In the above Video, I will share my version of three Skagit casting techniques, including the dreaded Perry Poke, which when performed properly on the Deschutes, has been know to scare Atlantic Salmon as far away as Denmark. Most recently the Perry Poke has been made popular by Ed Ward, the Skagit Casting legend.
Skagit Double Spey. The double spey is a great cast for beginners. If the wind is right. But if you are a right-handed Caster and you are facing the river and it is flowing left to right but the wind is flowing right to left, (upstream) Your much better off casting left handed or cack-handed, unless you want to be smacked by your fly.
For a 6 or 7 weight spey rod lined with a 420 to 500 grain Skagit head, try 10 feet of t8 for a sink tip, a 3 foot long, straight mono leader and an easy casting fly like a Hobo spey. Anchor the fly no closer than a rod length away.
Let it soak for a second, then, with the rod tip fairly high, sweep out and around slowly, circle up and cast in one smooth continuous, relaxed motion.
Remember, it’s not necessary to rush into the forward cast but if you work too slow you may lose tension in your D loop and create slack which is the arch enemy of all spey casters. If the fly and sink tip sink too deep during the sweep you will have to pry it out of the water with excessive force when you cast.
If you are just beginning I can’t stress enough the importance of an easy to cast sink tip and fly set up with the use of a high relaxed high sweep in a cast like a double spey to give you plenty of time to think through the cast.
Also, Each set up will require a different tempo and rhythm, even a slight pause if necessary, particularly if you don’t allow the fly to soak long enough after you set your anchor or if you sweep too aggressively.
Upper Wrist rotation will help alleviate too much upper arm movement and help you to keep your elbows in front of you where they belong. This along with using some bottom hand in the sweep and forward cast will force the rod to do the work, not your muscle!
Spey Casting Technique: Skagit Wrap Cast.
A wrap cast is almost a combo of a poke and a Skagit double spey, an out and around sweep is mandatory. Don’t set your anchor too close or you may end up embedding a jumbo critter in your skull.
For Perry Poke type casts I like to start with the fly well in front (and slightly off to the side) especially when I’m backed up against the brush. I pitch the belly of the line way out there, like a big arrow pointing towards the target.
When I actually cast the fly I want that fly to pop out of the water next to me or in front of me so I can utilize that nice big D loop.
I sweep to the side to begin the peel as soon as possible but with a little less out and around action and a little more back and forth movement with a tidy u-turn from sweep to forward cast in a rhythmic, more or less continuous motion. This cast is a little more advanced but not very difficult. It’s powerful. When you hit the sweet spot it’s effortless, produces high Skagit line speeds, turns over payloads adequate enough for catching Steelhead in the PNW and scaring Atlantic Salmon all the way over in Denmark.