Beginner Skagit and Spey Casting tips, tips, and Basics
My Buddy Mike and I returned to one of our favorite rivers last weekend. A few years ago at this time of year we did alright on a different stretch of river, each landing a nice Steelhead.
Catching Steelhead has a nice way of taking the pain out of the frozen blocks of ice that our feet became after a morning of wading in the liquid ice of the desert.
We did not touch a fish this time. Numbers were down. To catch a fish required being in the right place at the right time which we weren’t. I haven’t been in the right place at the right time in a long time. But this time I came away with something that always makes me happy. A sweet video for beginning and confused Skagit and Spey Casters.
Mike had his iphone 10 which has amazing video capabilities. He insisted we use it. I jumped at the chance. I neglected to tell him about the half a dozen smart phones I have destroyed in very recent history, many of with the help of water.
Conditions were perfect with a dark cliff side as a backdrop situated at just the perfect angle to be shaded from the sun, yet the caster and the line would be in direct sunshine much of the time. That’s why I picked the spot. There might not have been a fresh fish within miles although the tail-out looked promising. I love tailouts.
We fished a couple sweet runs upstream then walked back downstream to the soft pool that flowed by the base of the shaded cliff which was opposite the nice beach we would cast from.
The sun came out which made me happy because it would warm things up and make the line glow in the video.
The video is meant to simplify the explanation of how to Skagit Cast, or how to cast Skagit lines because I throw in a single spey or three in the video. The single spey and the switch cast are both powerful casts for casting heavy Skagit rigs but the single Spey in particular is a little difficult to time.
The main point I wanted to make with the video was that whether or not you prefer a D loop using out and around continuous motion or a V loop using an incline sweep, before drifting up to keep the bottom of the V loop from sticking to the water before the forward cast, a light, precise, perfect anchor is one of the most important and often overlooked pieces of the casting puzzle.
Other important parts of the cast emphasized in the video are:
Keeping the arms quiet and using the hands and forearms to make the cast. I do this by pinning my elbow to my ribcage which forces me to use the bottom hand for the sweep. It allows the forearm of the top arm to do whatever it wants as far as sweeping outside the rib cage (which isn’t much) and the wrist to swivel as much as it needs.
This keeps the hands close together, the upper arms reasonably quiet and forces the rod to do the work.
Peeling the line off of the water fast enough to keep from just dragging it through the water, but not too fast. It should provide the requisite load on the rod to allow the caster to easily sweep and circle up to form the D loop without undue effort before the forward cast.
Most of the time once the peel has started no acceleration is needed. I only do that just a little bit, or in extreme cases where I’m doing everything possible to cast a big nasty bug that is probably too big for the gear I’m using.
Timing the forward cast without rushing so the anchor will not blow or slip it but without going too slow or pausing so long that the anchor sticks requiring too much muscle in the forward cast.
Using bottom hand in the forward cast. It helps that we pinned our upper hand elbow to our rib and used our bottom hand to sweep. Our bottom arm is extended now, ready to pull for the forward stroke. The top hand is naturally pretty good at casting. It’s in a good position in front of the body for the forward stroke.
Don’t panic at the beginning of the sweep or at the beginning of the forward stroke. These are two times throughout the entire cast where smoothness is essential. Especially the forward cast.
We use Smooth acceleration with no real power until the butt section of the rod is verticle. That’s about the time we try to bend the portion of the rod that’s between our two hands until we stop the rod at the end of that smooth, powerful acceleration.
By the way, I’m excited about Mikes casting. I see improvement every time we go out on the river. It’s great to have him as my personal guide, fishing and casting buddy and cameraman! Thanks for sharing your iPhone 10, it takes amazing videos.
By the way, we fished the tail-out and came away skunked. Except for the video.