Four tips for Spey casting long belly lines
Four things to think about when casting long belly lines:
#1 - blending power from lift to sweep
Once the lift is completing and it's time to sweep, it helps to flex the rod early at the beginning of the sweep as if part of the lift, then let the line float back into the d-loop rather than the opposite which is pulling gently starting from the lift and flexing real hard at the end of the sweep / d-loop.
My theory on this is that it's easier to load the sweep early and let the anchor descend toward the water in a manner that cooperates with gravity than to try to lift it off the water at the end of a sweep that started weakly in the first place.
Power applied at the end of the sweep often encourages the caster to over-rotate, which robs the subsequent forward cast of most of it's energy as well.
#2 - Postion of hands == angle of rod
The bottom hand must be lower than the upper arm's elbow throughout the entire movement, including drift and rise. Anything else relieves the load on the top half of the d-loop, which lets everything drop down behind the caster.
#3 - Tilting the d-loop bottom-out
If the anchor is landing right beside you, it's very hard to fit a long belly line in such a small vertical space. If not canted outward far enough, all that long belly is crammed between the rod tip and the water.
Sweeping a little wider uses centrifugal force to keep the line tight coming around and places anchor out a rod length out to the side. Thus the d-loop is tilted bottom-out making the long belly much easier to fold into a d-loop and easier to cast with a light touch.
#4 - Anticipation of anchor, tightening the d-loop before the 'kiss'
A commonly noted rule of thumb for long belly lines is to begin to put a forward-moving load into the rod (albeit a slow and gradual load) just a touch before the anchor actually touches down. This does not mean creep, which is coming forward without any load - but a "pre-load".
Case in point:
If a caster starts forward too quickly, the anchor never touches to water and kicks out backward like a mule. That proves that an early forward stroke actually keeps the anchor off the water, as strange as that may sound.
So when casting a long belly line there is so much grain weight and momentum going backward that it's possible to start loading the rod forward a bit before the anchor hits the water, thus actually helping it stay off the water while at the same time providing the proper tightening of the d-loop and pre-loading of the rod that is important to realizing maximum power from a long stroke.
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