still an authority on nothing
it's a bit late for that, LOL! But not from flies.
Seriously, I've hit myself plenty of times casting, but never with the SpazPoke. Not once. I think the double is way more dangerous, if not done well. Complacency is the enemy when casting hooks.
The SpazPoke wants a big fly, longish/heavyish tip, and the fly way out front for starters. On the cast I posted, the fly actually came out of the water ahead of me with no kickback, and it was a 4" leadeye bunny.

But seriously, can we move on from the frivolous first cast I posted, and get some comments on the others? I've gotten some good PM feedback on the longstroke, and I think both James and I are interested in hearing more.
Snake rolls with the long belly have been tough for me. Snake roll switch cast not problem but anything more than about 30 degrees of angle change and I fail to land my anchor correctly and it just seems to fall apart from there. Snake roll with mids and shorts, I agree, river right it's pretty much my go to cast unless I go left hand singles.

Bhudda can you walk us through the motion and the common mistakes to avoid?


still an authority on nothing
Learn some snake rolls, be your best friend on river right w/ long belly:)
I hear that, Bhudda. My longbelly snake roll is a work in progress, but I do them in the dark with a short head. The longer belly accentuates every fault, and I often end up short-strokin' it out of habit, with nowhere near enough lift or rear extension.
Maybe next weekend I can capture some river right footage.

Here's a spiral scandi pickup:
View attachment 47267

I'll second James' motion for some snake roll tips.
tough crowd... here's a nice safe one for you.:rofl:
View attachment 47237
Nice looking cast....but this one of those short belly mirages! I struggled the first day out with the long belly, because my pick up/initial lift was not only too fast but the last half of my lift was into my sweep, causing me to work really hard.and lift higher to get the line to release resulting in a crashed anchor/bloody "L". I'm still a work in progress, but getting better every day on the water.

Show us a long belly clip Bob.

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
Bruce, how's this for slower? I slowed down the video 30%, is that about right?
I'll continue to work on it. I'll pay better attention to Derek Brown's speed on the video and see if that helps. After watching some more video I noticed I was blowing my anchor half or more of the time...almost seems unbelievible to blow an anchor with a 75' head and 12' of leader...but I was, so I suspect this is where I really need to concentrate on slowing down, on the delivery. What about the backcast?

Thanks for your help and experience, Bruce I really do appreciate it!


So take this advice knowing it's recycled from Gene Oswald. Often times with single spey anchors being blown with long bellies it happens because of 2 things.

1) There is inconsistent tension in the line from cast to cast (i.e. in one cast the line is fully down stream and on the dangled, while in another there's lots of slack)

2) An inconsistently applied lift and turn.

Based on the videos you have it appears that on the first cast you are doing a very high initial lift, followed by a dip and then a secondary lift to prepare for the forward cast. In the cast immediately following you do a lower lift followed by a flat turn, with a secondary lift.

When Gene took a look at my cast I was doing the same thing too. What he got me to focus on was to be *very* aware of the tension on the line, and to watch the rod tip on the cast to ensure consistency. Once I started to groove the lift and turn was the same every time, the anchors became much more consistent and controlled.
Thanks James for your observations. You are correct on both my impatience I often don't let the complete dangle occur and you're exactly right on my lift. I think Bruce has squared me away on the lift and being Slow. I'll get a progress video up in the next few days, please be sure to comment on my progress.

I'll need continue to work on the full on dangle...slack is a killer and it can creep in, in so many ways.

thanks again,
Mean Gene!! He can cast a country mile... I casted w/ him at competition,along with kush, Brian Styskel, Greg B...etc., all great casters,always learn something new.... they each have their own style, but are very consistent with what works for them.. Stella got her groove, you'll find yours..
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.

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.


Active Member
If you can visualize dividing the whole of the cast into two separate portions--windup and delivery, and strive to have them be equal in terms of energy and tempo, it tends to minimize excessive corrective forces being applied in efforts to "save" the less than perfect cast.
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.
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...

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!