I just can’t help it. I must be hard-wired to want to help others be the best two-hand casters they can be. It’s compulsory. I can’t get away from it.
In my mind, becoming a better caster means being able to execute all phases of the cast cleanly and with minimal effort, while also eliminating the (terrifying) fear and (very real) possibility of receiving nasty wallop self-inflicted body piercings. Tall order, right? Especially for those new to two-handed casting. For most, it takes a bit of quality instruction and gobs of practice to build a sound foundation. I’m not trying to target a specific experience level with this post. This is for EVERYBODY. “So, what’s the message here Dec??”
Simple. We all need to learn and exercise versatility in our casting.
In 2013, I was lucky enough to spend a decent chunk of time on a few magnificent steelhead rivers. All too often, I’d see efficient, skillful casters fall to pieces when fishing conditions changed. I remember watching a fellow fisher-person bombing precision double spey casts from “river-right” as they worked fluidly through a run. It was a joy to watch. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the wind began blasting upriver.
I instinctively expected to see this individual transition to an upstream anchored cast in an effort to work safely with the wind, rather than dangerously against it. Sound familiar? Trust me, this is a common issue. Unfortunately, I regularly witness technically superb casters insist on using the same cast in all conditions. When it works, it works. When it doesn’t, it REALLY doesn’t!
As previously stated, I’m hard-wired to try and help others. On several occasions, I delicately and diplomatically spoke to several of these frustrated anglers. Interestingly, they all said the same thing…“I don’t know what happened, my casting just went to s&#t!” I would tell them that they were casting great until the wind changed, then ask why they didn’t adjust to the wind. The most common response (drum roll, please): “I’m not comfortable casting that way”.
When I’m teaching group classes or giving individual lessons, we always spend a good bit of time discussing the detrimental importance of being versatile. We MUST learn to comfortably cast with both upstream and downstream anchors from either side of the river. It’s that simple.
When conditions change – even slightly – it’s crucial to recognize the shift and adjust accordingly. Of course, “changing conditions” are not limited to wind direction. Current speed and depth, angle of desired presentation, and obstructions (i.e., exposed boulders and over-hanging tree limbs), are all factors that influence casting conditions.
Learning to comfortably cast using both an upstream anchor and a downstream anchor from either side of the river will allow you to fish when/where you may not have been able to in the past. And you’ll do it both safely and efficiently.
Two of the common downstream anchor casts are the Double Spey and Snake Roll. For an upstream anchor the most common casts are the Single Spey, Snap-T and C-Spey, and the Perry Poke.
Just get out and practice whichever is most comfortable. And I do mean practice.
These are tools you need to be safe and efficient. You’ll have more fun and hook more fish! I promise.
See ya on the river! – Dec