Roll/Spey Grass Leader

I occasionally get e-mails asking about roll and Spey casting on grass, and ways in which to make land-bound practice more useful. What follows is an almost-verbatim snip from my Nature of Fly Casting book about one potential aid in grass-casting.

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It can be difficult to get a feel for how the line will behave in the real world if you have to practice roll casts, Spey casts and other waterborne casts on grass rather than water. One work-around, however, is to use Al Buhr’s “grass leader.” The leader discussed here originally appeared in the Summer 1998 edition of The Loop casting journal under the title of “A Grass Leader for Rolls and Speys.”


The upside? Makes rolls and Speys easier on grass. The downside? That’s a lot of blood knots!

The 12-foot leader is made of limp monofilament in one diameter (say .020”), and has three-turn blood (barrel) knots tied every three to four inches. Approximately 1/4- to 3/8-inch of the knots’ tag ends are left sticking out (see the sticky note above). Al recommends both starting and finishing the leader (the line and “fly” ends) with a foot-long piece of straight monofilament. The tag ends catch on grass blades and create resistance something like that created by water. You may find that varying the frequency of knots, as well as the length of the tags will allow you to better handle different types of flora.

For more from Al Buhr, see his highly regarded book, Two-Handed Fly Casting.

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