The Art of Spey Casting - Pt.III

Spey casting: Different ways of changing direction

IMG_8195.jpgIn the two previous articles about spey casting I have discussed the fact that the rod tip has full power over the poor fly line and that drawing sleds with the same rod tip during the D-loop cast is the key to success.

So far, though, I have focused on the switch cast where there are no directional changes (except for the fact that the D-loop cast goes backwards and the forward cast does the opposite, of course). Now it’s time to move closer to reality and when using Scandinavian style shooting heads, single spey casting is the preferred style.

Single spey

I see no reason to complicate things more than necessary. The differences between a switch cast and a single spey cast are actually marginal, but even marginal differences can be difficult to understand and execute.

There are three major phases of a switch cast: The lift, the sled (the D-loop) and the forward cast. The sled and the forward cast are executed along the same straight line. If we want to change direction, here is my way of explaining things:

The straight and horizontal line, just after “the lift”, which I have named “the transport”, is the key element to a single spey cast. In other words, there is an extra fourth phase to the single spey cast: The lift, the transport phase, the sled (the D-loop cast) and the forward cast. The dotted line represents the direction of the forward cast and the sled (D-loop).

All you have to do after the lift, is to carefully move the rod until it points in the direction of the forward cast (the dotted line), and make sure that this transport phase is executed without overt acceleration: You have plenty of time!!

Here are the essentials of a single spey cast:

 - The current has transported the line so that it points down stream

 - Point your feet and body in the direction of the forward cast (the dotted line)

 - Let your arms and the rod point in the direction of the line

 - Lift the rod tip slowly (no acceleration) and vertically, to allow some of the line to get clear of the water

 - Move your arms and the rod horizontally until the rod tip points in the direction of the forward cast – the same direction your feet and body points in. No overt accelerations.

 - Remember the smooth transition between the transport phase and the upcoming sled (D-loop).

- Let your body start the sled (drawing the straight line of the sled) by moving your center of gravity from your front leg towards your rear leg, while the arms and the rod enjoy the ride. Remember that THIS is an accelerated phase, but be aware that the line will not need much persuasion to travel the short way that is needed for a good D-loop cast.

- To get “around the corner” (the corner representing the angle difference between the lines initial position and the direction of the forward cast) as effectively as possible, a “salsa-like” hip rotation is advisable. As you move your center of gravity backwards, just rotate your right hip (if the right hand is the upper hand on your rod) backwards and around, before activating your arms.

 - Let your arms execute the soft curve upwards and backwards. This curve concludes the D-loop part of the sled.

Skrmbillede_2016-02-15_kl._09.54.20.pngAs the line travels through the air towards you, it’s time to prepare for the forward cast. Instead of repeating myself, I will just refer to the former article about spey casting – “Spey Casting Pecking Order” – that you will also find on this web page. Here you will find more details about the lift, the sled and the forward cast.

As already mentioned, most of the difference between a switch cast and a single spey cast could be explained by the extra fourth phase: The Transport Phase. In addition, the initial body position should be pointed towards the direction of the upcoming forward cast. Also remember that a well-timed hip rotation will ease the directional change “around the corner”.

I’m not implying that all of you should copy “my way” of spey casting, but if you feel that your single spey casting needs improvement, at least you have some suggestions about how to change for the better.

Good luck and tight lines!

Mathias Lilleheim

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