Single Spey Cast: Four Parts, Six Simple Steps, Twenty crucial tips for casting Spey lines.

  How to single Spey cast video: Instructional, tutorial, but not exactly legendary.

I made this to help people learn to spey cast something longer than a compact Scandi, or Skagit shooting head.


Really this will cover the bases for all spey lines but I know it will help you if you’re moving up from a short Scandi or Skagit shooting head to spey cast something like a Delta Spey ll line or Beulah Aerohead, Rio Intouch Long Head, Ballistic Vector Spey Or Galeforce Equalizer 70

A) Point your dominant toe towards your target. (Across the River)

B)  Twist the rest of your body from the ankles up so you are facing downstream.

C)  Lift slow and smooth.

The lift for the single spey cast is slow and smooth
Lift is slow and smooth

D) With a little push of the bottom hand at first, Sweep by untwisting your body with your elbows stationary in front of you.

Single Spey Cast needs incline sweep
The sweep in a single spey cast travels in an inclined path

E)  Drift High.


F)  Don’t forget to pull with your bottom hand on the forward stroke.


Watch the video below of Greg B.  You will see a definite…

1) lift

2)Sweep -notice its done by rotating the body, his hands barely move.

3) drift- both hands high…really important to remember if you’re casting a longer Spey line for the first time.

4) Forward casting stroke utilizing both the bottom and top hand.  Push off with your back foot, leaning into the cast.


Below:  Notice how Sakke Siipilehto Sweeps by holding his hands still and rotating his body.


Here is the long version of a simple though detailed recipe for a single spey cast.

1)  Point your toes in the direction of your target. Right hand up, right leg forward although some great casters switch legs, which I will do If I fear I might trip over a bowling ball sized boulder if the wading is tricky.

2)  With toes pointed towards the target twist your body so everything but your feet are facing downstream, to where your fly hangs on the dangle.

3)  With your rod low ( it’s ok if it touches the water) and your line tight, begin your lift.  From this point on in the cast, strive to eliminate slack throughout the entire casting procedure. Therefore your movements need to be fluid and smooth, particularly when you are in transition between the four parts of the  Spey cast: Lift, sweep, drift, forward cast.

4)  Use a shotgun lift, meaning both hands lift the rod, of course, the right hand up cast requires the right hand to lift higher than the left or bottom hand.  

Your right palm will be facing up and make the movement of a barbell biceps curl, your left palm faces down and simultaneously makes the movements of a reverse biceps curl. Remember that the lift is done with the rod across the body somewhat, and not pointed straight downstream.

5)  Lift slowly and smoothly and do not allow slack.Begin your sweep before your fly leaves the water but not too early or you will overload your rod.

6)  The sweep is done with mostly with your body.  Since you began the cast with a shotgun lift your bottom hand is in a position to push out a short distance at the beginning of the sweep as the fly is leaving the water.  This straightens out your arm a bit in preparation for the forward stroke. For all practical purposes, the Sweep is done by untwisting your body.


  • The Sweep is done by untwisting your body.

7)  Throughout the sweep, your hands are basically locked in position and remain still and quiet.

8)  For optimal performance keep your elbows in front of your body.

9)  Yes, you did straighten out your left arm a bit at the beginning of the sweep but that’s it.  If you want a consistent anchor and a big powerful V loop, The sweep is done with the body.

10)  Do not allow slack.  Strive to feel the heaviness in the rod created through tension with and in the line. Slack is your enemy

11)  Since we started with the shotgun lift which causes the rod tip to remain higher than the butt section throughout the entire sweep through the locking of our arms we have created a straight rot tip path from low to high, therefore the bottom leg of our V loop has been created, which is optimal. 

12)Do not fully bend your rod in the sweep until are sweeping past your target.

  1. 13)  The drift, Is done by lifting and positioning both hands into the firing positions after the sweep, basically the circling up of the rod into the key position.  The hands are lifted high to keep the D loop off the water and create the proper position for the forward Cast. The longer the line the higher the lift.
  3. 14)  If you are just learning to Single Spey cast a longer line start your forward cast just before your anchor splashes down.   This will prevent too much line stick.

15)  Always remember a fluid pulling of the bottom hand during the forward cast.  The forward cast is accomplished by using both hands, not just the bottom nor the top.  Continually remind yourself to pull with the bottom hand until it’s ingrained in your psyche.

16) Don’t confuse yourself by trying to quantify exactly how much bottom hand versus top hand you are supposed to be using.  There is a small window in during a long cast when I feel like I’m using 100% bottom hand and 100% top hand in a fluid, smooth accelerated forward cast.

  1. 17)   Practice over and over for hours if you can, strive for a light anchor, and powerful D loop.


  18)  If you are throwing tailing loops you are probably trying to cast too far or you have executed your sweep improperly.  Most likely you are trying to cast too far with an insufficient D loop and you’re trying to make up for that by overpowering your forward cast.

19)  Push off with your back foot and put your weight into the forward cast.

  1. 20) You can have a high hard stop like Sakke or a lower softer stop like Travis or Gerard.  Have an open mind and Study the youtube videos of Travis Johnson, Gerard Downey, Kruk, Zack Williams, and Brian Styskal   Janusz Panicz

Single Spey Cast Perfection!

8 thoughts on “Single Spey Cast: Four Parts, Six Simple Steps, Twenty crucial tips for casting Spey lines.

  1. Tim….I have followed your progression in learning spey casting for the past few years and congratulate you on your advancement in the understanding and technical abilities of the basic substance of the cast. The time and effort that you have given to assist others in their understanding of the cast is very commendable and worthwhile.
    Your post of advanced skagit casting for beginners on New Years was nicely done and helpful for anyone learning the basics. I have found that in my years of spey casting, especially using the long line, that I’ve adapted a overall cast which covers my fishing needs including using the skagit line. There is nothing finer than the single spey cast with a skagit line which eliminates the extra physical moves of the standard skagit technique. This is just an example of what is possible with continued PRACTICE and devotion such as you have shared with the two hand casting group.
    Thanks for the energy which you have given in teaching the two hand technique.

    1. Thank You, Gary, very much! Great comment, well thought out and I truly appreciate it. I agree the single spey with a Skagit head is very productive. I discovered that I can actually single spey and switch cast very heavy flies with Skagit lines better than I can sometimes Skagit cast them.

      To me its all about fun. Sometimes the Skagit casts just feel right, I enjoy it, especially the perry poke. I know, sometimes others feel like it’s not the most efficient cast, but I prefer it over the much-used circle C cast, plus, I don’t have to unwind my running line. It’s just what I enjoy, bringing the fly under instead of over. Can’t really explain it but that’s how I roll. Anyway, Gary, Thanks so much for your comments and encouragement, I agree, it is truly about practice and devotion. There is no way to improve outside of practice. Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. Tip # 17 should be in CAPS–practice, practice, practice. String up a dedicated rod, line, and leader and don’t pick up anything else until you succeed with that set-up at the single spey cast, or at least the part of it you’re working on. Figure out for your own style how each minor change in position and movement influences the behavior of the line. Don’t expect to “get it down” in one or two sessions. The “experts” practice many hundreds of hours each year.

    Nice tutorial, by the way. Takes a lot of work to make those…

    1. Great to hear from you Greg! Great advice for anyone wanting to improve any cast. Practice, practice, practice with a dedicated rod,line, and leader. A guy could build an entire article and video around that comment. As well as playing with position and movement as it relates to line behavior. Thanks for the input. Excellent.

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