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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Terrace, BC
    Posts
    68

    Default Fishing a Long Line

    One of the things I love about salmon/steelhead fishing is Spey casting and I've worked hard to become a better caster over the years. I'd never claim to be a brilliant caster, but I'm definitely much better than I was!

    When I started Spey casting I imagined that if I learned to cast a long line I would catch a lot of extra fish. As I've got a bit more experienced, I begin to think that that isn't really the case. Yes, it's a useful weapon in the armoury to fish the odd holding spot a way out but these days I'm rarely trying to bang out long casts. There's a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, unless the current is particularly uniform, the longer a cast is the harder it is to mend it so that it fishes properly. Secondly, it's tiring.

    For those reasons I spend most of my time these days banging out around 80' (depending on the water I'm fishing). Whatever technique I've acquired over the years I use to make those casts without much effort and to ensure they turn over properly and land nice and straight.

    I'd be interested in other people's thoughts. Do you feel that casting a long line makes a significant difference to your catch rate?

    T
    Last edited by TommyC; 13-04-2019 at 11:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,049

    Default

    Hi Tommy,

    Are we talking about the length of the belly of my lines or strictly distance I usually cast?

    Without waiting for an answer: most my favorite lines are 45 - 55 foot belly full Spey lines. I still have the 70 foot 700 grain line I learned with but did scale down to the shorter heads so I could turn heavier flies.

    Distance wise I'm most comfortable around 60 to 75 feet but have the ability to cast farther. The truly long casts take a lot more focus and energy so I try to stay within my comfort zone. I also use a rather novel approach to how I sink flies that you may find interesting or not...… If you search for 'Streamer Fishing Techniques by Ard Stetts' there is a video in which I show my leader rigging and fishing style.

    I just couldn't stand to see the post go unanswered

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Terrace, BC
    Posts
    68

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
    Hi Tommy,

    Are we talking about the length of the belly of my lines or strictly distance I usually cast?

    Without waiting for an answer: most my favorite lines are 45 - 55 foot belly full Spey lines. I still have the 70 foot 700 grain line I learned with but did scale down to the shorter heads so I could turn heavier flies.

    Distance wise I'm most comfortable around 60 to 75 feet but have the ability to cast farther. The truly long casts take a lot more focus and energy so I try to stay within my comfort zone. I also use a rather novel approach to how I sink flies that you may find interesting or not...… If you search for 'Streamer Fishing Techniques by Ard Stetts' there is a video in which I show my leader rigging and fishing style.

    I just couldn't stand to see the post go unanswered
    Thanks Hardyreels - I was just talking about the distance you usually cast.

    i've actually already read your excellent post about how you sink your flies. Very interesting reading and genuinely innovative imho.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,049

    Default

    Thank you for the vote of confidence Tommy; even when using a 15 foot rod I seldom have to push much beyond 80 feet. I estimate distance by knowing the length of my leader at 15 feet - the olive green body of my line at 45 - usually 10 or 15 feet of my orange running line out and the length of the rod at roughly 13 feet extending outward from my position. Let me see what that is......looks like 83 to 88 feet when using the big rod on big rivers

    What type lines do you use, length and weight?

  5. #5

    Default

    Over the years I have come to the conclusion that most fish are caught closer in. Being stealthy and good presentation are much more important. There are of course occasions when you need to cast a long way but these are the exception. I recently tried the new Rio running line which has a colour change every 10ft. Quite enlightening. It showed that I can cast 100ft with my 15ft rod (that’s including leader,head and running line) if I get things right, using a scandi multi tip line but usually I was casting about 70 to 80ft and covering the water I needed to. This was the comfort range for me anyway. This was on the River Dee in March

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    N W Highlands
    Posts
    371

    Default Reaching out too far can bring problems

    As I advance in years I draw on my accumulated knowledge and experience more often.
    On large rivers casting a long line brings a major control issues and that to me is mending and in a week, fatigue. I fish with a 14' FX1 along with RIO long belly lines and use a single spey or double spey for about 95% of my casting. I think too much emphasis is placed on reaching out as far as you can. This is in my opinion is a misguided notion. Countless times I have seen anglers cast way beyond the taking spot, because they can. Without digressing it is quite similar to some anglers who equipped with chest waders will gaily wade into a pool, over the top of the fish and attempt a cast into the next county, because they can and lack the knowledge and experience. Knowledge of the lies and taking places at different river heights is much more important than being able to cast a long line. So I am happy to cast my long belly plus a 5' polytip plus say 4-5' of leader.
    Whereas on my local spate rivers often the shorter the better.
    Dare I say it I seem to catch my allotted number.
    M
    Start ankle deep with a short line, all wild fish go back

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Gods County
    Posts
    4,394

    Default

    Every time we have a similar topic it always boils down to the same thing, wading too far and casting past any fish that are closer.
    Well aside to the fact of physically reaching fish out in the stream of bigger rivers, the most important reason for casting a long line is to control the speed of your flee and how its fishing.
    Now before we go any further,I'd say there's casting a long line and casting a long line.Merely lobbing it all out there and letting the current do the job isn't really best use of a long line.Those who can cast a long line at the correct angle, nice n straight as far as it needs to be cast are the ones doing the catching of fish.
    Rather sadly it seems to be accepted that just lobbing it all out there will do the job, long long way off the mark I'm afraid.The line you cast-albeit short or long- needs to land tight and straight, gently too with as little disturbance as possible, at the angle you are aiming for in order to fish your flee at the speed you want it to fish.If you are the type who struggles to hit the same river in consecutive casts, well sorry but there's not much exercise of control over your flee there..
    Sadly whether you like it or not, what sets the better anglers aside from those of a lessor skill level is the ability to control the flee and the higher the skill level an individual has then the greater circumstances that individual can control their flee throughout.
    Arguably the skill level lays in knowing where you should be giving your best efforts in fishing your flee.
    The greater the distance you cast, the more input needed to get the flee to do what's required, the greater the individuals skill needed not only to cast that far but needed to impart any form of control over the flee to gain best effects.
    Dare I say it myself,I catch my share too and that's at a range from just off my boot toes to as far as I can cast at times.However for me the important thing is not merely getting the flee out there, rather how it gets out there and how it behaves when its out there..
    There's a lot of mileage in this topic yet, going to need a second bowl of cereal and a bigger pot of tea 1st.
    Cast on dudes.Pedro.

  8. #8

    Default

    Mixed feeling about this. I think it's important to have the choice - ie ability - to chuck a long line because in a lot of situations it's necessary. And it's pretty damn cool. Sadly it's a skill I'm still learning.

    I was on a big river last year and was advised by the guide to try to cast further 'just in case there are fish in the middle' .wink.

    But also if you're fishing blind, searching for fish, casting to the far bank, swinging the fly to the near bank and taking a step or two does actually cover the whole river.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Stirling
    Posts
    5,907

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tangled View Post
    Mixed feeling about this. I think it's important to have the choice - ie ability - to chuck a long line because in a lot of situations it's necessary. And it's pretty damn cool. Sadly it's a skill I'm still learning.
    That is very true and I know 3 lies on my local beat where you need to be able to cast 105ft+ whilst up to your belly, one of them with no space for a big D as the wading positing is tight against a high bank. 2 out of 3 of these lies perform every autumn, the 3rd should do better this year as accumulated debris shielding it has been removed.
    Sadly, of course, these are all river fish but when we used to get licers through September and October they held fish just the same.
    The point being here is that the other 2 rods are quite happy with 75 foot casts so I have a larder all to myself that I plunder every visit whilst the other lads complain about not being able to reach them and blank on some days when I have done O.K.
    I honestly think you need a long cast in your repertoire for these situations, it definitely helps to pull one or 2 out of the bag. My 2 mates won't even try and I don't know why.
    Anyway, despite being able to throw a long cast or 2, it hasn't helped me so far this season, that monkey remains super glued to my back and its getting decidedly smellier.
    Last edited by keirstream; 14-04-2019 at 10:27 AM.
    Respect My Authorita!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    576

    Default

    A lot of sense being talked above.
    If you’re on your “own” bit of water - first run thru the pool - up to your shins wading, poly & dressed fly. Second run wade deeper, same set up. Third run - sinking line & tube - chuck it far and give it a good trawl through.
    Bit different on club/Association water when it’s busy and you’re following others.
    One other point - if you’re fishing a longer line than you normally fish & fishing off the reel - set your drag a bit tighter - the extra line adds tension meaning possibly - fish on - oh .hite, where did that go, thought it was a good take...

    And to the OP - a good skill to have - but use it to catch fish.
    Last edited by neilt; 14-04-2019 at 10:52 AM.

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