The Difference Between Scandi and Underhand Styles of Casting

Janusz Panicz. My mentor in all things Scandi

What is the difference between Scandi and Underhand Casting?

First, I would like to thank Llandogo who had this to say about my Underhand casting Goran Anderson style Video:

I have used the underhand style of casting for many years and your interpretation is excellent. I would like to make a few comments though.
The video above explains the differences between Underhand casting (sometimes called Scandi) and Skagit casting.   Modern Scandinavian style encompases both types of casting with the ability to also cast somewhat longer lines. 

Janusz Panicz Aka Cloner, the great European Scandi caster,  offered the following:

The way I see things is that there are three major styles of casting a double-handed rod with the use of an anchor (non-overhead casting).

I deliberately refrain from using the term spey casting as some purists would say underhand casting is not spey casting. The three styles are:

1. Underhand casting (originated by Göran Andersson).
– shorter/fast-action rods
– short heads
– short casting stroke
– long leaders
– use of bottom hand alone to sweep and to propel the line into the forward cast
– maintaining high rod tip position from the lift into the forward cast
– slow and relaxed hand movements from the lift into the firing position
– short distance between top and bottom hands on the grip
– high line speed
– airborne anchors
BTW underhand style has its use with both SH and DH

2. Traditional spey casting
– long/slower rods
– long lines
– long casting stroke
– use of top hand to sweep and to propel the line into the forward cast
– long distance between top and bottom hands on the grip (top hand closer to winding check than to the reel seat)

3. Modern spey casting

Anything between 1 and 2. Including Scandinavian casting and Skagit Casting. With the reservation that Scandinavian casting employs bottom hand as a dominant hand to propel the line into the forward cast.

Those are the simplest definitions I can come up with according to my understanding of the styles.

I can cast Skagit heads in Scandinavian style. I can cast mid and long belly lines in Scandinavian style. I can cast Scandi heads in traditional style. It’s too much fun too keep it in strict boundaries.

Janusz demonstrates Modern Scandinavian Casting in the above, and below videos


Llandogo also makes a good point: Cloner has given an excellent précis of the different styles. He is certainly not Mr Average a very, very skilled caster and could cast a broomstick and chain with the Jack Rusell terrier still on the end.

I would point though,no problem casting a skagit line Scandi style, but with the underhand style take care.

You are condensing a lot of power into a short stroke and the weight is carried in the tip. I know modern rods are designed to take a wide range of weights but they do still break.

I would recommend coming down a weight or two in line weight with a Skagit line although personally, I prefer a line designed for the job.

I’ll add that using Skagit heads for Scandi or underhand is best if you underline, but I will also add that a single Spey or switch cast done with your standard heavy Skagit head is a very powerful cast, for me, even more powerful than waterborne casts with severely over weighted flies.

Also, I am not wearing a kippah, nor do I have a round balled spot on the back of my head, so it must be the video equipment I was using but that is me casting.

I seriously hate casting that ridiculously heavy, bullet weighted crap, but I find myself running experiments for the good of mankind often, and the results are sometimes surprising.

Cloner: (In response to Llandogo’s post about using Skagit heads for Underhand) Just point. In general, I would say the more bottom hand you use the lighter the head/line should be.

Conversely, the heavier the head/line the slower the forward cast should be. The use of bottom hand to propel the line combined with the short grip produces high line speed which favors lighter head/line.

There are a few variables to play with. That’s the beauty of fly casting.

Cloner:  Line/head density makes no difference as far as style is concerned. I personally use sinking lines combined with leaders or multi-tip floating body combined with sinking tips exclusively.

Both for practicing as well as for fishing. On all the videos available on my YT channel I’m casting at least the F/I head/leader or head/tip rigs.

For fishing sinking rigs I particularly like Salmologic Logic Heads and Logic Leaders system. Their system is also very good for underhand style as Logic Heads are true shorter Scandi.

Both Salmologic heads and leader get shorter with density change which makes them easy to be lifted off the water right away without a prior auxiliary roll cast. Many modern Scandi heads/lines are more like light Skagit heads – RIO Scandi for sure.

Llandogo:  Once again Cloner I am in agreement with you. I also like the Salmologic line system for underhand casting but the only drawback is they are expensive in my part of the world and to purchase the full range is beyond my pocket.

It is only fair to point out that Guideline still do a short shooting head and they have been in the game longer than Salmologic.

The Guideline Scandi Compact was designed by Klaus Frimor before moving back to Loop and it comes in a full range of sinking lines,it is a beauty to cast and it’s less expensive in the U.K than the Salmologic.

That, however, may be because most of them are manufactured here in the U.K whereas the Salmologic lines I am led to understand are made by Rio in the States (so they are probably cheaper over there).

Unfortunately, and I think applies more to the less practised in this style quite a few ‘off the shelf’ shooting heads are a little long for it to be as easy to learn with as it should be.

The longer are more suited to Scandi casting. Many of the dedicated underhand casters would still prefer to customise their lines, cutting them from the back end until they find the sweet spot.

There is a couple of clips on U Tube by Scandinavian fly lines, on one of the clips, he discusses the benefits of doing just this.

My own personal thoughts are, I don’t find it worth the effort of cutting and weighing the line anymore (after doing it for years).

I am happy to use the ready-made ones, that’s what happens to you as you get older. Incidentally, Rio do some lines that are excellent for underhand.


2 thoughts on “The Difference Between Scandi and Underhand Styles of Casting

  1. Hello
    I will notifie you that there has been an underhand cast in Sweden and Norway long before Göran Andersson intruduced his style. Probaly back to the days when British salomn fishers went to Norway at the end of the 1800. It is unfotunate that GA namned his style the same. It only confuses folks. The original underhans cast works like this:
    ”when underhand casting the line is stretched in the surface position. The rod are spun up with the rod towards the river in a circular accelerating motion. The line flight will then take place in front of the fisherman and under the rod. The stop will take place in vertical mode. The forward cast will begin before the last 2-4 meters have stretched out behind the fisherman. Power-concentrating in the forward cast shall be between 11 and 12 (Clock).

    It is almost the same as the Scottish ”planet cast” used in Uk, including the famous Alexander Grant long time ago.
    To make a true spey cast you have to perform all moments included in the cast developt at river Spey more than 100 years ago. Otherwise it is like saying that it is ok to use only two jumps in a tripple jump and still call it a tripple jump. GA’s cast does not include the blank loading part and the fly is placed much nearer the caster in GA’s cast. The acceleration of the line backwars is missing.
    So the true modern speycast is with long belly lines which have replaced DT lines. The cast itself is performed as in the good old days

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