Snake Roll Spey Cast…Help for Beginners

The Snake Roll cast is a very powerful Spey cast and very easy cast to learn.

You just point your rod downstream and let the current straighten out your line.  Now your fly is on the dangle.  Very slowly draw the number 9 or the letter e backward with your rod tip.   VERY SLOWLY.  In fact, make the circle of the backward e pretty big. It will look like a 9 with the top squished down so the round part is shaped like a horizontal tube.

You don’t need your entire line out, to begin with, to make a snake roll cast. Start short to get the idea.

As a matter of fact, try just drawing the nine, big, high and slow. Don’t make a complete snake roll cast yet, just watch where your anchor repositions itself. It should slap down in line with your intended target.

If the line lands on top of you or lands too close it may be because you made too big of a round circle with too short of a line.

Do that drill a few times. All you’re doing is allowing yourself some time to understand how the snake roll cast works. When it starts to make sense you can try slowly drifting up into the firing position and casting forward. Just don’t panic.

Allow yourself to go slow enough that you blow a few casts, but make sure its because you went too slow, and not too fast.

When you get the idea, you can speed up the process.


Lift slow, move the rod tip forward a tad faster, then slightly faster accelerate just a little as you sweep the rod back before drifting up into the forward cast position.

The most important part of the cast to speed up ever so slightly is the very last part of the 9 you draw, but don’t go crazy.

It will be easier for you if you cast directly across the stream or even a tad upstream.

You don’t need a small, fast snake roll to begin with. Keep it slow.

After you gain an understanding of how the cast works you might find it easier to cast the entire head and speed things up, but only as much as it takes to make a nice cast. Feel the rod bend throughout the entire cast. Keep it smooth. The rod should feel heavy throughout the entire cast.

In the above photo I am casting with my left foot forward because I am working my way downstream as I work through the run which is flowing from my left to my right, (river right)  The wind is blowing from my left to my right, therefore a downstream wind.

My preference is to cast with my dominant foot forward, which would be my right foot since I’m casting with my right hand up. 

But since the round river rock is slick, the wading is a little tricky, and the casts don’t need to be super far, I can still make it happen with my non-dominant foot forward. I can still cast while facing the direction I feel the safest while wading through the rocks without having to take too many unwanted steps to reposition myself.

If it were necessary to cast as far as I could possibly could, you can bet I would take the time, and possibly a wading staff, to face the opposite bank with my right foot forward to get the most out of my cast.

2 thoughts on “Snake Roll Spey Cast…Help for Beginners

  1. Tim
    Your YouTube is great and has helped me so much.
    If you feel like adding more, anything explaining how to avoid tailing loops would be appreciated.
    They are my nemesis!
    Also in your practice casting vid done in slow motion I was wondering could I ask what the line weight is and how much running line you leave out of the tip.
    Regards Chris

    1. Thank you, Chris. Tailing loops get me too sometimes. Great idea for a video. I will work on a tailing loop video. I know I can at least provide some examples of how to do one! As for the practice video for Scandi and Underhand is a Rio Scandi Versitip with the 10′ floating tip, (I sometimes use a 15′ floating tip on longer rods.) I sometimes use one to three feet of overhang (more can be used for practice and experimenting) But that Rio Shooting head does have a skinny foot of rear taper built in so you can bring that right outside of the tip top and it casts great! Thanks for the comment and don’t hesitate if you have more questions.

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