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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning to learn how to spey cast and was wondering if I should try to learn on my own through instructional videos and trial and error, or is it worth while to get an instructor to start me off. The rivers I fish aren't huge and I don't need to cast 80' to effectively fish runs. I have a 8 weight sage z-axis switch with no line as of yet. Any advice would be helpful.
Ignore the typo in the title.
 

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I'd watch some youtube videos and then try the casts with your single handed rod (assuming you have one). I really like spey casts with a 5wt for cutties in small streams where a 50ft cast is all you need. Seems to be basically a mini version of steelhead style swinging.

Here are some links to get you going:

http://www.midcurrent.com/video/clips/putnam_singlespey.aspx

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1xe3De3tcU&feature=related

http://www.letsflyfish.com/spey1.htm

One thing that can help you with single handed spey casts is over-lining your rod by a size or two. For example, try an 8 wt line on a 5wt rod, or even a 6wt line on a 5wt rod and slow your casting down.

I'd recommend getting a lesson at some point though.
 

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I would highly recommend a lesson or 2 if you can swing it as that will help shorten the learning curve quite a bit. It will also help you troubleshoot your casting problems on your own as you continue to learn and practice. good luck, don't give up 'cause it's alot of fun and when in doubt- SLOW DOWN!
BRIAN
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info guys. I'll most likely look into lessons of some sort, but I'll probably give it a go on my own first. Either way should be fun to start learning something new.
 

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Hi Tieflier,
Watching DVD's is a good start and there are some useful stuff on U tube, but a days instruction either in a group or one to one is the way to go, hopefully i will be doing a couple of in the classes later this month on the Vedder (just waiting to hear from a store) if you want to join in i will let you know the dates as soon as i hear from the store.
Cheers Gordon.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Gordon, I'll have to check that out. I've seen alot of the You-tube videos on spey casting and they are pretty encouraging as most of the casters make it look easy.
 

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I started recently myself and chose scandi lines to learn on and the Rio DVD set to guide me. It seemed most important to learn the casting stroke first before moving on to the various kinds of setups for the casts so I watched the DVD segments on the roll cast, the single spey and the double spey whenever required and left the tricky bits for later when I got the casting down pat. I go out every night and lawn cast for ten minutes to an hour and have done so for several months. Took a while to get over the hump and learn the rudiments, but I did and now I'm on to refinements and distance. Because of all the practice casting, I no longer need to think through each step of the cast, I've developed a good feel for the load on the rod and I've learned to let the rod make the cast.

There simply is no substitute for getting out and doing it, and it isn't that tough to learn if you break it down into manageable pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I took your advice and went out and casted today. I don't have a spey line on hand so i just used a WF 9 wt on my 8 wt z-axis switch. Its a little under lined, but I manged to pull a couple of nice casts in the 40-50 ft range using messy snap Ts, single speys and double speys. I think a heavier line wold help me get more distance but I don't want to go out and start buying lines just yet. I had fun which I think is the best part and I pulled in two 3-4 pound rainbows as an unexpected bonus.
 

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Something that you can do to help simulate the friction/resistance of the water which helps load the rod when doing practice casting on the lawn -- build yourself a "grass-catcher leader". I read this some place and it makes sense. I found that doing spey casts on grass does not have the same feel as water since the water is somewhat adhesive and adds friction/resistance which can help or hinder your cast.

To build a grass-catcher leader simple take some mono that you would use for your leader, say 12lb or what ever you have. Do a barrel knot or blood knot every foot and leave longish tags sticking out each side of the knot. These will catch the grass and give you a similar feel to what the water will do to your line. If you make about a 10 foot leader that should do. You can fine tune it to what feels right by adjusting the total length and the length of the tag ends of each knot, but I'd leave the tags around 1/2 inch to start.

Other good things to do for just getting the feel is to make spirals with the line after making a cast that lays out well. Kinda like starting a snake roll, but then just keep spiraling the line. Obviously let the line crash or flick it someplace if it gets too dangerous. Get used to doing two loops in either direction and see if you can land your leader withing a rods length of yourself like setting up for a snake roll. Another fun thing to do is try a snap-t towards yourself and try to catch the leader with your hand. It's a snappy way to check your fly too when you are on the river and dont want to strip in all your line.

Tieflier - if you have a way underlined rod, you can also try overhead casts. It's a good way to get a feel for the flex and loading of the rod. Perhaps your local fly shop might let you demo a line or two before you buy a line - or perhaps someone here on the forum might loan you a line for a few months.

If it were me, I wouldn't hesitate at getting a scandinavian head line. Depending on the taper, it should be able to do all the dry fly fishing you want, plus you can add a poly tip or some T-14 or what ever to do your deeper work. Another consideration is getting a set-up that allows you to save some costs - buy a running line and then you can loop on any kind of head/line you want. It's most likely that you will not be using a long-belly line anytime soon, and will most likely be using a skagit or scandi head line, both of which suit the running line + head system. Plus, heads usually run between 40 and 80 bucks, about half of what a full line costs. Running line might get as high as 50 bucks, but when you do the math, you could get a running line + three different style heads for much less than three lines and you would have 99% of your fishing situations covered.

Any way, keep practicing - I gotta get my two hander on the water more...but I just love the spey casts with a single hander!

If you haven't seen this guy yet, get ready for some awesome single handed spey casts on a 9ft 5wt:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0ZJhum4_Q4&feature=fvsr
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QhDavr24xA
 

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I would recommend starting off with a lesson or two. If even for a half day, the instructor will let you know what you are doing right, and what you are doing wrong. For instance, one thing that you should consider is the type of line you will be using on your spey rod. If you get a scandi line, that will be touch and go casting, versus skagit which will be water borne anchor casts. Each is different and has its place depending on the fishing you will be doing. So my advice would be to decide on the type of fishing you will be doing with the spey rod, get the proper line with right grain weight, and invest in a few hours of lessons. Over the long haul it will be worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm pretty much set on skagit casting as I will be chasing salmon and steelhead most often. Meaning I will be using heavy sink tips and weighted flies. Seems like the consensus points towards a few lessons and practice practice practice. Thanks again for all you advice!

btree - Thanks for the links, I've seen this guy before and hes pretty good to put it mildly! Gives you a goal to shoot towards eh? Thanks for reminding me of the video.
 

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I have been teaching myself how to cast a spey. so far im on my second season with it. First season i used a 14' rod with an Airflo Delta line (55' belly) this i can cast really well and was a great line to learn with. This year however i got a switch rod and went with an Airflo compact skagit line, this was a little more taxing to learn and remembering to slow it all down. I still cant seem to make a double spey work perfect but it sure perry pokes like a dream :) I have sold the longer setup already because i love this one to much. Its not to much to teach yourself with some videos and lots of practice on the water.


Once you learn to cast a skagit line it can do distances pretty easily. I dont really bother with holding loops i just double the line in my bottom hand and drop it as the line is shooting. Tried the loops thing but they seem to mess me up for some reason.

Here is a shot of me launching a decent cast on the Vedder a couple weeks back. The rod is a Beulah 11' Surf that im using a 540 grain compact on with Guideline running line.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nice shot! It sounds like you're playing with a similar tool as me. What weight is your Beulah switch?
 

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its the 7/8wt Surf rod that i have just turned into a switch. We played around with many grain weights before settling on the 540, it was fun feeling the different ways the rod would load.

Where do you normally head out to fish or practice casting ?? perhaps we could meet up and i can help with my limited knowledge. What setup are you tossing ?


Thank you for the kind words about the shot but i need to give credit to my friend Jenna that took the pic. We took a bunch of shots of each other casting that day, its alot harder to take pics when you cant see the line in the camera viewing window !!!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm finding myself usually heading the Squamish system to fish more and more. I also will trek to the vedder if the conditions are right. I'll also fish the Capilano and seymour rivers as they are close by to me. That would be awesome if we could meet up somewhere.
 

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Do the Cap and the Seymour have any fish worth chasing any more? I know the Cap gets some salmon in the summer and fall but...
I know these rivers are quite sensitive - I'm not fish for secret spots - I just used to visit the grand parents in North Van every summer as a kid and check out the Cap regularly, but never caught any fish. Loved seeing the salmon in the fish ladder at the hatchery though!
My grandmother's neighbour has told me stories from back in the 70's and 80's when he used to get the odd steelhead out of the Cap, but he doesnt even bother any more.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The Cap was excellent for steelhead this year (hearing reports of 4-5 fish days). The river is hard to fish on the fly as much of it is canyon, most people fish with gear. But those kind of numbers from a smaller river is quite encouraging. The early run of coho is just starting up now as the water level begins to rise. Its not worth hitting with fly rod until the water drops a fair ways, but you can still catch fish in surprisingly bad conditions just need to know where to look. I haven't fished the fall salmon runs too much but I had a couple good days last year. The Seymour is a much nicer river to fish as its a lot longer and easily walkable. The river holds a decent number of winter run steelhead and a handful of summer runs. I've yet to hook a summer run, might try that this year depending on what else it going on. The salmon runs are modest in the Seymour, lots of chum the odd Chinook and decent numbers of coho. They are small rivers and places to stand can fill up quick (most runs are less than 60ft) and four guys can be a real crowd in some spots. The Cap receives a lot more fishing pressure than the Seymour which is nice. I wouldn't say they would be ideal places to go when the steelhead or salmon are running but if the they are close by and you have some free time they're definitely an option.
 
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