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Spey Casting: Based on an article by Jules Evans

Spey Casting

While relatievly common in many parts of the world, spey casting is really in its infancy here in New Zealand. Few of us understand the technique and few shops sell the double handed rods needed to put out 40 - 50 metres of line with ease.

Yet it can be done; you too can be the one admired as you send a line out to a hungry feeding trout 50 metres away. This article will help you get started.

The initial problem

The initial problem, particularly in New Zealand where fishing with a double hander is in its infancy, is finding the right equipment.

It does not come cheap but if you are prepared to not let that stand in your way, instruct your salesman to show you the rod in more detail and generally tell you all you need to know in one clear concise sentence in a language as close to English as possible.

Where spey-casting is not a joy

As with most art forms, which Speycasting certainly appears to be, understanding, patience and real rivercraft will tell you all you need.

Speycasting is almost NEVER a joy on rods over 9 weight, regardless of rod length or length of line belly. Much like single handed fly fishing there comes a point where its just not fun anymore.

Where spey casting excels

A single handed rod over a 7 weight is generally for flinging heavy flies out into deep water. Those who fish rivers such as the Tongariro will be familiar with these tactics and will also have been victims of wrist and forearm damage caused by using tackle such as 8/9 weight rods, huge strike indicator, glo bug and a bomb for days on end.

This is precisely where the double handed rod comes in. It will allow us to cast big heavy gear, beautifully and with finesse. For weeks on end.


Advantages of spey casting

You can use tippets far in excess of those used on a single hander and fish areas previously far beyond your reach. Most of this can be achieved with little or no wading and no false casting.

These things transform the way in which we fish. On small waters the single handed rod rules but everywhere else the double hander will give you the edge every time.

It is worth noting that once learnt, speycasting is just as easy and effective on single handed rods which really will open up those tricky spots you've been losing flies to all these years.

What is a spey casting rod

In recent years the manufacturers have been desperately searching for ways to remarket double handed rods. Hence the switch, scandi, zpey, skagit rods etc.

Make no mistake about it, they are all just spey rods. Some manufacturers are suggesting that we can use an 11'6 8 weight double handed switch rod with one hand.

We can assure you that any elbow problems you had on the Tongariro with your 8 wt will pale into insignificance once trying to adopt these manufacturers claims.

DO NOT use a double handed rod with one hand for any protracted period of time!

Different rods explained

SWITCH rods are generally under 12 foot, 8 weights on down to 5/6 weight.

SCANDI rods claim to be made for more for the underhand cast, which is frankly just another silly name for a speycast variant.

SKAGIT rods are generally stiffer and far less responsive due to massive overloading of the skagit style. Effectively these are large shooting heads renamed skagit!

So what gear do you need?  
Where can you learn this technique?  

This short article is based on an article by Jules Evans, a spey casting expert who has honed his skills over 36 years fishing the Spey, Tweed, Dee and many other rivers throughout the globe.

He now lives in New Zealand.







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