Watch the D Loop
I don’t want to hype it up too much….. but the best speycasting tip you’ll probably ever get is to turn and watch your D-Loop form.
Effectively the spey equivalent of a backcast, the ‘D-Loop’ is the loop of line that forms at the end of the sweep and gets its name from the shape of the loop which looks like the letter D. When done properly the D should line up exactly opposite (180 degrees) of your intended target. As shown in the picture, I like to position the thumb of my top (right) hand so the thumbnail is square to the direction of the D. This gives me a positive reminder to stay in plane and sets up the rod tip to track straight on the forward cast.
I watch my D loop form on every cast. It enables me to better understand the amount of power needed to efficiently work my anchor and gets me turning from the hips and shoulders. It’s this rotation that keeps the rod tip traveling around the caster in a smooth arc rather than cutting the corner and coming over the top. The line follows the rod tip throughout the cast, and as such the area directly above your head should be a no fly zone. Turning from the hip and shoulder makes it easy to watch the rod tip and keep it from traveling directly overhead.
As described in my previous tip, the D-Loop shape is a product of the rod tip movement. You can tell a lot about your cast when you pay attention to the D-Loop. As a casting instructor I spend most of my day watching my clients’ D-Loops. They are often surprised when I call out “good cast” before the cast is complete, but watching D-Loops form allows you to understand what a good cast looks like before it even happens.
Keeping an eye on the formation of the D-loop will give you a visual for the timing of the power application on the forward stroke. When done properly this happens much more slowly than one would think, provided there is good tension on the line there is no need to rush the power application of the forward cast.