Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spey casting in Saltwater

In a month's time, I will be heading to Maldives again. Maldives has become my annual pilgrimage destination for saltwater fly fishing. Last year I started  using Switch rod / Spey technique exclusively in saltwater with excellent result and this year I plan to do more of the same. Coming with me this year will be my new Sage ONE 4 wt Switch rod. Although a 4 wt may seem a little light for saltwater but the power level of Sage ONE is impressive. After proving itself on big freshwater catfish and carp in Thailand, I have no doubt the Sage ONE 4116 will perform well in Maldives. This rod will be loads of fun on Bonefish.

For those who have interest in venturing into saltwater Spey, here are some advice/guideline:
  1. Get yourself a good Switch rod. Any Switch rod that cast well with 350 grain to 400 grain Skagit line is ideal in my opinion. 400 grain will handle the wind much better. Typically a 6wt Switch rod will handle this grain window well.
  2. Get yourself a good Skagit line. My preference goes to Wulff Ambush clear intermediate line (350 grain - 400 grain). You can also opt for the floating Ambush line paired with with 15ft clear intermediate versileader/sinktip. A full intermediate Ambush line will however be more versatile in covering various depth.
  3. Stripping basket - this is a must for saltwater flats fishing as the waves/rocks/corals will wreak havoc on your fly line. The Orvis stripping basket is a favorite or you can DIY but make sure there are enough cones or "fingers" protruding upwards to prevent tangling.
  4. Learn to do the Speed poke. Of all the Spey technique, this is the one I find most effective in handling big heavy Clousers. Dumbell Clousers tend to sink fast and cause "stuck anchor" if not manage properly. The Speed Poke gives little time for the Clouser to sink thereby enhancing the effectiveness of the cast. Speed poke is also a godsend for intermediate sink line for the same reason.
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.

I have recently updated my video to show the Speed Poke in slow motion as I have included in this post.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tongariro Roll Cast Revisited

Here is a much better video I found recently on the Tongariro roll cast. The Tongariro roll cast appears to have developed independently of the the Perry Poke but they are functionally the same.  It was developed in the Hydro pool of the New Zealand Tongariro river to effectively deliver heavy nymphs/bombs a good distance with little back cast room. For those who are interested, I found a detail write up of this cast here.

In still water spey casting, I face a similar challenge when trying to cast big water-pushing bait-fish flies with small switch rod set up. These flies tend to stick to the water like glue when you let it get a chance to sit too long in the water. Drawing from the inspiration of the Tongariro roll cast, Perry Poke and the Snap-T, I came up with a cast that I named Snap Poke. By combining the Snap-T with the Poke in one movement, the fly essentially never get a chance to sink much before it gets fired off. This way, I managed to cast pretty big flies with light 4/5 weight switch rod. I recently remade my Snap Poke video in slow motion and posted on Youtube as below.  Snap Poke is good choice when using floating Skagit head. For intermediate sink Skagit head, Speed Poke will be a better choice.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Selecting fly lines for Switch rod

Here is a good introductory video on how to select the right fly line for your Switch rod. A Switch rod can be used for either overhead casting or Spey casting. If you want to know more about Switch rod, please refer to my earlier post on Why Switch Rod .

To supplement this video, I am including a more comprehensive guideline below:

Lines suitable for Skagit Spey casting with Switch rod:
1) Wulff Ambush line - wonderful line that cast easy even with minimal D-loop. Available also in intermediate sink as Ambush Clear Head or the slower suspend sink Ambush Neutralizer.
2) RIO Skagit Short - good for turning over very big fly or very heavy sink tip but clunky
3) RIO Skagit Flight - a more refined version of the skagit short. Available in intermediate sink as Skagit iFlight.
4) SA Skagit Extreme - SA version of the Skagit Short but with a more refined front taper but still plenty powerful. Available also in intermediate sink.
5) Airflo Skagit Compact - a favourite of many skagit caster in the early days
6) Airflo Skagit Switch - a shorter version than Skagit Compact more in tune with Switch rod

Lines suitable for Scandi Spey casting with Switch rod:
1) Wulff Ambush line - make sure you match it with a 15ft floating or clear Versileader before attempting Scandi casting with this line or it will prove too short
3) RIO Scandi Short - this line was designed after AFS to cater to shorter Switch rod
4) RIO Switch line - this line has long back taper suitable for mending but not so good for shooting line
5) RIO Steelhead Scandi - designed for rods 13 ft or less. Long 22ft front taper design supposed give better presentation.
6) SA Scandi Extreme - a very long front taper scandi line.
7) Airflo Scandi Compact

Lines suitable for double hand overhead casting with Switch rod:
1) RIO Outbound short - 30ft head. Comes in floating and intermediate sink; tropical or cold water formulation.
2) AIRFLO Forty Plus - 35ft head. Comes in floating and multiple sink version.
3) Wulff Ambush line - This line is so versatile that it can shoot with the best of them. Just match it with a 10ft versileader to form a 30ft head and shoot away.

Lines suitable for indicator nymphing with Switch rod:
1) RIO Switch line - the long back taper ensures easy mending
2) AIRFLO Speydicator - with 12- 15 ft rear taper for good mending.
3) Wulff Ambush line - This line works great for indicator nymphing as well. It will turn over heavy flies easily even in tight quarter.