fun and games

a little bent-over from my recent trip last June in Malaysia.  following our casting demos where a whole slew of casting games to keep the attendees entertained while waiting out the thunderstorm.
this one’s rules where easy: feet behind the first plate, curve the line around the blue basket and place the yarn leader tip on the plate to the right in three tries.
just as in real-life fishing, nobody told me i had stand up. we do what we have to to try to get the job done…

marc-fauvet-limpcobra-sabah-flyfishing-fair_140530_0021

image via Juan Wei and SportFishin.Asia

Fly Casting- What does a Tailing Loop look like ?

upon seeing this image on a casting discussion board recently i instantly replied “that’s not a tailing loop !”, further reminding me of just how many people have a false impression of what a TL looks like.
cast_looptypes
all of these images where easily found on the net, have been displayed on sites and forums and seem to be eagerly accepted by a large percentage of those posting and viewing them.
my point here isn’t to go into the causes of tailing loops but of identifying them because to work on a casting problem first requires properly identifying what needs to be worked on before doing anything about it.
Unknownfigure15

more examples by different sources but basically the same as above.

pic1this one’s getting there, could be considered a ‘tailing tendency’ because of the slight dip of the fly leg but most probably won’t lead to any problem. it does however get a few bonus points for having nice background colours.tailingon this one they managed to draw/put the tail on the rod leg !
most definitely a first as a TLs happen on the fly leg of the line…

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now, before explaining why those aren’t tails and why they’re not half as bad as some might have us think lets have a look at some real ones: the really bad nasty ones.
unlike the ones above, tailing loops with a big dip in the fly leg that like to collide with the rod leg and really mess up our cast, scare fish, make friends laugh and sometimes make knots in our leaders. tailing loops can serve no good or creative purpose. they are faults. this is what they look like.

with great help from Bruce Richards, first up are two graphic overlays taken from the video with easily understandable ‘rod tip path throughout the stroke, line path and post-stroke rod tip rebound’ colour separations to help us see what’s happening in real, not something born of imagination.

TailingLoop 1 Bruce RichardsTailingLoop 2 Bruce Richards

what we’ll notice right away compared to the previous images is that the dip in the fly leg crosses the rod leg twice. the dip in the line is there since the rod tip dipped and came back up during the stroke and this dip propagates down the line as it unrolls. the line and leader unrolls poorly and if the unrolling dip is too close to the rod leg there’s collision making bad worse.
some casting-geek colleagues might disagree with the crossing twice part as a for-sure sign of of a TL and indeed, line collision is the real nasty and isn’t dependant of how many times the line legs cross themselves however, my point here isn’t to go into minute subtleties or go against their way of thinking but to help out casters of all levels to differentiate between crossed loops and tailing loops. they’re different beasts.

i won’t go so far as to say that the first images demonstrate ‘ideal’ casting form (whatever that is) but even if some of the drawing authors bothered to include a concave path of the rod tip during the stroke hinting to what is ultimately the cause of real tails, ultimately, what we’re seeing in the drawn line paths are crossed loops and crossed loops are not a fault as long as the line legs don’t collide.

its not very common to see all-in-one-plane candy cane loops, specially with longer lengths of line carried.
crossed loops constitute about 99% (that’s just a guess but the percentage is very high) of all casts from casters of all levels, irregardless of casting school styles, casting overhead or off to the side.

crossed loops are an obvious necessity for all roll and Spey casts, many non-linear presentation casts or simply to cast out of plane to not risk banging ourselves in the back of the head with a heavy Clouser.
the Gebetsroither-Austrian-Belgian-Italian, Kreh, saltwater and almost every style of casting is based on casting in two planes and the result is a crossed loop. to put it another way, on a global level its the norm.

hopefully these few words will be of help, specially to those that might be worried because they’re not casting perfect candy-cane shaped loops.
unless you’re doing big nasty Bruce-Type tails you’re probably not doing so badly after all…

Fly Casting Accuracy with Simon Zarifeh

Simon is a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Master Casting Instructor from Australia and a fine example of the high quality of fly casting instruction from that part of the world.

i’m very much in tune with his approach, in fact i’ve been working on several articles that incorporate most of what we’ll see below but in the meantime… highlighted here are the key points of the presentation you’ll want to focus on.

- Precise Focusing – simply put, we can’t place our flies precisely if we’re not visually and mentally focussing on a specific and well defined spot.
Dominant Eye Detection – common to all types of shooting activities, dominant eye detection is basically unheard of in the fly casting world. do this simple test, it just might change your life.
Stance, the Triangle – i’d never considered envisioning the stance as a triangle but it makes perfect sense and am super glad to have learned this here. to add to Simon’s explanation, this stance combined with a little SRB prepare our bodies for supple and relaxed casting.
Head Position – what came to mind when listening to this part was a medical study i read years ago on the main cause of motorcycle crashes. these where wipe-out-in-turns crashes caused by the rider themselves, not collisions with cars etc and they where all related to over-tilting the head. basically, tilt your head and you loose or at least weaken distance and three-dimensional perception. thank goodness we don’t suffer from broken bones, road rashes and death when we fly cast but its still something to think about.
Pick a Target - this comes back to Precision Focusing but the trick here is to learn to focus away from the fish target and create a fly target, often where there really isn’t anything concrete to focus on. that’s the trick !
180° and Narrow Loop - back to The Five Essentials. they’re always there…
Elbow Movement - the elbow needs to go up on the back cast and come down on the front cast. elbow, rod hand, rod tip and loop all in the same plane. this is an integral part of Jason Borger’s ‘Foundation Casting Stroke’ and was probably the first thing i picked up and worked on when i started taking fly casting seriously. this makes casting, specially short and typical fishing distances easy, precise and repeatable.

this is really-really good stuff i hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from.
there’s a little something in it for everyone.

Fly Casting Instructor Demo – Sabah, Malaysia

amazing the things one finds when trolling the net !
this morning, while watching a fly fishing video i saw my name on the youtube sidebar and of course opened the page. the funny thing is, i didn’t even know this video existed ! but what a nice surprise as it brought back fond memories of a fantastic trip among some of the finest and talented people i’ve ever met.

just to set the context: saturday morning in the deepest-darkest Malaysian jungle. it had been and continued raining hard as it so often happens in rain forests so we decided to do our demo day indoors at the lodge safely protected from the elements with the coffee machine close to hand. most of the attendants where certified casting instructors, all from various countries in Asia or Australia. i thought i might share a few teaching methods i’ve picked up along the way as i was fairly certain my instructor colleagues weren’t too familiar with these techniques.

my demo being mostly based on Lee Cumming‘s ‘Triangle Method and Joan Wulff‘s ‘Circles, Eights and Straights’ exercises geared towards beginner fly fishers/casters with a few extras thrown in for good measure.
having Peter Hayse participate and give feedback during the demo was an honour and a real treat. after my bit is more of Peter’s wisdom followed by a great exercise by Tomonori ‘Bill’ Higashi.

finally, from beginner to instructor the following should have a little something for everyone. i hope you’ll enjoy !

Spey Casting- the Single Spey from a different perspective

apart from affirming that the world is pretty much round and that the universe continuously spins and that the Straight Line Path rule can be overrated at times, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to learn fly casting-wise here.
on the other hand, as long as you don’t royally mess up, Spey casting is always a beautiful and super-fun thing to do.
i hope you’ll enjoy this pointless aesthetic twisty stuff as much as i do.
JP Single-Spey M.Fauvet:TLC 10-8-14

- being a bigger file than most gifs it takes a complete sequence to get up to speed and visualise properly.
please be patient for a few seconds, i’m new to this and learning the process !

a small stream dream

“Growing up where the rivers where virtually always chocolate brown, I dreamed of crystal clear mountain streams that I occasionally got glimpses of on TV and in books. I finally got to the most beautiful crystal clear stream with my good friend and fishing buddy”
filmed in South Africa here’s a drop-dead gorgeous environment with what appears to be a very healthy and eager population of rainbow trout. the stuff that dreams are made of…

this one’s a real gem, enjoy !

for regular news and all sorts of other South African fly fishing goodies be sure to check out and subscribe to Tom Sutcliffe’s site The Spirit of Fly Fishing

going down deep

where most anglers would walk on by.

here’s a little excerpt from the video’s page, underlined is the interesting part for us fly fishers-
“The snow is melting in the high mountains, flooding the lower rivers. The lowest, clearest water lies in the upper river tributaries. This pool is usually a bit easier to swim in low water, but today powerful rapids create a vortex of currents. Beneath the churning rapids lies a surprise- 15 feet of deep calm water.” where the fishes are !

now, getting our flies down to 15 feet in fast water isn’t the easiest thing to do (and in most cases impossible given the short drift times and adding that the faster water above is pulling the line/leader downstream, etc, ) but, these calm and fish-holding zones aren’t always that deep. sometimes it’s just a few feet and that’s very feasible.
how ? by dumping heavy/hydrodynamic flies (sleek and slender, nothing bushy !) into the very base of the waterfall using CNT ‘contemporary nymphing techniques’ (i’m trying not to use the term euronymphing… ) and letting the falling water push those big-heavy-nasty flies down deep where the fish are holding up in the slower waters waiting for just that:
food being pushed down to them.
finding the right approach position is crucial here or we can’t keep contact with the flies. it can be from upstream or usually to the side of the deep zone but for once we have an easy job discretion-wise as there’s a lot of bubbles, debris and stuff obstructing the fishes view. i wouldn’t go stomping the ground or rocks but it’s a safe bet they won’t hear us or detect unnatural vibrations either given all the ruckus created by the falls.

we’ll notice in the video all the smaller, curious and oh-so cute trouties hanging out by the diver but rest assured that the bigger dominant fish scuttled off before being filmed. these zones are prime holding areas for the bigguns because its a perfect place to eat in peace and stay away from predators.

another treat from River Snorkel i hope you’ll enjoy.