INDY fishing with the Loop Blue and SCUA
Though I'm not much of an indy fisherman, with any sized rod or fish, sometimes it's the only game going. The Grand has been completely blown as the warm temps have melted the snow high up in the watershed. Because we haven't had any snow in our area for a while, I thought the Grand should be OK, but it was in full spring run-off. I forgot about the snowbelt in the north end of the watershed.
I wanted to give the 12'4" 8/9 two-hander a spey workout but given the water conditions, I opted for lead and a bobber instead. I had 32' of a WF-11-F 444 that I had cut up for a shooting head, which I pressed into service as an indy line. The Blue is very light for a two hander and quite quick, with a tip that is faster than most in its range. With a light load, it feels much more like a long single handed rod than a spey and it has an action closer to a rod made for overhead casting. It's intended for Scandinavian underhand casting so it doesn't have a traditional Spey action like the St. Croixs or the Cabelas.
The 11 wt. is a bit light for the rod on a spey cast yet, the fast, light tip could load and fire line even with only 10' or so beyond the tip top. I found the pickup of line to be very easy, thanks to the strong butt section. The rod is light enough for easy single handed line management and those who know me here, can attest that I am not some big, muscle bound type (short and over-weight is more like it). If I can cast this rod with one hand with my bad shoulders, anyone can. Given the relatively low price and the quality of the build, I recommend this rod over any of the rods that I have tried, of similar size and price, for spey and indy work on the smaller rivers of the GLs. There may be better rods out there but not in this price range.
On to the SCUA. It stands for SCrewed Up Anchor. When doing the lift on the double spey, you're supposed to lay out a belly upstream of you but leave the fly (the anchor) downstream of you. Well, it's pretty common to blow it and blast the belly AND fly well upstream of you. It occurred to me early one morning around 5:00 am as I tried to squeeze in another couple of hours of sleep, that a deliberately screwed up anchor placement on a double spey lift would make for a perfect nymph & bobber cast.
On a typical overhead or rollcast, the fly ends up being the farthest point upstream and starts dragging almost immediately. You have to start mending right away to get it down. With a SCUA cast, there's a big belly of line upstream but the entire leader and fly is pointing straight downstream with the fly at the furthest point downstream. The current pushes the belly downstream, there's no drag on the bobber or leader so the nymph sinks fast and begins to fish almost immediately. It was so effective that I had to dispense with the usual rule of 1 1/2 to 2:1 ratio of leader to depth as I kept snagging up despite the torential flow. I ended up with the leader being only slightly longer than the depth and still hung up from time to time. The other beauty of the SCUA is that there's no bounce and tangling of line like a regular overhead cast, no false casting, no loss of splitshot. The leader is simply gently laid out pointing dead straight downstream, then the upstream belly is picked up. But pick it up fast for the nymph begins to fish so quickly, you could end up with a strike before you're ready.
Though thousands of anglers may be doing SCUAs and not giving it a thought, but I've never read about it, never seen anybody do it, and never heard of anyone giving it a name, so I have. :p :D Try it, you'll like it.
P.S., If you don't know how to do a double spey cast, don't worry, you only have to learn the initial lift, then screw it up. :)
I've been screwing up my anchor on the 2xspey for years. Guess that makes me a pro.
It does sound like an interesting use of a cast, think I'll give her a go tomorrow morning.
Let us know how you do . . . .
I know that move. When I put the indy upstream of me I use a cross shoulder snap to get it back out.
I am always mending. It seems that most of the time the foam line is going away from me
The fishing was OK on my Grand River today and got some to cooperate.
Gary -- glad someone found some fish who came out to play. Did you read Kush's Vancouver Island adventure? Some of the lawns in our town look like they're going to need cutting!!
The one thing I found with this cast, I didn't need to mend once. I just needed to let the big, upstream belly drift toward me for a moment or two, then pick it up. The fly was fishing before the indy reached me.
This crude diagram shows the shape of the line and the upstream position of the line and the fly at the end of the cast when the line has hit the water.
The current drifts the whole shebang across the front of the angler and one needs only to pick up the slack in the belly.
Good idea, Peter!
I'll have to try that one. My normal approach is the snap-T followed by an upstream stack mend. Hopefully we'll get a break in the cold that's coming so the fish will cooperate more. Yesterday, all I could manage on the Muskegon was trout.
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