Basic Spey Casting Terms

UWOTF Basic Spey Casting Terms by Molly Semenik

Spey casting is a form of casting that is used when backcast room is limited. An anchor point is established, a D-loop is formed and the loaded rod executes a forward cast most often with a change of direction from the downstream dangle to the desired target.

Let’s define the basic components of most spey casts: Dangle, Lift, Sweep, Anchor, D-loop, Circle-up into the Key Position, and Forward Cast.

** Extra Credit: the 180 degree rule, the target, anchor and D-loop should all line up in a 180 degree line.

Resources: Two-Handed Fly Casting by Al Buhr and Spey Casting by Simon Gawesworth.


The line’s position prior to the beginning of the cast., usually at the conclusion of the fishing sweep across the water. The line should be straight and taut downstream prior to following cast.


 The lift is a vertical rise of the rod from close to the water to a point at which over 50% of the line is off the water. The lift breaks the water tension and allows the line to leave the water during the sweep. *Different lift styles for different situations.


The sweep starts at the top of the lift and will clear the line from the water and redirect the line into the anchor position.


The fly, leader, and the tip of the line that is set on the water as a result of the lift and sweep. The anchor should be one and a half rod lengths from the caster in front but off to the side (45 degree angle). The anchor provides line stick that tensions the D-loop as it is formed.


The “D” loop is a loop of line that forms behind the rod tip. The D-loop provides resistance so the rod can load or bend. Various shapes of loops can offer different results.


The hand and rod begin to circle upward once the anchor is in place. The circle-up helps set the anchor and gets your hand into the desired position for the forward cast about at one’s ear. The circle-up connects the rear-moving sweep to the Forward Cast.


The Key Position is where you want your hand prior to the forward cast. Usually your top hand is positioned to the side of your head at ear level and the bottom hand centered mid-body in front of the sternum.


Once your hands are in the Key Position, the forward cast begins with the tip traveling in a straight line to the target. The forward cast should be slow, strong and smooth.

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