From first timers to seasoned pros, we do a lot of spey casting instruction at our lodges in Alaska and British Columbia with folks of all levels of experience with a two handed rod.
For those just getting started in skagit style spey casting (the style we use most on our rivers), we tend to focus on two fundamental casts, the double spey and the circle spey (or snap-T). Both of these casts can be learned quickly and collectively allow for fishable casts from both sides of the river and under the vast majority of fishing situations.
However, many of our more experienced anglers are often interested in learning new casts during their stay, the most common of which is the snake roll.
Defined as a ‘kiss and go’ (or splash and go) cast, meaning the anchor and D-loop are formed at the same moment, the snake roll is most often associated with more traditional casting styles like scandi or mid-long belly spey casting. That said, while not necessarily as graceful, the snake roll can still be a useful cast while skagit-casting as well.
While the snake roll is a super fun cast to use, as well as looks really cool in the air (the most common reason we get asked about it), the ability to redirect your line from the hang-down to the middle of the river in one movement makes it an extremely efficient cast compared to ‘sustained anchor’ casts like the double spey. In other words, your fly spends more time fishing throughout the day, thus maximizing your chances of connecting with a fish.
That said, while efficient, most would agree that the snake roll is also one of the most difficult casts to learn (much less teach).. But fret not, we were recently sent a great video put together by the folks at Ashland Fly Shop that we think gives one of the best explanations of properly executing the snake roll that we’ve seen, and we just didn’t feel right not sharing it with you.
If you’re intimidated by the snake roll, be sure to watch the video below. It won’t disappoint.
Note: If you’re viewing this in a newsletter or a reader, click here to see the video on YouTube.