Spey Casting: The Double Spey

351px-TheSwitchCast-The_Salmon_Flyfar from the quaint yet confusing Spey cast presentations of yore (and not-so-yore… ) here’s a lot of very good explanations and demonstrations on this foundation cast by one of the best, Eoin Fairgrieve.

the double Spey’s main purpose is to easily and safely reposition the line prior to D-loop set up on the downwind side of the caster while creating a pronounced waterborne anchor*.
in the video Eoin points out that he’s on river right ** and has a downstream wind, therefore to cast safely, the D-loop needs to go on the downstream side, something the single Spey couldn’t do in the same river-side and wind scenario.
whether using a single or double hand rod, short, middle or long belly line, this cast is not only pleasant to perform but can get you out of tricky situations easily. unfortunately,  the whole roll/spey cast family is most often referred to as the casts to use when there’s obstructions behind the caster but that’s just one reason.

often ignored, safety issues such as when fishing from boats with a friend(s), casting very heavy flies or in extreme wind situations are other areas where rolls and Spey casts shine.

the only real limitations the double Spey might have is casting very far (the single Spey definitely outclasses it there) or when using easily water-logged dry flies as they tend to not stay dry when dragged through water during the set up or presentation roll cast but i’ll have an alternative Spey cast created just for this purpose for you soon. HERE
on the other hand, the double Spey is safer and usually easier to get ‘just right’ than the single Spey when using fast-sink tips and specially, big and heavy flies.

to conclude, if you’re new to spey casts or want to get better at them, the best you could do is learn:

a) both the static and dynamic Roll Cast
b) the Double Spey
c) the Single Spey

in that order and off both shoulders and preferably with a longish-bellied line. (long belly lines teach us to cast better as there’s less room for mistakes. from there, adapting to shorter lines is a breeze)
once those skills are acquired all other spey casts and spey styles will be a simple matter of slight adjustments as they are basically only variants of the three above.

*
Eoin refers to this as “sustained anchor”, a term coined from the Skagit Spey casting school. according to Ed Ward, the creator of the term, the sustained anchor, a deliberate and prolonged pause (much longer than in traditional Spey casting) before line reversal into the D-loop can only be applied to Skagi-specific casts with i guess, Skagit lines, fast sinking tips and heavy/flies. in other words, Ward ( pointed this out recently on a fly casting forum) wouldn’t agree with his term being used in this video’s context. whatever…
a more universally accepted term for the double-Spey’s anchor is ‘water-borne’ and it’s counterpart, ‘airborne anchor’ applies to the Single Spey or Snake Roll.

**
river right/right bank- the angler has the current going left to right of the intended fishing area.
river left/left bank- the angler has the current going right to left of the intended fishing area.
should the angler be in the middle of the river the left or right bank/river designation will be determined as above by current direction and intended fishing area.

should there be any confusion, imagine you’re on a bridge looking downstream. on the right is right bank, on the left is left bank.

related articles

fitting into tight spaces

by Lee Cummings

over the last few years and among a whole lot of other things, Lee’s been doing a lot of research on shooting heads and more particularly, short, mini and micro heads to be used in the tightest of areas where other lines can’t deliver (pun intended), such as this little seatrout stream in northern England. Lee C's tiny seatrout stream

sure, the need for these is situation-dependant but it does give us the possibility to fish in areas we might generally pass. (and if we pass them there’s a good chance other anglers do it as well, meaning that fish who aren’t comfortable in high-pressure areas will happily congregate there)

without going into the micro-short, the set up below directly inspired by the Skagit school is a very good example of out of the box thinking even though it actually comes straight of a box without any cutting up, weighing, measuring or other fancy finagling. taking the Skagit concept and scaling it all down gives this, and that’s a good this !

“This awesome little set up is handy for fishing the tightest of the tight when it comes to available casting space.
The head in this example comprises of a 5ft Rio floating Skagit cheater coupled with the 1.5″ per second 15ft sink tip that came with the Rio Skagit system.
The running line is simple mono so as to offer minimum resistance and maximum range to this super short and deadly fishing shooting head.”

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fly casting
spey casting
fly lines