Skagit Casting for Distance

23 Tips to Improve your Skagit Casting Distance and Power

1)  Squeeze the Rod with your bottom hand and relax your top hand.

This will help you use your bottom hand throughout the cast whether you are casting midrange or Skagit Casting for Distance.

2)  Sweep with your bottom hand as much as possible.

This will prepare you for using the bottom hand during the forward Stroke

3)  Build as big of D loop or V loop as possible.  This means anchor placement must be reasonably close to you.  Utilize a video camera an an extra pair of eyes, even if they are your wife’s. Show her a few videos of good casters. Almost immediately she will be able to say, “That’s not how Ed Ward does it”

4)  Practice Blowing your Anchor. Experience just how crazy you can get so you will understand the parameters of power for the D loop.

5)  Keep your hands in front of you in a little box. Use only your forearms and wrists as much as possible. This will help your rod do the work and not your arms which is not only necessary for line speed but also for effortlessness and efficiency,

6)  Keep your body as firm as an iron Statue. Keep your center of gravity in the middle. You may find it necessary to transfer your weight from one foot to the other or from the balls of your feet to the heel or whatever but don’t go crazy swaying around and lurching into the cast in either direction (backcast of forward cast)

7)  Perform the cast with your forearms, hands and elbows as much as possible. Practice some casts with both elbows pinned to your sides to get the feel of not using your upper arms too much.

8)  Use your bottom hand as much as possible for your forward stroke but also remember to use your top hand.  There is a small window where I’m pulling with both hands, down(and forward with the top) (this is called translation) just before rotating my top hand forward and down, hard, but smoothly as if striking a nail with a hammer. The bottom hand pulls in harmony with the rotation of the top hand, at this point,  up and into the body.

9) Lower the rod tip if casting weighted flies to lessen the chances of hitting your rod tip with big lead eyed bugs.

10)  Soften your hands to steady the rod as the line shoots through the eyelets of the rod

11)  Use Varivas shooting line or some other sweet mono for best shooting results. This is what many tournament Spey casters use. Opst Lazer line, Amnesia, Berkley Big Game #40 also work well and are cheaper,

12) Stretch and inspect your mono running line with gloves, for optimal shooting performance.

13)  You may find it necessary to coil your running line is smaller coils in fishing conditions that wrap the line around your legs, or if you are using shooting line that sinks.

14)  It is absolutely necessary to cast as smoothly and fluidly as possible throughout all phases of the cast paying particular attention not to allow any slack whatsoever during any part of the cast.

15)  The cast must feel as HEAVY as possible throughout the entire cast to develop optimal tension in the D loop, and the forward cast in particular.  If you use too much speed you will lose traction, and develop too much rod noise which will cause fatigue and rob power from the cast.

16)  The top hand is the fulcrum point and it must work against the pull of the bottom hand to create power. The most powerful Skagit casts require both hands working together, which means against one another at the precise moment. It feels like a very small window.

17)  Try to load the part of the rod that is between your bottom and top hand. Accelerate powerfully, smoothly, and fluidly. Do not panic.

18)  Practice as much as possible…

19)  Or better yet, go fishing as often and as much as humanly possible.

20)  For more power spread your hands wider.

21)   For more linespeed, try your hands close together.

22)  Bag the Skagit casting for rediculous flies.  For huge, wind resistant, difficult to cast, heavy flies, I prefer overhead casting with as few back casts as possible.

23)  Watch the above video. It will make more sense that way.

11 thoughts on “23 Tips to Improve your Skagit Casting Distance and Power

  1. voglio comprare un RIO skagit per la mia Sage15 piedi , leggo una infinita´di tipi skagit fra RIO e anche lunghezzr , 6,1 m 7,6 8,3 galleggiante , intermedie 3d . che lunghezza e´consigliabile . grazie

  2. Tim, great list ! I recently was able to get on the river and apply the ” changing of planes” detail that Ed Ward talks about in OPST latest video. I know you study his style of skagit casting and like myself are a fan of how effortless and smooth his casts are, what are your thoughts on the concept of two separate planes ? As always, your contributions through your website, spey pages and correspondence have benefitted me greatly in my skagit journey !!!! Thanks Tim

    1. Thanks Paul, for the comment and for taking the time to post. Yes! I am a huge Ed Ward fan but as of yet I have not had a chance to experiment much because after trying to separate the planes more the way he describes I realized it will take a little more practice to get the feel of it right, possibly because of my tendency to cast a wee bit side-armed and less over the top. I would be interested in hearing the results of your experimenting with the changing of the planes.

    1. Gary! It is an honor to have you comment on my site! I have appreciated your posts on Speypages for some time now and have learned much from your comments and return to them often for reference and to chew on them because they are very detailed and full of great information. I love that: Practice makes permanent. I agree! I appreciate that so much. Thank You!

      1. Tim….Thanks for your comments. I appreciate what you have done in furthering the learning of the intricacies of the two hand cast. You have mentioned that you would like to attend Poppy’s Clearwater spey clave. This year it will be on Saturday Sept. 29 and offers several speakers and demonstrators of merit. If you will attend this year I would really enjoy meeting you and swapping stories and experiences. Let me know if a get together is possible.
        Thanks again for all you’ve done in the enhancement of SpeyPages.

        1. Thanks for the kind words Gary. It would be my pleasure! It would be great to finally get to meet you at the Clave to swap some stories and I would love to pick your brain about Spey Casting and your fishing adventures. I will be in touch.

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