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The snake roll cast

Devised by Simon Gawesworth in the ’80′s as a quicker alternative to the Double-Spey, this one can be of use for any fly angler. not only fun and quick, it’s usefulness extends to any situation whether it be on large salmon rivers or teeny-tiny trout streams, a boat or lake or sea, basically whenever a quick change of direction cast is needed.

here’s an example: i’m on a lake shore fishing to my right and suddenly i see a rise or a cruiser on my left. instead of lifting the line and doing several aerial back and forth false casts to get the line in the fish’s direction, i simply lift the line, initiate the ‘e‘ mentioned below and bang ! it’s out where i want it in about what ? two to three seconds ! cool, huh ?

” Many, many years ago my father and I ran a fly fishing school in Devon, England on the river Torridge. The pool we used to teach Spey casting on was almost ideal. It was wide enough to throw a full line, shallow and gentle enough to wade to the other side and teach casting from both banks and had a nice high bank from which we used to video casters under tuition. The only thing that was wrong with it was that there was not a lot of current. The caster would stand on the left bank (river flowing from right to left) cast a Single Spey across the pool and then have to wait quite sometime for the current to wash the line back to the dangle. This got frustrating and so I used to use two Roll casts to get the line back downstream (there were too many trees lining the pool to do an overhead cast). The first Roll cast was to get the line in the right area and the second to straighten it out. Over the course of time I started to speed the two roll casts up, merging them into one fluid movement and thus became the Snake Roll. “

drawing the ‘e‘ shape with the rod tip to pull in the line and set up the D-loop
Snake roll

in the video below we see Christopher Rownes‘ absolutely gorgeous performance of the Snake Roll cast with a single hand rod. trés suave !


let’s always keep in mind that contrary to what many people perceive them to be, Spey casts are casts that can be done regardless of equipment, with both single and double handed rods. they’re not a designation of how many hands are holding the rod.
in it’s simplest form, we’ll define spey casts as ‘change of direction casts’: a repositioning of the fly line followed by a roll cast.
the Snake Roll is one of the alternatives in doing this all in one continuous, graceful and highly effective motion.
it’s an easy and quick cast to learn and a definite bonus to your casting repertoire, give it a try !

Text by Marc Fauvet