Slipping Anchor

Some time ago I took part in a debate about the problems of a slipping anchor in Spey casting. One particular instructor stated that, apart from hooking the vegetation behind you, a slipping anchor shouldn’t be a concern.

I don’t agree. Apart from hooking a branch, if the anchor slips in a pretty “clean” scenario there is still the possibility of breaking the hook point against some stone on the bank —probably a worse thing than hooking a tree, as the damaged hook will remained unnoticed.

Moreover, if the line moves backward during the delivery stroke some of the energy needed to send the fly to its target is wasted in that motion, as explained here.

The video opening this piece shows the result of a badly placed anchor combined with a sweep with too steep an incline: the line slips backward and the delivery loop “loses steam” before unrolling.

4 comments on “Slipping Anchor

  1. Eugene Geppert says:

    Slipping anchors are a subject I have been focusing on in my single-hand spey casting. If the V loop has slightly too little energy, the leader-fly fails to change direction and line up in the direction of the cast. If the V loop too much energy (or if the incline is too steep as in the video), the best outcome would be that the fly stays in the water and moves towards shore; the worst outcome would be a slipping or blown anchor. It would be very interesting to see a video of the behavior of an ideal anchor! If it is not humanly possible to have an terminal leader and fly that simply rotate into the right direction and stay stationary in the water, then perhaps there is a range of acceptable anchors in which the slipping backwards is minor and without visible consequences.


    • Aitor says:

      As you say, a sweep with the right amount of force in order to turn the anchor around, leaving it pointing at the target is tricky. If the force isn’t enough we get a bloody L, which wastes a lot of energy of the forward cast.
      In this case, the problem is double: an anchor placed too far back and too steep an incline.


  2. flyqcca says:

    Again a nice example. I’m not sure regarding the steepness /force in this perticular example (not an expert by any means) but it seems to me that the big culprit is the anchor to far upstream… The line end is so far up that when the forward delivery is applied,we have an ‘upstream’ L that sap energy and cause a wave in the cast…

    Thanks again for the opportunity to reflect on this passionate subject.


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