was being positioned to my right. Then quite by accident, I did a cack hand wiggle followed by a forehand C-Spey and everything fell nicely into place. The anchor was positioned nicely (front right) and the Perry Poke that followed straightened and aligned the fly and leader in the right direction for the final delivery.

With this cast, I can now efficiently re-position my anchor to my right without having to do multiple  roll cast or cack hand roll cast. With one continuous swoop the anchor is re-positioned correctly and the cast fires off sweet. I am a happy camper.

In this video, I was casting with my new Sage ONE 4wt switch rod and a 350 grain Wulff Ambush line with 15ft clear versi-leader. For those who are interested, the Sage ONE 4 wt Switch rod cast well with 300 grain and 350 grain Skagit head. My preference goes to 350 grain. This rod cast smooth and gives wicked distance. I particularly enjoy the stiffer tip that seems to turn everything over very positively.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fly casting World Championship 2012 Fagernes, Norway

Fly casting championship in Fagarnes, Norway. This video is fun to watch and enlightening as Steve Rajeff walk us through the various categories of the sport including some great footage on double hand casting. There is also a  nice footage on overhead double hand casting.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spey Casting : Enhanced Double Spey

Here is a Spey cast I have not seen before. I think it is quite an innovative spin on the Double Spey, changing the Double Spey from a waterborne anchor cast to an airborne anchor cast. This cast has the potential to impart more energy to the D-Loop giving deeper loading and longer cast. It also has the potential to shake off some water from the fly before sending it on its way. This may be helpful in instances when we fish dry e.g. deer hair mouse, bomber etc. Note that this cast is kind of like doing a cack hand (or back hand) cast before commencing with the forehand cast.

Excerpt from Peter Anderson's comment in his video :

The Enhanced Double Spey cast from Peter Anderson. It involves a back hand finishing movement on the first line placing part, this unrolls the fly line out in the air out over the river at a slightly downstream angle. The rod immediately follows round and then pulls the line back into a D loop on the downstream side. The cast has an airborne anchor. Ideal for a downstream wind that is also pushing out slightly from the anglers bank. On longer casts some line can be let slip out also if one wishes before pulling back into the D loop."

Spey Casting a long belly line

Here is a good video by Andrew Moy showing how to spey cast a long belly line. Short belly line like Skagit and Scandinavian line cast a bit differently from traditional long belly line. The stroke required for casting long belly line is longer and that usually means incorporating body motion to assist the cast. Andrew Moy shows us the way here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Spey Casting - Roll cast vs Switch cast #2

Here is a great video I found explaining the difference between a Roll Cast and a Switch Cast. This is a better video compared to my previous video on the same subject ( Roll Cast vs Switch Cast ).

Peter Kutzer does a good job explaining the mechanics of the cast. He also added a sub category for the roll cast that he called a dynamic roll cast. Not sure if this is a good idea because to me, differentiating between static roll cast and Switch cast (which is the dynamic form of roll cast) should be good enough  and less confusing all round.

As long as the fly & leader does not leave the water during the D-loop set up phase, it is static roll cast. If the fly  & leader leave the water momentarily and splash down again to form the anchor and D-loop, then it is a Switch cast.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Skagit Spey Casting

Here is a nice video showing Skagit style Spey casting. Skagit Spey is one of the three predominant style in Spey casting. The other two being traditional mid-long belly Spey and Scandinavian Spey. Skagit and Scandinavian (Scandi) Spey casting are also sometimes referred to as shooting Spey because of the  use of short shooting head (20ft - 35ft) and thin running line to achieve distance. Because of the shorter head, the D-loop of these two styles are by design smaller than traditional Spey and therefor require less back cast room to execute.

While traditional Spey and Scandi Spey predominantly make use of touch-n-go or kiss-n-go anchoring, Skagit Spey make use of sustain anchor almost exclusively. As the name implies, touch-n-go anchor is set as the leader/fly momentarily touches the water. As for sustain anchor, sink-tip/leader/fly is allowed to sit on or sink into the water column long enough to provide a good grip for the anchor.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Competition Spey Casting

Click this link to the video >>

Watch the masters at work and be inspired. This video shows some of the very best Spey casters in the world pitting their skill in Spey-O-Rama 2012. Watch how Gerard Downey, James Chalmers and Ruairi Costello from team Carron cast to hit 177ft. Take note of their highly energized D-loop, wide casting arc and pointy V-loops penetrating the distance.

Gerard Downey preparing for the forward cast.
Note 1) both arms raised with top arm fully extended. 
Note 2) Rod tilted far back beyond 45 degree for a wide casting arc

Gerard Downey launching the forward cast.
Note 1) Top arm remain fully extended as the rod is chopped forward
Note 2) Bottom arm powers the rod by pulling towards the stomach
Note 3) Firm stop at 45 degree to allow rod to unload

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Champion Spey Caster in action

Click on this link to watch this video from Vimeo:

Here is a very nice video clip showing champion distance spey caster from team Carron in action. These are some of the very best distance Spey casters in the world - James Chalmers, Gerard Downey and Ruairi Costello among them.

Here is another video clip from YouTube showing Gerard Downey making a world record 231+ ft (70.63m) cast in CLA game fair. Notice the very firm stop of the rod at about 45degree when his upper hand is fully extended and bottom hand putting on the brakes (at 0:18s).

Andrew Toft, another world champion Spey caster from UK also talks about the importance of a firm stop with emphasis on the the lower hand to stop/block so that the rod can unload efficiently. You can read more about Andrew Toft's fulcrum fly casting style / technique here:

Long belly distance Spey casting generally requires bigger casting arc and longer stroke length to aerialize the line This is in contrast to the Scandinavian style casting where the strokes are more compact since the head (or belly) is much shorter. Regardless, both style seems to have settled onto an efficient technique whereby power is applied through the bottom hand, with the top hand being the moving fulcrum / pivot.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blue Charm - Salmon fishing in Scotland

This is where it all started. Scotland, the birthplace of Spey casting, named after the river Spey. Blue Charm the movie trailer brings you spectacular scenery, beautiful Spey casting, Salmon fishing, running water....its all here....must watch.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why Switch Rod

Here is nice video I found on YouTube explaining the whats and the whys of Switch rod. There are a lot of confusion out there as to what is a Switch rod and to make matters worst, people are are often mixing it up with the switch cast (a technique in Spey casting).

Lets get it out of the way. - the Switch rod has nothing to do with the switch cast. You can "switch cast" with any fly rod whether it is single hand or double hand rod. Switch cast is just a Spey casting technique. A switch cast is essentially a roll cast done with a dynamic D-loop. You can refer to my earlier post ( ) to understand the difference between the roll cast and the switch cast. The switch cast is also sometimes referred to as the jump roll.

Now back to the Switch rod; the Switch rod is essentially a double hand rod that is between 10 ft to 11+ ft long. You may think of it as a baby Spey rod. The concept of Switch rod is relatively new in the Spey casting scene and evolved out of the need to fish both single handed and double handed  at the same time. The video will explain in better detail. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spey Casting Basics: Climbing Curve

Here are three good instructional videos I found in YouTube showing a casting stroke that is very fundamental to all Spey cast. These three videos should be viewed in succession in order to appreciate the principles behind the stroke.

When I started helping friends with their Spey casting, I noticed that most of them encountered problem performing this transitional stroke to the forward cast. I call this transition stroke the upward spiral (rod tip path) whereas it is referred to as climbing curve in this video. People  sometimes also talk about circle-uprounding up to form the D-loop.

Whatever name you call it, it is undeniably the most important move to master in Spey casting. Many who pick up Spey casting find this move difficult to master initially. Some of the most common problem encountered by new Speyers are:

1) Unable to round-up or spiral-up smoothly
2) Dipping the rod tip too low behind while performing the round-up
3) Paused too long behind before powering forward

FP does a great job here with these three instructional videos emphasizing on the top hand being the pivot, powering with the underhand and how to correctly angle your rod to prevent rod tip dipping behind. Learn this move well and you will be well on your way to better Spey casting.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Speed Poke - A speedier way to Poke

View this at Youtube for better quality

Here is a cast that I rely extensively on when I was fishing in Maldives. The one week plus that I spent in Maldives this year flats fishing Spey style really brushed up all my strokes, especially my cack hand cast. I am really glad I put in enough hours practicing before the trip.

On the surface, this cast looks just like any normal Perry Poke but there are important differences. I call this cast the Speed Poke because all the crucial moves are speed-ed up with the objective of minimizing the sink time of the heavy fly. When Spey casting a heavy fly like the Clouser, the deeper the fly sink during the anchor set-up phase, the harder it is to yank the fly out from the water during forward cast. This will result in a what I would call a stuck anchor situation where the fly would not have enough energy to turn over properly.

When doing the Speed Poke, from the moment the fly lands in the water after the anchor placement move, everything has to move fast to minimize sink time. How I achieve this is by:
      1) starting the forward poke a split second before the fly touch down
      2) starting the rip just as the leading edge of the fly line touches water, before the main bulk of the fly line piles

In contrast, a normal Perry Poke would only start the forward poke motion after the fly touch down and the rip back would only commence after all the fly line has completely piled on the water ahead. These two adjustment to the poke makes this cast effective in handling heavy fast sinking fly.

The speed poke also makes the casting of intermediate sink Skagit head such as Skagit Extreme Intermediate and Ambush Clear Head, a lot more effective. Unlike floating heads that can sit on the water indefinitely, intermediate Skagit heads sinks during the forward pile. This results it more stick and makes it harder to rip and energize the D-loop. The Speed Poke solve this problem by only letting the line touch water momentarily but not long enough to become sticky. The video below emphasis this point more clearly.

Here is another video of the speed poke performed in saltwater flats fishing

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Saltwater Spey Casting - Maldives

Just got back form my 2012 Maldives fishing trip and am very please with my success in using Spey techniques exclusively in the salt. We were doing wade fishing on the flats and ten continuous days of casting can be murder to arms and shoulders but with my double hander, fatigue was minimal to non existent.

Am I glad I took time brushing up on my cack-hand cast before the trip because I ended up doing lots of it with the wind coming from my right shoulder. This foray into saltwater Spey is truly a great experience I learned a lot from it. I will summarize some important lessons below:

1) Due to possibility of strong wind from either shoulder, it is important to learn how to cast well cack handed (if not left handed).
2) Double Spey proves to be surprisingly effective in the salt especially with strong wind coming off shoulder. This is because the off shoulder wind complements the sweep and really helps energize the D-loop.
3) The "Speed Poke", a faster version of the Perry Poke, is a great way to cast with fast sinking  Clousers. It minimizes the sinking of the heavy fly that would have otherwise caused stuck anchor.
4)  The Wiggle Roll Cast (WRC) proved indispensable in surfacing the intermediate line and heavy fly prior to to the poke.The alternative would be to do roll cast twice but the WRC is more elegant IMHO.
5) For thin water and spooky fish, the WRC works like a champ in delivering the fly 60-70 ft with minimal ripping of water.
6) When casting against wind, placing the anchor further back or even slightly to the rear deepens the D-loop and really tightens up the forward loop for good wind penetration.
7) When the wind is from behind, you really need to access whether it is from behind right or behind left and make the adjustment to cast either cack hand or right hand. Otherwise the line is going to wrap you.
8) Sometimes the wind is so strong from the left or right that it can throws your anchor placement off side by a wide margin. In those cases, I resorted to doing multiple wiggle to get the anchor into position and it works well.

I was using my 6wt TFO Deer Creek Switch predominantly with either the 350grain Wulff Ambush line or the 400grain SA Skagit Extreme Intermediate. My preference goes to the Skagit Extreme Intermediate for better wind penetration. On days that I was using the Ambush line with 15ft clear sink tip, I did not notice any drop in catch rate so either line work well in the flats.

I did get a chance to fish one day with the TFO TiCR-X 5wt fitted with the double hand kit. While it cast the 350 grain like a champ, I felt the top section was a bit too soft compared to the butt and did not quite enjoy fighting fish on it. The rod fared better when fitted with the TiCr-X 6wt but it needed the 400grain line to load well. Overall, my preference still goes to the TFO Deer Creek Switch rod for its action and forgiving grain window.

After this experience, I would have no reservation doing salt Spey all over again with a Switch rod. Never once did I feel the need to resort to overhead casting. Distance was easily achieved regardless of back room or cross wind. The only draw back is in thin water when you have to be more selective and sight cast to target instead of blind bombing the water with the thick spey line.

Note: You can access all my blog post on saltwater spey by clicking on the "Saltwater Spey" link located on the right hand side under Labels.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Down Stream Perry Poke

Thanks to my new Nikon AW100, here is a 60fps video on Perry Poke done "wrap style". This style is also known as Downstream Perry Poke but I sometimes simply refer to it as Perry Wrap. The Perry Wrap make use of a horizontal sweep to energize the D-loop, much akin to the sweep stroke of the Double Spey.

Unlike the original style of Perry poke where the rod tip is dumped forward (in the intended cast direction), this style is more relaxing and kind of wrap the line in an arc in front of the caster during the anchor set up. It is good to learn both the forward and wrap style because each style has its own merits. The wrap style is more relaxing and gives the caster more time to adjust his timing whereas the forward style is more compact and the strokes can be accelerated in case we are casting big fast sinking fly like Clouser.