a lot more than just a fun thing to do, what we’re mostly seeing here (and outside of some outstanding loops) is, although a fly rod makes fly casting and fishing easier, it’s not the rod that makes the cast.
take the caster out of the equation and nothing happens. we cast fly lines, not fly rods.
for sure, the ‘rod hand’ is flexing a bit but it’s nowhere comparable to the bend a rod experiences with the same cast. to understand concepts better sometimes its good to test extreme opposites and compare the results so, seeing that it is quite easy to get fantastic loop shapes with a broomstick (completely rigid lever) as well, it looks like we can remove the over-rated ‘rod load’ concept from the all-essential list of items that make a cast work or not. just as Bernd is doing here with his hand, it’s what (how) we do with the rod tip that makes the line do what we want it to do. it’s a lot more about how we move rather than what we use.
“You can’t feel, hear, smell or taste the quality of your back cast but you can see what happens.”
today’s quote by Bernd Ziesche
an old saying in casting instruction is “The quality of the front cast is conditioned by the quality of the back cast”. the back cast is 50% of a full casting cycle which means it’s just as important as the front cast. the back cast is also something that as far as i can find out, and i’ve been searching for several years, is the only activity where we throw something behind us. our physiology and activities are based on what’s in front of us and we do that very well. however, since we’re not used to throwing behind, this is an area we want to work on using what we have. luckily, that what is probably our strongest sense, the sense we rely on the most, vision.
so, as Bernd so perfectly explains, if we want to improve our casting we need to know what’s going on behind us and the solution is as simple as learning to turn the head around to watch what’s going on but maybe more importantly, to confirm or not what we think is going on and thereon we can adjust what needs to be adjusted.
in case you’re thinking, “wait a minute, am I supposed to turn around all the time ? when i’m casting just a few meters ?” the answer is: obviously not.
just as when we start off fly casting and learn to do a straight line cast (and learn to no more do straight line casts just as soon as we learned how to do them !) this is a foundation exercise and these exercises are meant to build up our capabilities and senses and here’s the paradox: we want to develop the exact same senses Bernd said we couldn’t use ! this new learning and exercise needs a little time and regular practice. don’t practice it while fishing as it’s almost always counter-productive to practice and do the activity at the same time as we do neither well.
as for the pic, yup it’s me and yup it says FF&W, Jason Borger’s site Fish, Flies & Water but more on that later !