This is the type of cast that I like the most. After seeing this technique for the first time things really took off, I have never been out practising with the fly rod as much as during this period. I experienced a completely new world of opportunities, which made my fishing more effective. I had been spey casting for several years, but combining this cast with the snake roll made it possible to cast in very different ways. I contributed strongly to the development of this cast, and many fishermen tell me that they have never seen the Air Snake technique until hey saw me use it. I will write a lot about this casting techniques from now on.
The alternatives are: Single Snake Roll, Double Snake Roll, Air Snake, and Opposite Air Snake. If you master this wonderful cast with both arms, you will almost never face a challenge on the river that you cannot overcome. With these combinations you can cast even in very strong winds, and in the spots that are still to tight to fly fish in you will probably not even be able to get into the water, even without a rod. Thus, you will cast with more control when using the Snake Roll in strong winds. The reason for this is that the leader will have a higher speed as it hits the water in the inwards phase of the cast than when spey casting. When performing the Snake Roll motion with the rod you initiate a rotation of the line, and when the whole line hangs in the air, it is simply easier to control its speed. Another advantage is that the shooting head is made shorter by using this circular movement, which helps you cast in extremely tight spots, and you can angle the cast much more as well. Another thing about the Snake Roll that fascinates me is that in most situations I will be able to do just fine using only one arm (e.g. my right arm), I can cast and solve most situations using the same arm from both sides of the river.
When spey casting two different scenarios may arise, making it difficult when fishing in strong winds.
1) Even if you master the single spey cast using both your left or your right arm you will experience problems when the wind is howling downriver. In this situation, it is normal to switch to the double spey cast, but even so, you will have to lift your line up against the wind. In this situation, the Snake Roll is a truly fantastic cast to use, as you build up the inwards phase of the cast from the side of the body that is sheltered from the wind.
2) If you only master spey casting with one arm, you will often face problems with the double spey cast in different situations. Another important difference is that the double spey cast is not tha efficient in combination with our modern, fast-action fly rods, as this cast has a slow-building casting rhythm. Snake Roll, on the other hand, is perfect for use with fast-action rods and shooting heads. The Snake Roll cast is also easier to angle than the double spey cast as you are already manipulating the angle at the inwards phase of the cast, downstream of you.
The examples I describe in this article only include a few; the article would have become far too wordy should I include examples of all variations of combination casts. Combining the spey cast and different variations of the Snake Roll cast will make you an extremely skilled fly caster and a very efficient fly fisherman. Please do not regard this article as promoting a negative view of the spey cast, e.g. when I present examples where the Snake Roll is more effective than the spey cast. I write this because there is a technical casting solution almost regardless of the challenges facing you when you master and combine the spey and the Snake Roll casts. My thoughts behind the combination casts I develop is to become a better fly caster and salmon fisher, and I hope this article will inspire you to practice more with the fly rod.
On those days with lots of wind, it is an advantage to use a sinking line, This will cut through the wind much easier, and you will avoid that the line drifts through the water too quickly when the wind pushes the line downstream faster than the current. This also goes for situations when the river is low, then you just choose a lighter sinking line. I recommend a sink1/sink2.
Short video clip.
In this short clip, you will see casting sequences using normal Snake Roll, Air Snake, and Opposite Air Snake casts. You will see two different situations, the first one is a basic explanation of the cast, the other one is how I cast using sinking lines and Snake Roll casts. The short clip is taken from my latest DVD, “Fishing Summer on the River Gaula”.
See the clip here.