Spey fishing has really grown in the past several years to become a much more “normal” way of fishing in the US. It is even being used anywhere there is a current and swinging flies is a key. We encourage our guests to take a break from traditional fly fishing and give spey fishing for salmon a try…and one of my guides even targets snook in Florida near bridges and jetties on the spey rod!
The spey rod has grown so much in the US, well, because it works! It works with a lot less effort, and if swinging flies is the best method for your targeted species, then spey fishing is just the ticket. The line technology has evolved a lot in the past as well. This is also a huge contributing factor to its popularity. The newer “compact Skagit’s” are really making a huge difference in the fly-fishing industry. These large, short heads attached to the running line make roll casting much easier and more powerful. Yes, power! You can actually spey cast and shoot line even further from a roll cast than one can do with a tradition single hand rod utilizing a double haul method.
Spey casting is basically utilizing different types of roll casts. The types of spey casts are dictated by wind and river flow. I could go into the major types of casts like the “snap T”, “snake roll”, etc., but the other named casts all achieve the same thing. The spey casts all form an “anchor” where the line is on the water and the rod is up high at about 1:00 ish if you will, with the letter “D” being made by the belly of line coming from the rod tip to the water surface. Just like a traditional roll cast, the spey cast has to be anchored to the water to achieve a good cast. Currents flowing from right to left, or left to right, with winds on shoulder or off shoulder make the big difference in what cast to utilize. It is always about keeping the line from rolling over on itself and keeping the fly away from your face on the cast. Pretty simple, and teaching a novice fly angler on the water is as easy or easier than teaching a single hand cast.
The bottom line to all the spey cast popularity is that if you wish to swing a fly, there is simply no better way than to spey cast. You will keep your fly in the water longer over the course of the day and with less effort. There you have it, simple 101 spey fishing.