Single Hand Spey Casting - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 01-14-2005, 07:14 AM
Whorwood Whorwood is offline
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Posts: 84
Single Hand Spey Casting

I started this post on the Great lakes site, thought it might be fun to see how many of our western brothern are using single hand rods for spey type casting.

How many of you fish single hand rods and use spey type cast?
What length rod do you use and if given a choice what length would you like ?
What action would you or do you like and why?

Reels: ?

Do you use a Short belly line?
Do you use a long belly line?
Do you use a multi tip line?
Do you use a spey type line (W.C. Delta)?

Terminal end:
Leader length and why?
Do you use lead or sink tips and why?
If you use lead, do you use a dropper system or put the lead on the leader and why?
Do you use a float/indicator?
If you use another method (as an indicator) what and why?

Mostly yarn flies?
Mostly Nymphs?
Mostly Spey type flies (including buggers, streamers etc.)?

Type of Fishing (technique)
Swining flies
Nymphing techniques

Thanks in advance
Rick Whorwood
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Old 01-14-2005, 08:55 AM
Rick J Rick J is offline
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 407
I use spey techniques frequently though generally do not make full spey casts - I will use a snap t or snake roll to cast the line up in the air then go into a regular aerialized back cast - often use this for change of direction when lake fishing if a fish rises in a different direction then where I am casting.

When not using a 2 hander for steelhead I still use spey casts - mostly again to get the line up then do a typical backcast.

My line of choice for floating lines from 2 wt on up is a standard Wulff TT line - can't be beat in my opinion. Rarely use anything but floaters for lake fishing but use tips for steelhead. Occasionally use indicators on lakes, rarely in steelhead fishing but have been known to load up on lead and tumble bug to fish slots at times
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Old 01-14-2005, 08:00 PM
Salmo_g Salmo_g is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 47

I use spey casts with my single handed rod, but only when I don't have backcast room for a standard cast with a backcast. I use my standard WF lines, both floating and sinktips. The flies would be standard steelhead or trout patterns. The rods vary from 8 1/2' to 9 1/2'. Reels and other things aren't really relevant to the subject.


Salmo g.
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Old 01-15-2005, 08:33 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Rick -

First and foremost I believe a single handed Spey cast relies much less on the rod design compared to a two-handed rod because of the ability to double haul, or turbo-spey as Simon G puts it in his video (International Spey Casting). That being said, a limp noodle or broomstick won't do either.

Personally I don't fish a single hander very often for steelhead or salmon but when I do my favorites for this application are the 9'8" 6/7/8wt Speytracker for lighter summer work or one of the fine 9'6" 8wt rods that are out there today from T&T (Helix 9'6" 8wt) or Sage (VPS 9'6" 8wt) etc. The CND Speytracker has an over/under style handle and lets the angler cast either two-handed or single handed like Bob Meiser's switch rods, etc.

In summer I like a full floater and in winter the Rio versitip is a no brainer. The tracker likes the Windcutter 5wt, Hardy 8/9 mach I (not plus) among others - the 8wt single-hand rods I've spey fished like the Rio versitip system or the old SA steelhead taper.

The Kalama River is a good example of where a single hander is a great Spey casting tool, the Stilliguamish is right in there as well and when I used to float the upper stretches of smaller rivers in a pontoon boat the single was easier to tote down the river than a long rod. I often use spey casts when sight fishing on the saltwater flats especially to reduce or eliminate false casts but that's another story.

A rod that flexes in a progessive yet full fashion yet 'unflexes' with great recoil and quick dampening to reduce turbulence in the line suits my tastes for this job. The extra length beyond 9' picks up more line and puts more graphite into the cast without taking your shoulder out like a 10' plus. It's a sweet length for overhead casting too. I would call it a progressive medium fast with good recovery and dampening.

My only concerns about the reel choices are weight to rod balance, line capacity and drag to handle a hot steelhead or salmon. Sometimes I care about the shine on bright days, a matte or dull finish is best for summer fishing.

I never use an indicator or weights on the line and always swing wet flies as I find it a most pleasant and productive method. Dries are fished skated or via drag free drift on occasion.

When trout fishing, just about any single hand rod makes a nice little spey casting tool in brush or heavy cover since there is most likely no need to shoot line with a spey cast.

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Old 01-15-2005, 09:58 AM
Whorwood Whorwood is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 84
Single Hand Spey Casting

This is quite interesting. Most tend to use long belly lines (Steelhead tapers) anyone using multi-tip lines? So far most prefer rods in the 9 1/2 - 10 1/2 ft range. What would you consider to be too long (or unmanageable) in a Single Hand Spey Rod? It seems most like 7wt and 8wts.
Rick Whorwood
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Old 01-15-2005, 04:49 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Posts: 3,346

I use an 11' Loomis IMX 8/9 that has not been made for quite a while for single hand spey casting on small rivers/large creeks for winter steelhead (width of less than 60'). The streams I've used it on are not secrets and are hit pretty hard by folks fishing gear and spinners. The ones I use it on are: Morse Creek outside of Port Angeles, the Dickey River on the OP, the Salmon River on the OP, and the Samish here in Skagit County. I almost always use a salmon/steelhead taper on it that I've cut for tips. I've also used a single-hand Windcutter cut for tips on the rod, but prefer the longer belly/back taper of the steelhead line. Leaders are 5' or less on sink tips, just like with my 2-handers.

And I taught all three of my kids how to fly fish by teaching the double spey cast first with a 7'6" 5 wt rod. I have used rods as small as a 7'6" 4 wt for spey casting on small streams where overhanging brush and tree limbs prevented an overhead cast and found it to be very effective.

Although, like mentioned above, I only use my 11' IMX 8/9 for single hand spey casting on small winter steelhead streams anymore.
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Old 01-15-2005, 09:44 PM
NrthFrk16 NrthFrk16 is offline
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It seems as though I was utilizing single-handed Spey casting techniques long before I ever knew I was (Hell....there was a period of time where I was a better Spey caster with the single-hander then the two-hander).

Since I grew up fishing amongst the brushy tree lined banks, I developed (crude they might of been) techniques that would allow me to fish the far slots (where the fish hold on that bloody river) while minimizing my overhead casting. A few years later when I took my first Spey casting class, I employed these new fangled Spey casting techniques and casts I was learning as though Spey casting and the single-hander were more meant for each other then Spey casting was ever meant for the two-hander.

Given that I don't fish the single-hander much, I have purchased what I would feel to the best single-handed Spey casting rod out there. Right now, I fish a #7 9'6" XP and the rod does just fine. I have also fished the Spey Tracker that Juro was referring to and absolutely LOVED the action and felt it was the primo action for what I was after. However, the extended butt/Switch rod configuration threw the balance of the rod totally out of whack (too far down the rod) for single-handed fishing and because of this, I could not control the rod, the tip of the rod and inturn could not control my loop.

If I was to purchase a rod specifically tailored towards single-handed Spey casting, I would line up and spend some time on the water with the 10' #8 Winston Boron IIX as well as the 10' #7 and 10' #8 GLX's.

On the various rods I've fished over the years, I fished many differantly lines as well. When it comes down to it, I have found that the Rio Atlantic Salmon/Steelhead Taper (in a #7 on the XP) to be the best longer line out there. It turns over well, Spey casts a touch better then the SA Steelhead Taper (in either a #7 or #8 on the XP as well) and overhead casts a mile. I've also heard excellent things about the redesigned SA Nymph Taper but have yet to give it a try.

However, while a fishing a river down in Oregon, I had a Hell of a time dealing with the longer belly Steelhead Taper as in many cases on that river, I didn't have much room for much of D-Loop. A fellow Forum Member and good freind who is a vetren on this particular river, advised that many were fishing the Airflo Delta (single-handed line ofcourse). I ordered up a #7/8, headed back down and found that line to be absolutely perfect for the conditions that presented themselves (after I cut about 8" off the tip to aid in turnover). The 45' or so head allowed me to fish all but the tightest of tight spots, handled overhead casting just fine as well as the wind and larger flies after I chopped a bit off the front well as 10' X-Super Fast Sinking polyleaders.

On a side note, I was demonstrating some various casts and techniques to a couple of good freinds with an old Graphite I Sage DS 9' #8/9 and a #8 Rio Versitip. I was impressed with how well the soft rod threw the line (timing, application of power and control of line stick was critical however) and how well the Rio Versitip single-hande Spey casts.

When fishing sinktips, I run a short heavy head (about 20' not including the sink-tip) that Spey casts okay BUT it is a great overhead line that doesn't require much backcast room. I will either Snap-T or Double Spey to redirect my line after my swing, pick it up off the water, feed some line into my backcast (if room allows) and fire away. I've found this works very well and requires very little backcast because of the shorter head and will allow me to achieve any distance I would be after if I was fishing a single-hander.

WHEW! That is my longwinded repsonse to your question Rick. Sorry.

Last edited by NrthFrk16; 01-15-2005 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 01-15-2005, 10:34 PM
andre andre is offline
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I used to love the fly water on the Kalama for the single handed spey cast. I used to fish a 7100 Sage with an 8wt DT. I thought about going up and working some to that water again this season with the 7100 just didn't get around to it.

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Old 01-16-2005, 07:20 AM
Whorwood Whorwood is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 84
Single Hand Spey Casting

Hi Guy's
Nrth Frk 16, Juro, Andre, flytyer, Salmon_g and Rick J, Thanks!!
This morning it's 18f. most of our rivers are closed, so having an opportunity to read these post's is great, please keep them coming.
As instructor's do you think teaching single hand (in a two-hand course) has any merit ? I quite often use a single hand rod at the beginning of my course's to review, stop, pause, and straight line path, etc. More or less to show the students that these elements are equally as important when using a two hander.
Your Thought's
Rick Whorwood
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