Spey casting help...

Well, I finally broke down and bought a spey rod (14'), reel, and a multitip line (Windcutter). Along with the purchase the shop threw in a spey casting video. I ran through the video 3 times and took copious notes.

So far so good. Looked easy

Got to the river (Stilly) and the water level was great, but the clarity was milky, visibility down to maybe a foot and a half. So, I put on the sink tip.

That's when I realized that the video shows this guy casting light, floating tips these enormous distances. I had a few good casts, but by a large, I was floundering. :BLUSH

What does one do differently when casting heavy sink tips compared to much lighter floating tips? Is it a timing issue? Does one set the anchor differently? Something else?

I'm very new to spey casting, so don't assume I even know how to ask this question correctly.

Thanks in advance,


P.S. Saw one other fisherman. He had caught a couple of small dollies.


Active Member
Videos are helpful, but they're not a panacea. Don't expect to become a good speycaster overnight; try a full floater and practice, practice, practice. You should be able to fish most of the summer and fall with the floater and by that time you should have the timing down well enough to begin to adapt it to fishing the heavy heads that will be necessary come winter. If you can afford a lesson or two it might advance the process considerably.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
practice, practice, and get HELP

I'm using a spey myself. I'm FAR from proficient with the rod. But I've had some help, and has given me a bit more insight on what I've done wrong with casting. I think I may eventually break down and get paid instruction. The videos are great, but I'm a type that helps to actually have someone critique me.

Here's a tip to help you out. One thing I've found about the spey is if you're proficient with a one hander, it REALLY screws you up for a spey. You're so used to loading rod that it's hard to slow down and let rod load itself. My girlfriend is picking up the spey super fast, but she was just starting to learn a fly rod when I bought my first spey. What I'd suggest is using the spey with your reverse hand. You'll be surprised how nice a throw you'll get consistently. Since you'll be throwing with your ackward side, you'll slow down your timing (which helps the load). What I mean by reverse, if you normally hold butt in right hand and line/forward grip in left hand, reverse it. I know I was having a hard time tossing over 60-70 ft for awhile there. I reversed and was nailing 80+. Fealt ackward, but was shooting beautifully. Just an idea. Then once you see what you're doing, you can try and slow yourself down on your good side. Plus, it's always good to be able to spey both hands.

"You haven't lived until you've run a cataraft. Friends don't let friends run Outcasts."
I've never used a spey rod so I can't help you there. But I have been on the Stilly lately. The Boulder River is what's mucking it up. It's really chalky, almost white. Above the Boulder it's air clear...at least it was Tuesday. Hope the Boulder clears up relatively soon. There have been times in the past when it has been out and messing up the Stilly for months at a time.


Active Member
Believe it or not, the best way to learn is with a tip and a light fly. When you become proficient at spey casting, the tip actually enables you to cast farther because it sets a solid anchor. There really isn't a major form difference using a tip or a floating section, but the floating line is easier to "cheat" with because it stays on top of the water column so you can horse it around, use a sloppy casting form, and still get a basic cast sometimes.

Two pieces of advice I can give you without seeing you cast:

1) Slow down. 99% of beginners rush their casts, especially in the last stages of the spey cast. Try to find a good caster to watch (I agree that the videos are limiting) and count through the timing; it's slower than you think, which is how the rod loads.

2) Overemphasize the D loop. The single biggest reason people can't cast a tip is that they don't put enough into the D loop. A wimpy D loop will still let you turn over the floating line, but not a sink tip. A half-formed D loop on a spey cast is even worse than a half complete backcast with a single handed rod. I put twice as much effort into the D loop than the forward cast; the forward cast is a flick if the rod is loaded correctly on the D loop. Try to force yourself to exaggerate your d loops (while keeping your slow, smooth tempo), driving the loop behind you above the water while the anchor stays in place. Just like a beginning flyfisherman should watch his backcast, the beginning spey fisherman should watch the D loop form. Most beginner D loops look like a weak half-circle, not a triangle-shaped wedge.

Someone else above noted that good single-handed casters find spey casting hard; I disagree. Every single good spey casters I know is good regular casters, because they know and learn how to load a rod properly and can adjust their form to the rod, line, fly, and setting.



Ignored Member
I agree with circlespey. Not an efficient spey caster yet myself. I have noticed paying attention to my d loop usually gets me back into rhythm quickly and my cast immediately improves.

On the reverse side of single handers being good spey casters. Since picking up the spey rod several years ago, I have noticed significant improvement in my single handed casting.

Two words of advice. SLOW DOWN!


Banned or Parked
If you can, try to get into a spey casting class. I had the luxury of spending my first day spey casting with a Scottish casting instructor and it made it much more enjoyable. Since then I've taken one refresher course with George Cook. It's much easier to prevent bad habits if you have someone point them out to you from day one.
Excellent advice from everyone. Thanks.

Here's what I learned from you guys:

(1) Take a lesson.

This could be challenging as the Spey outfit blew my budget big time. Of necessity, I'm going to be limiting my self to the next 2 alternatives.

(2) Videos.

Anyone got a good recommendation for one. I have the sense that it would be especially helpful to watch an instructor demonstrate casting different weights.

(3) Practice, practice, practice.

(a) Start practicing with a floating tip because they are the easiest to learn. Moreover,since summer runs will move to a fly that isn't ticking the bottom, learning the basics using a floating tip is useful, as well.

(b) Slow down.

Finally, I would very much enjoy fishing with another spey caster (of any skill, i.e., all spey casters, at this point, are better than me). If you feel charitable enough to accompany a rank beginner, drop me line. I can go at the drop of a hat, especially if it involves the stilly, skagit, sauk, or sky.




Active Member
In my opinion, the best speycasting video available is Derek Brown's Spey Masterclass. The most difficult thing about the video is trying to cut through his thick Scottish brogue in order to understand what he's saying.