Single Spey cast
The principles of Fulcrum Fly Casting are applied throughout almost all casting movements during the single Spey Cast, as top hand dominated movements can be inefficient, especially when changing the angle of the rod during casting movements. A good example of dominant top handed movements is during the single Spey cast- let’s say for example, during a 90 deg single Spey cast. In order to create an effective change in direction, the rod tip must first travel outwards in an elliptical type path or shape before turning and sweeping back inwards and upwards. It must then continue rising progressively into the casting position to form the correct D loop, anchor placement and alignment. The movement is critical especially while performing a single Spey cast with an angle change of 90 degrees. In order for the rod tip to travel on this path effectively it will have to be pivoted and turned using correct use of the body as it is guided by the upper hand and pivoted and steered by the lower hand. I have lost count of how many times I have seen the rod being pulled across by the upper hand in almost a straight line as the bottom hand is nothing more than a passenger.The caster tries using increased speed and upper body rotation while extending his arm backwards, all the time wishing the line into place, however it’s bound not to happen. By allowing the movement of the top hand to continually precede the movement of the lower hand it is very difficult to create effective angle change and form the acute elliptical “outward then inward” path that the rod tip must travel in. All that will often be achieved is a more rounded wider movement. This will often result in misplacement and misalignment of the D loop. Also valuable line momentum which should contribute to effective D loop formation will become ineffective as it will be completely out of alignment with the intended casting direction. It is more likely that the D loop will be closer in alignment to where the line came from rather than to where it is going.
There are many circumstances and variables in Spey casting, adjustments have to be made regularly to suit the changing environment and conditions. However, by understanding the parameters within effective casting we then have an understanding of what is efficient and what is not.
How to do the Single Spey Cast
Each movement in Spey casting is inter-reliant and fits together like a jigsaw from start to finish. As in many other sports, a correct stance is very important to provide the correct alignment and channel energy in the correct direction. Also, I want to stress how very important it is that Spey Casting starts from our feet and progresses up through our body during weight shift, upper body rotation. Another very important point is that by placing our leading foot corresponding with the same hand that is uppermost on the rod, it provides a natural block at our upper body and shoulders preventing or minimising the possibility of over rotation of the upper body. If we swap feet it is easily recognisable how I could be over rotating our shoulders completely out of alignment throughout the Single Spey set up and final movements. The correct stance is very important.
The initial Lift-The angle or height that the rod is raised as we prepare to make a single Spey Cast is an important consideration. There are many contributory factors and variables that can dictate how high the initial lift is in preparation to make a cast. These variables can include length of line and length of rod, whether or not we are in an elevated bank side position or if we are wading, the speed and flow of the water. Efficiency in some of the aforementioned situations can sometimes be maintained by a decrease or increase in the speed or tempo of our casting movements. But one of the most important factors that are often not considered is the desired angle change of our cast. If we want to cast to 45 degrees and by taking the above points into consideration, it is perfectly logical that in order to cast the same length of line to 90 degrees we will require a much more of a sharper turn and different path of the rod tip, therefore the rod will be raised higher at the lift to accommodate this movement. All else being equal, the rod tip path has to be different as the turn is more acute. This is easily achieved by raising the rod a bit higher to accommodate this. The rod tip path is not a rounded movement but more of a tilted oval which must become narrower as the angle of our cast increases. Therefore this is much easier achieved if the rod is raised higher during the initial lift as the line is now closer and the turn is much more defined than before.
The first movement in the single Spey Cast is outward
The 45 degree and 90 degree Single Spey-As mentioned before when we make a Spey cast, we are trying to turn and guide our line into position, using the appropriate movements to create the correct rod tip path. This is critical if we are to align our D loop and anchor position opposite where we want to cast. It is how this turn and change of direction is achieved that is the key to efficiency. In the previous section I mentioned the greater the change of direction we require then the angle of the rod will be steeper or higher at the lift, this helps create and maintain the correct rod tip path throughout the casting movements. The more the change of direction then the higher the rod tip path will be, within reason. This combined with correct upper body movement helps create the most acute turn. In order for the line to turn, especially during larger changes of direction, it must be teased outward before being turned back inward and progressing into the incline to form the D loop. The line must follow this outward path first regardless of casting style as it cannot cut corners and it would be practically impossible to make a fully effective and efficient change of direction otherwise.
90 Degree Single Spey Cast
If, for example we look at the 90 deg Spey cast then the typical rod tip path would be a fairly narrow elliptical movement. The rod tip will start of high and then loses height as the line is teased out stream before turning and following on an incline to the key position. If we lay enough line out on the water surface. Then hold the handle of the rod at the uppermost point and now trace the rod to follow the elliptical shape on the water, you will see that the line will automatically want to turn into position. Also because you do not have your hand on the bottom or butt of the rod you will be able to observe how this will pivot and turn into position unhindered. This is the natural movement it must take in order for the tip to travel round in the correct shape of movement. This movement of the butt is usually hindered, albeit by the lower hand and by pulling of the top hand. I have observed this many times and it is another excellent example of not allowing the rod to pivot or turn around via the upper hand when required. As mentioned above a common trait of top hand dominant movement is that the top hand will pull as the bottom hand follows aimlessly. The bottom hand will eventually move into position as the caster raises the rod prior to his or her forward delivery, but by that time it is too late. The rod tip has taken a bend to where the line was, and with no attempt to turn the line outward first in the correct movement (which as mentioned requires the bottom hand pivoting around the upper hand) the rod tip cannot form or travel in the required elliptical shape and is instead pulled across in front. The result will be poorly positioned anchor and misalignment of the D loop which is totally inefficient.
The Forward delivery
It is also important to note that during the single Spey, as with many of the other Spey cast’s there is a re-positioning movement which is to drift slightly up and back with the arms and rod simultaneously as the anchor touches down. This not only allows the D loop to fully correctly and align it helps maintain tension and absorb any potential rearward tug on the rod tip. In addition, it gives us slightly more range of movement to provide smooth acceleration. When we can control our line and influence correct anchor placement and alignment then timing and observation will be our main focus. As we see the anchor touching down we can lead using the upper body and accelerate in a forwards and downward movement. If we require a tight loop then speed should be limited to the very last portion of the casting movement with an effective stop and block to create rod tip speed.