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.