PART 3: LIFTING AND ANCHORING
Eoin Fairgrieve on how to avoid slack line and crashed anchors
Find out how to avoid slack line and crashed anchors at the start of the single spey cast
THE SINGLE SPEY is arguably the best presentation cast in the speycasting family. It causes minimal disturbance of the water’s surface during the setting up of the D-loop. In one continuous motion, line is lifted from the dangle and repositioned slightly upstream of your position to form a loop of casting energy. Once the line momentarily anchors on the surface, the forward cast is applied and the weight of line stored in the energised back-loop loads the rod. Though this sequence appears straightforward, a common fault is the crashed anchor, where the line bunches on the water prior to the forward delivery. This issue can be traced to one aspect of the upstream casting cycle. As the rod is lifted to release the line from the water in preparation for the upstream sweep, the rod tip is lifted too high. This has the positive effect of lifting the line from the water, but you’re now bound to execute a substantial concave dip in the upward path of the rod track to reposition your anchor slightly upstream of your location. This movement tends to form a high, but shallow D-loop. It’s also likely to result in a length of line a few metres from the tip connecting first with the water’s surface and the remaining line, leader and fly bunching up behind it – hence the term “crashed anchor”. Slack line is the curse of any casting cycle: loss of tension invariably results in a loss of power during the forward delivery. With the single spey, if the line bunches after the upstream anchor connects with the water, valuable forward casting energy from the rod is wasted regaining complete tension in the line. This tension is needed to begin the transfer of energy from the rod through the line to turn over the forward cast. To reduce the risk of the loss of potential water coverage, look to alter your upstream set-up of the single spey. Avoid lifting the rod too high. With modern fly-line heads tending to be shorter, it’s perfectly possible to lift outwards and upwards on an elevated diagonal climbing path to place the anchor upstream of your position. This low-to-high diagonal lift to around about the two o’clock launch position has two main benefits. Firstly, the profile of the casting loop is more pointed and takes on a V- rather than a D-shape. This back-cast loop configuration is very effective at transferring energy into the forward cast. Secondly, and relevant to the crashed anchor, the continual lifting track of the rod tip will almost certainly allow the fly-line to connect with the water straight and under good tension, optimising an energy-efficient forward cast. This lifting concept works well with floating and intermediate lines. If using denser heads with heavy flies, simply roll-cast the line straight downstream to place it on the surface, then perform the single spey. Lifting the rod too high and then dipping it will cause the line, leader and fly to bunch and form a “crashed anchor”.
A correct anchor is made just upstream of the stance. The rod is in the two o’clock position and the D-loop is forming under tension before the forward cast.
Start by lifting outwards and upwards on a climbing diagonal path until the rod is in the two o’clock position.