In the past 5+ years, a lot has changed with spey fishing whether you are using the long rod or a switch rod. There are definitely more people giving it a try, but many of them don't have their heart behind it and are relying on buying things to help them in their quest for success. Don't get me wrong, some things will help, new toys are cool, but at the end of the day it comes down to knowing the river, reading water, how the fish behave, and making every cast count......even the bad ones.
Some people don't like to admit defeat or failure and that is a bad thing when on the quest for knowledge. If you can't be honest that you made a mistake than how can you learn from your mistakes? Lets take spey casting for instance. I bet many of you have heard someone say that this line isn't right for my rod or this rod isn't for this type casting etc... It's pretty easy to match spey rods and spey lines in this day age, but you hardly hear any one blame bad casting on operator error even though that is typically where the problem lies. Be honest with yourself and take the time to practice during the off season. Maybe hire an instructor or have a friend video your casting so that you can compare your stroke to an accomplished spey caster.
Almost all of the people that I know that are good at spey casting didn't learn everything on day one. In fact, all of them are still learning and continue to practice during the off season and put what they have learned to use during the season. It's a never ending journey if you continue to learn and it will also be an interesting journey if you make it a point attack your weaknesses. If you don't, you'll be stuck in a rut and resort to buying more gear you probably don't need.
Make the Bad Casts Count
Not every cast is going to be perfect or turn over how we would like it, but that doesn't mean cast and cast again until it looks pretty. Fish don't care how pretty your casts are, but they do know a well presented fly when they see one. So you've a made decent cast but it didn't turn over how you would have liked. Well, make the best of it. You might have to strip some line in to get the line tight. Maybe you'll have to make a big mend upstream or downstream. Do it and fish the fly out to the dangle. Sometimes that bad cast might be the perfect cast, but we won't know it until we fish it through. If you do get a take, remember how the scenario played out. Was it a downstream mend that got the fly more broadside and sped the fly up during the swing. Maybe it was an upstream mend that let the fly sink a little deeper and helped the fly swing slower throughout the swing. Try it again, the fish might be giving you a big hint as to how they want the fly presented that particular day.
Magic Flies AKA Silver Bullets
Some flies may seem to work better than others but I don't think there are any magical flies or silver bullets that will always get a tug and bring a fish to shore. I think a lot of it has to do with what flies we have gained confidence in over the years and we fish those flies with our heart behind it, meaning that we are not focused on the fly pattern being used, but more focused on reading the water and making good casts and swinging the fly with confidence. Obviously it takes some time to get confidence in your flies so instead of having every type of fly, focus on a few proven patterns for the river you fish.