Spey Casting Dictionary

Does all of that two-handed rod lingo tangle you up in a knotted, kinky state of confusion? Well after scouring the internet and various print materials, here is a list of some of the more pertinent casts, phrases and other Spey diction.


Important Spey Casting Terms


Photo by Nicholas Conklin, Temple Fork Outfitters.

180-degree principle– The D- loop, anchor and rod should all be aligned 180-degrees from the target.

Anchor– The section of fly line including the leader that lies on water surface at the conclusion of the back cast in preparation for the forward cast. This is also commonly referred to as “stick” or “grip.” Ideally, the less line lying on the water when starting the forward cast, (small stick), the better because less effort will be needed to free the line from the surface.

Anchor Point­­­­- Where the anchor touches the water. As a general rule, this location is slightly forward and a rod’s length to the side the cast is being formed.

Belly or D- loop– Here the term belly does not refer to the fly line’s taper. Instead it is the loop of line formed during the back cast. It normally forms a shape that resembles the letter “D” but accomplished casters making a nearly horizontal back cast stroke followed by an immediate abrupt stop can form a more “V” shaped profile resulting in an even deeper bend in the rod. Up to a point at least, a large belly puts more weight behind the rod, which creates more bend (load). As a result, less effort will be required on the forward cast.

Bloody L– This is an anchor that takes the shape of an “L” and is a result you want to avoid. Instead, the anchor should be in a straight line aligned with the target. This is related to the 180-degree principle below.

Chip Cast– A two-directional and single-plane cast that requires no area behind the caster to form a D-loop.

Classic Spey– The traditional style of spey casting with more rounded rod movements and lifts and dips with the softer-action salmon rods.

Double Spey– A classic spey cast that changes direction with no back cast. This cast is performed with the downstream arm and used when there is either no wind, or a downstream wind.

Grass Leader– A leader designed to spey cast on grass. Made like barbed wire with stiff mono and long tags to grip the grass.

Left Bank/River Left– The side of the river on the left side as you look downstream.

Long Belly Line– A fly line with a belly section longer than 75-feet.

Mid Belly Line– A fly line with a belly section between 65-feet and 75 feet in length.

Splash and go anchor- This is the type of anchor where a section of the fly line and leader make only brief contact with the water surface during the formation of the D- loop. This is used with the switch cast, single Spey, and snake roll casts.

Waterborne anchor – With this anchor a section of fly line and leader is placed on the water surface prior to the back cast. It is used for the double Spey, snap T, and Perry poke.

Perry Poke – This incorporates a waterborne anchor and is used primarily as a recovery move, a means to reposition a misplaced anchor to align it with the target. That are some Skagit casters that “poke” most casts.

Scandinavian Head– A shooting head designed for spey casting. Usually between 35-feet and 44- feet long.

Shooting Line– A thin, level line that attaches to shooting heads for distance. Can be either a hard nylon, or a thin coated fly line.

Short Belly Line– A fly line with a belly section between 55 feet and 65 feet in length.

Skagit Line– A fly line with a very short, heavy head that is usually around 20-feet to 25-feet in length.

Right Bank/River Right– The right side of the river, when looking downstream.

Have something to add? Shoot us an email at Nick@tforods.com and we would be happy to add it to the list!

Photo By Nicholas Conklin.

Photo By Nicholas Conklin.