10 Things You must know before you start Skagit or Spey Casting

Here is a list of newby Skagit casting basics to get you started on your Spey Casting journey

1) (Besides backing and running line) you only need your Skagit head, a sink tip, and 3 feet of straight mono leader. Oh, and a fly.

2) Once you have attached the above set up you do NOT need to add any of the following. A polyleader, a versileader, a tapered leader, a cheater.

3) You have a skinny line, which is called either a running line or a shooting line that is attached to your Skagit head which is a fat line. Keep Skagit head close to the end of your rod tip to start with or even slide it inside the guides a few feet.

If this is all completely foreign to you start with half or even less of the Skagit line outside the tip-top guide. 10 feet of Skagit head + 10′ of sink tip + 3 feet of mono attached to a moderate sized fly (think Hobo Spey) will give you 23 feet of line outside your rod tip.

4) Safety Glasses are seriously a great idea or at least wear skookum sunglasses.

5) If you feel the wind on the right side of your face cast on the left side of your body. If you feel the wind on the left side of your face, cast from your right side.

6) With your short setup start with a roll cast.

7) There are two parts to every Change of direction Spey cast: The setup and the dynamic roll cast.

8) The double Spey cast is a great starter cast, provided you don’t try it in a situation where the wind will blow your D loop onto your body. See #5)

9) A Circle C or Snap T is fine to start with if the wind is wrong for a double Spey. With only 23 feet of line out it should be very easy to plop the fly down in a position where you can then roll cast it.

10) Feel the wind, Think set up….Then, roll cast. Gradually build your distance from there.

11) Watch the Above video, Play with the D loop drill. Gradually get used to the two-handed rod, The D loop, the setup and the roll cast.

12) Give yourself time to understand the basics of Spey casting with the shortened line and one day soon with some thoughtful practice you will be “bombing casts”.

13) Watch the video below of Will Turek doing a Spey casting demo. Will is an excellent teacher and gives a thorough and concise description that will help you understand Spey casting. He shares some excellent tips.

2 thoughts on “10 Things You must know before you start Skagit or Spey Casting

  1. Hey Tim, first off, thanks for all the great content. For me personally, your website and videos are & continue to be one of my best teaching aids in my two hand – skagit journey. A problem that I have is during the “turnover” sequence. I have been told at times that my rod tip is coming to far back before the forward cast thus creating slack and a collapsing D loop. Do you have any tips to help with this problem ?I have read the “poke the rod tip in the sky” but since the elbows are tight to the body, would a slight raise of the elbows be suffice ? I’m talking if like 2 – 4 inches is suffice. As well, how would you describe the motion or action that takes place with your wrist, hand and forearm when you transition from the plane of the sweep to the plane of the forward cast. I’ve read descriptions from Ed Ward and Tom Larimer and even yourself. For whatever reason I have a hard time visualizing the, ” writing the letter U with the rod tip ” analogy. For the record I use a 11’5″ two hand rod with a 20′ skagit head. Any input is appreciated Thanks !!

    1. Hey Paul, I’m very happy you took the time to log in and pose a great question. As far as poking a hole in the sky, I think that is your best bet for breaking the habit of laying the rod too far back. Once you have the concept down and make some successful casts you can change it up but for now, I say go ahead and drift up a bit by letting your elbow come up and poke that rod tip into the sky.

      Another thing that might help is to watch the D loop Drill in This Troubled Caster Video Force yourself to make short casts with 3/4 of the head out the end of your rod tip while doing the D loop drill and watch the D loop for and make the forward cast when the D loop looks ready. I’m sure you are further along in your casting than this but a drill like this will help you to realize that it’s not complicated.

      Another thing that might help is to think of the sweep to the forward cast transition as less like a U turn and more like a sideways D. So the sweep is like a half circle and when the sweep ends, you cast straight forward. This isn’t exactly what happens in a true cast but If you visualize it differently it might help the light go on for you.
      Here is another idea: Practice with just the butt section, in the mirror if it will help you see the position of the rod and your hands to better understand what is going on. Sweep to the 4:00 position. So if your nose is pointing at 12:00 the end of the butt section is pointing at 4:00. Now, go directly into the Key position, which is basically the forward casting position. That’s all that has to happen. It’s basically a circle up. (or can be called a drift) The top wrist swivels, the rod rotates in basically less than a quarter of a circle and travels up because the bottom and pushes down and away at the same time.

      Try pinning your top elbow against your ribcage and gripping your upper hand tightly around the top cork. If you rotate your top wrist all the way around from the sweep to the forward cast position with your top hand gripped on the cork that will kind of give you a visual as to how the rod moves in a circle up. Its pretty hard to cast that way but with just the butt section in hand it may give you a pretty good idea. It’s not complicated.
      When your actually casting Take lots of time, think your way through the cast, watch the D loop. I suggest a high slow sweep to give yourself plenty of time to think, watch, and cast. Good luck and let us know if this makes any sense whatsoever or is helpful in anyway and thank you for asking!!!!

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