I finally made a couple decent casts, and Michael told me to repeat the process of making a couple decent drifts and then taking a step downstream. He left to visit other fishermen on the beat.
In his absence, I began to concentrate on fundamentals, which seemed to come down to the proper angles. First, the angle of the rod as I lifted line from the water had to be straight overhead, parallel to my right ear with some oomph, in order to whip the line from downstream to behind me upstream to anchor it properly. After I anchored the line, I concentrated on bringing the rod back through the same angle, but going forward, and again, parallel to my right ear as I pushed the tip-top with oomph to a quick stop.
Photo by Simon Barr - Tweed Media
Simon, who’d been shooting photographs with his camera and new drone, waded out. He’s an experienced Spey angler, and he said, “You’re doing well for a beginner, and I’m not wanting to change what you’re doing, but we can finesse how you’re doing it.”
He told me I was letting the anchored line sink too much, and that my mechanics needed to be smoother. Planting the rod butt in my gut and turning my hips toward the anchored line just before I began the roll cast would help fix both. Most important, he said, “You need to speed up the process of anchoring the line, then slow down on your forward cast.”
Taking his advice and finally coordinating the movements, my speed in anchoring the line increased, and that gave me time to concentrate for a second at the beginning of the forward cast to focus on the fundamental of stopping at about two o’clock. As I began the push forward, I recall the rod bending deep into cork, and it felt good—similar to a good swing that results in a line drive or, closer still, a jump shot that feels so good in timing and form, you know the ball is going in as soon as it leaves your hand.