Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by James Waggoner, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Re the snake roll with long belly lines: After several years of off-and-on use, this fall on the Clearwater I began to discover how effective the snake roll can be. I've been having trouble lately with the double spey, which for a long time was my standard cast with long bellies (and everything else). I continued the improvement for two days this week on the Skagit River, working with about 90 feet of line and sink tip.

    The initial move from the dangle, in toward the bank then up and out as the beginning of the oval, lifts a surprising amount of line out of the water. Continuing through the oval and the fly splashdown, I've belatedly realized that the snake roll is a touch-and-go cast. Continuing the oval from the splashdown into a D-loop is an advantageous move that keeps tension on the rod.

    It seems that the two key parameters of the snake roll are the position of the oval, and the rate of accelleration around the oval. Do both right, and the snake roll easily handles a lot of long belly. While watching the distance competition on the Clearwater last September, I noticed that most of the contestants, while making their practice casts, used snake rolls to reposition and reload their casts. (The winning cast was 175 feet, and seemingly every contestant could spit more than a hundred feet.)

    I've never heard this stated, but I think that much of the resistance to the snake roll comes from the fact that, for a beginner, it's scary! "All that line whirling in arcs around me, like debris in a hurricane? Who needs that?" But when you learn to control the line's flight around the oval and into the D-loop, you realize that the line goes where it's supposed to, and nowhere else.
  2. Greg Holt

    Greg Holt Active Member

    Good read, many good suggestions for improving casting mechanics.

    In that spirit, I would offer this observation: If you can visualize dividing the whole of the cast into two separate portions--windup and delivery, and strive to have them be more closely balanced with one another in terms of energy and tempo, it tends to minimize excessive corrective forces being applied in efforts to "save" the less than perfect cast.

    For example, a smooth, gradually accelerating lift and sweep into a strong D loop allows a similar forward stroke, resulting in an effective cast.
    A poorly timed lift and sweep with slack or jerks results in a similar forward stroke in the attempt to make something useful of the cast.

    It sounds overly simple, I admit, but someone recently pointed out to me that this process involves nothing more than a weighted string, a flexible lever, and a co-ordinated brain and body.
  3. TrevorH

    TrevorH Active Member

    I like the notion of a 'windup' as it speaks to our intuition, whether we are considering hammers, baseballs, punches or fly lines. I think there is some value, though, in making an effort to see each cast as a whole, as line led through a change of direction into an outbound trajectory, the modulation of energy being somewhat driven by situation.

    Writing that immediately made me think of my lesson with Mike Kinney, which I am still digesting years later. He pointed to what the single and double had in common, while I was all dizzy over how they were different, and breaking them into little parts...

    If I can get my crack-like addiction to graphite under control for a moment, I'll be immediately investing in perspective again.
  4. bhudda

    bhudda heffe'

    Great analogy Greg, it starts with a good lift and sweep always !!! I think slotalot of guys start off with short heads and they need to re train there mechanics to open up with a long rod...
  5. Greg Holt

    Greg Holt Active Member

    Thanks, Bhudda and Trevor.

    I'm certain that any written descriptions of casting mechanics are subject to various individual interpretations, even when all present claim to understand and agree to the "terms and conditions".

    Both of your main points are great and noteworthy--many who learned on short heads lack "long stroke" thinking and movement skills, and the cast is a "whole" movement even though composed of individual components.

    Consider a golfer's swing:

    I was thinking how the character of a golfer's backswing seems to affect the "personality" of his forward stroke. If his backstroke tempo and force are "out of sorts", his forward stroke often displays similary unfavorable characteristics. Physically this is not an unavoidable cause and effect requirement (since the clubhead stops completely), so maybe its a "brain thing".
    I'm not sure, I just note that is occurs too regularly to be a coincidence.

    Additionally, the clubhead stops at the top of the swing (making the swing two distinct actions), even though the golf swing is a single event! Granted, the fly rod doesn't "stop" in the exact same fashion, but direction is reversed nonetheless.

    Simon Gawesworth's two-handed casting is (IMO) a perfect example of smoothnes without brute force-- long fluid motions that are so well timed and formed as to appear effortless. Not coincidentally he, as you recall, is a British Open champ.

    Some skagit casting videos I've seen recently in a different (casting mechanics) thread seem agressive bordering on violent...but maybe that's just my gentle sensibilities!

  6. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    I think that's a super point, Greg.
    For myself, I'm having to focus on the cast as a whole more, and on smooth fluidity with more gradual application of power.
    For me, this is true on heads longer than 40 ft and especially true on DT lines.

    You can really get away with murder with shorter heads, which when flip-flopped may be the foundation of the idea of longbelly snobs... as bhudda was saying, the mechanics have to be refined for longer heads because they won't abide the sloppy technique shortheads allow. When you say that in public, I suppose being accused of snobbery comes with the territory, when the majority are using short heads now.

    I say this from the perspective of a guy who mainly fishes shortheads.
  7. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member


    Well said and great suggestions for beginners and advanced casters!

    Truth been told: the power of rotational acceleration!

    Even people who using it are reluctant to accept it (and probably do not recognize it) that the angular acceleration is a very powerful move... Ooops... did I just say "Angular Acceleration"?! Sorry... my bad... what do I know? I am not one of those FI formula drivers. Mark
  8. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

    Greg, I too like your "personality of the cast" theory...if you're all Jeckel and Hyde with your cast it won't be pretty! Makes me think about my casting sessions and how I practice. I think next time I go out, instead of going ahead and finishing a cast when I know I've messed up in my lift and sweep, I'll just reset and try again. I can see how this will help keep/elimiate bad muscle memory tendancies from developing, as you implied by your character/personality comment, all sorts of Chaos happens when we try to recover from a bad lift and sweep.

  9. Greg Holt

    Greg Holt Active Member

    Well said, Spaz,
    Many (self included) have been "getting away with murder" far too often since the advent of shorter heads. Even though I cast short heads more often as a proportion of the total, I still break out the long ones periodically for the challenge they provide, and to identify and correct faults that ineveitably creep into my personal mechanics. The longer heads serve as a "truth detector"--you can't fake it with them. Then, out of laziness or actual preference for ease of use, the shorter heads rotate back to the front of the lineup, broad waters being the exception.

    Snobby or not, I'll say it here (while zipping up my flame retardant suit): Those casters who have willfully avoided the purifying process of learning to cast longer heads are short changing themselves in terms of understanding (and more importantly maintaining) the varied and numerous aspects of mechanics, not to mention the satisfaction of mastering something with inherently greater difficulty.
  10. Dan Page

    Dan Page Active Member

    I just put my suit on as well! :)
    As kind of an old time amateur spey guy I agree with you. Starting on a big river with long lines and rods was a great teacher. My movement in to the shorter stuff also taught me things. Then the switch rod really gave me a feel for short heads. So for me, each style taught something.
    At this point I'm thinking that starting with short lines and moving later to long is harder than the opposite.
  11. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    I get it, Bruce...actually, recent threads have me tempted to go back to DT's for awhile... the DT is a cruel mistress. You can cut one end back to use with tips, leave the other end uncut for drylining, and swear loudly the year 'round! But it would demand my best and humble me at every turn. Not sure I'm up for it. Of course, things could always be worse. I should be grateful for the small things.

    View attachment 47500
  12. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

    Still awaiting my new rod so I don't have much to report, except I've been down to the river on a couple of occasions to practice with the 75' carron and have discovered a few things for myself:

    Number one - Carron Jetstream (75') is an absolute animal! I've heard people putting tips on the end of this line and felt they must be cutting back...I'm hear to say "NOPE!" Today I put a type 3 15' 8wt Rio tip, right on the end of the carron line and it worked! Now I only had a size two cactus Chenelle bugger on but I'm sure I could have used small/med MOAL or the likes.

    Number two - cold water? who cares. 90' casts and don't even have to get your hands wet.

    Number three - it's just a lot of fun.

    Anybody else have experience with the Carron Jetstream and tips?

  13. fisshman26

    fisshman26 Member

    Great to hear James.
    Yup the Next Generation Carrons are able to handle med to light tips and any polyleader you can find, no cutting back.
    Wait till you try it on your new rod!!!!
  14. Wadecalvin

    Wadecalvin Member

    Which Carron Jetstream 75' are you casting? What new rod will you be getting? Would the sink tip work on the 9/10? Thats the one I've been using on my TFO DC 15 8/9 but I have not tried tips. Its perfect as a dry line.
  15. fisshman26

    fisshman26 Member

    Yep the 75 9/10 will do the same. As stated all of the next generation Carrons will do tips and polys
  16. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

    I'm impatiently awaiting a 15' 10wt. Bruce and Walker Powerlite! Haven't even got it yet and already thinking about a Norway model.

  17. inland

    inland Active Member

    You're toast!!! Just wait until the Carron Rod bug bites. Leaves a big hole...
  18. speyghillie

    speyghillie speyghillie

    Hi James,
    Bruce and Walker make some great rods, including the Carron rod range........ great casting rods and always have been and i have had plenty of them, Ken Walker has a house nearby here on Speyside.
    The Norway was my favorite for a long time, but for a fishing rod i found the 15ft to heavy to be swinging all day, so i ended up fishing the 13ft Norway more.......... great casting rods but heavy.
    Cheers Gordon.
    DTX Pro Staff.
  19. fisshman26

    fisshman26 Member

    Gordon, you just need to eat some spinach! ha ha ha
  20. speyghillie

    speyghillie speyghillie

    Hi Bruce,
    I have already have popeye's arms, lo.
    I used to meet Ken Walker on the Spey when i worked on the river, really nice man who liked to visit the local bar when he came to fish the Spey, he did have 15 rods go missing from his house while he was away......and soon learned not to tell the locals to much in the bar.
    He did laugh about it when he went to the bar the following night and his rods were all sitting around, and he had to stagger home carrying all the rods.
    One other little Speyside story than involves Ken Walker, his Ghillie Ian developed the snake roll cast which he called the whisper cast, partly due to the fact that it was much quieter than the double spey, and B@W introduced a whisper Salmon rod many years ago.
    Still an old school company......... still heavy rods, even if you have arms like popeye.
    Cheers Gordon.