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.


  1. I really admire your timing. For those of you who have not tried this, casting large flies with 300 - 350 grains can be done quite well with the Sage One 4 wt, but your timing must be close to perfect, in my view. Our blog Host has perfected the art of small rod spey casting with improvisation of casting techniques to show just what is possible, but not easy for the amateurs like myself... with some significant degree of admiration,,,, and envy...

    1. Thanks Michael for your kind words. Just need to practice and practice :) Hope my slow motion video will help speed up learning. I started this blog because I realized that video is a great tool in learning Spey casting....especially if you can slow it down to analyze. That is how I learn my Spey casting.

  2. Do you suggest a switch rod designed for saltwater use, with larger stripping guides and an uplocking reel seat? This way, you could use the same rod in the surf and overhead cast if need be. Have you come across any switch rods that are effective for both types of casts or do they all work equally well?

    1. Hi Jay, I started my double hand in saltwater using overhead cast. However I did not need to do that anymore once I mastered my Skagit Spey. I find it more fun and versatile.

      Having said that, I did come across some Switch rods that spey cast and overhead cast equally well. The one I wound highly recommend is the Sage Method. I have tried this rod and it is good for both type of casting. On the lower budget scale is the TFO TiCRX with double hand conversion kit. You can look up my review on this rod in this blog < >.

      The other rod that is designed for both overhead and spey cast is the TFO Pandion. I have not cast in personally but Nick Curcione apparently designed for that purpose.But note that Pandiion is not Switch rod length...its 12' - 13' ft long.