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.

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