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 to people learn to 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 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

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

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 your casting a longer Spey line for the first time.

4) Forward casting stroke utilizing both 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 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. 
  2. 14)  If you are just learning to Single Spey a longer line start your forward cast just before your anchor splashes down.   This will prevent too much line stick.
  3. 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.
  4. 16) Don’t confuse yourself by trying to quantify exactly how much bottom hand verses 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.
  5. 17)   Practice over and over for hours if you can, strive for a light anchor, and powerful D loop.
  6.   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 to far with an insufficient D loop and your trying to make up for that by overpowering your forward cast.
  7. 19)  Push off with your back foot and put your weight into the forward cast.
  8. 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


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

  1. 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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