We’re happy to return to Brian Niska‘s series of tips on spey casting. For those of you new to our blog, over the past few months Brian has been taking us through some step-by-step tips on the spey cast. Topics to date have included Wade Shallow and Relax, Start with a Lift, Setting up for the Sweep, The Sweep and Watch the D Loop.
Today Brian’s here to talk a bit about slack, and more specifically, why slack is bad.
Slack is the Enemy
As we move through the cast it is important to avoid the introduction of slack in the fly line to enable efficient rod loading. I often encourage my students to keep tension on the line throughout the cast by explaining to them that “slack is the enemy”.
Here is a blog post from fellow Deneki spey cast instructor Tom Larimer, that uses this same terminology and explains how it relates to anchor placement.
An especially important point here is the gathering of the slack before rod loading can take place. As Tom shows in the video, a slight lifting of the rod before the start of the sweep ensures that there is enough tension for rod loading to begin with the start of the sweep.
Avoiding slack is important throughout the entire cast – once we let slack in, it is hard to get rid of it. To prevent the introduction of slack we need to remember to avoid dropping the rod tip during the cast. This often occurs when the caster ‘cuts the corner’ or doesn’t turn from the hips in the sweep. If the rod tip drops during the sweep it will result in too much line stuck to the water as well as an overall loss of tension and rod load due to slack.
When coaching a caster I watch their D Loop form. I pay close attention to the two feet of line closest to the rod tip as this is the place slack is most common. Watching this transition point gives me instant feedback as to the efficiency of the cast. When done properly, very little of the load created in the sweep will be lost, provided there is enough tension to maintain rod load. Remember the line is innocent, it just follows the rod tip. Keep the rod tip rising and moving through the transition from the D loop into the forward cast and you will be able to keep the rod loaded to its max.