for a slightly less bewitching method to conquer this shameful habit you could always try this: LOco WriSt !!!
image and casting wisdom via Mark Surtees
(somewhat) related articles
for a slightly less bewitching method to conquer this shameful habit you could always try this: LOco WriSt !!!
image and casting wisdom via Mark Surtees
(somewhat) related articles
by Lee Cummings
over the last few years and among a whole lot of other things, Lee’s been doing a lot of research on shooting heads and more particularly, short, mini and micro heads to be used in the tightest of areas where other lines can’t deliver (pun intended), such as this little seatrout stream in northern England.
sure, the need for these is situation-dependant but it does give us the possibility to fish in areas we might generally pass. (and if we pass them there’s a good chance other anglers do it as well, meaning that fish who aren’t comfortable in high-pressure areas will happily congregate there)
without going into the micro-short, the set up below directly inspired by the Skagit school is a very good example of out of the box thinking even though it actually comes straight of a box without any cutting up, weighing, measuring or other fancy finagling. taking the Skagit concept and scaling it all down gives this, and that’s a good this !
“This awesome little set up is handy for fishing the tightest of the tight when it comes to available casting space.
The head in this example compromises of a 5ft Rio floating Skagit cheater coupled with the 1.5″ per second 15ft sink tip that came with the Rio Skagit system.
The running line is simple mono so as to offer minimum resistance and maximum range to this super short and deadly fishing shooting head.”
and if goes about it the same way he casts there’s bound to be a few knots involved as well…
created as a continuation of the paper editions of My First Trout and My First Salmon previously mentioned here in the ‘brainwashem’ young series, Eoin Fairgrieve takes one big step further with this new publication by providing it in digital form to share with our wee ones.
“Written by professional fly casting instructor, Eoin Fairgrieve, My First Salmon is an interactive children’s book about learning to fish for Atlantic salmon. This book has been inspired by Eoin’s work teaching thousands of children to fish, and comprises of sixteen chapters covering all aspects of fly fishing for this prized species of fish. It includes motion graphics, interactive educational tools, and an image gallery. The book is written in an informative and engaging style, and children will learn about water safety, the salmon’s anatomy and lifecycle, and the importance of maintaining a healthy riverside environment. Other chapters include information on the Atlantic salmon’s amazing ocean migration as well as essential tackle and fly casting techniques. This publication is an ideal reading and reference guide for any child interested in learning to fish for salmon, and is particularly suitable for children between the ages of 9-16 years.”
outside of bringing them to the water (and as a perfect addition to this), at $6.99 it’s one of the better gifts you give your kids or a friend’s or relative’s.
click either pic to access the iTunes store.
“One of the questions I normally ask a client whilst setting up his/her own equipment is “may I ask what line you are currently using there?” and secondly “what is the head length ?”
These are not trick questions, I just simply wish to learn about the clients mindset as to why they chose that line, or why it was recommended to them. Quite often the client remembers the name of the line manufacturer and even the model name and its AFFTA classification number, but there the knowledge of it often ceases.”
“If a line of inappropriate and excessive head length has been purchased, the angler “after some frustrations” does the sensible thing and only false casts out to a length which they can manage, sadly the outer most reach of their fishing is regulated by a head length issue right there.”
and that’s just a few snippets i hope will wet your appetite for more.
if you’ve ever gone out and bought a well reputed fly line and wondered why it wasn’t living up to your expectations you’ll find some very important thoughts in Lee’s highly recommends article. enjoy !
not quite like hiring an experienced guide or casting instructor but here’s the next best thing.
in this 50 or so minute film series we’ll get a whole heck of a lot of shared trout fishing knowledge from one of the best and more innovative fly fish everything-guys of his time (and still going strong), Mr Gary Borger.
filmed maybe 50 million years ago, we’ll notice that not all that much has changed. we’ll even see a few techniques and things that have fallen into the past but just might be a breath of fresh air for your future fishing. enjoy !
another lovely drawing from Takashi Kuwahara that brings a thought:
when returning a captured fish we give it the chance to grow, reproduce and then we all get to capture it and it’s offspring again and continue the cycle.
when we loose a fly to a tree we’re giving another angler the opportunity to try it out and hopefully find success with our dearly departed, continuing the fly’s life cycle…
such an interesting mix of “I know better but probably won’t”.
as casting/fishing instructors this situation comes up often. even with paying students.
we have to find out just how much the person(s) want to put into it and work from there.
far from being a ‘ha-ha, look at him screw up’ post, i particularly like the humble honesty involved in making and sharing this video and it’s accompanying words.
thing is, he’s not bad at all. nothing a little guided practice wouldn’t fix….
“I am not a good flycaster, in every cast I try to get longer than I ever have before, as a result of that, I often have knots on my leader that are not supposed to be, at other times I just have bad casting days. I guess I should practice more instead of fishing, but then again, then I wouldn’t have the time to go fishing as much.
it’s been t-shirt, bees and bats coming out and miniskirt blossoming spring days lately here in the sunny south but the road north seems to be all white…
anyway, the van’s packed, coffee’s brewing and i’m hoping you all have a special week.
expect a lot of pics and hopefully some vids as i’ll be with some of the best fly casters in the World. see ya soon !
i remember Lee Cummings bringing this up several years ago and i’m pretty sure it’s still in the back of his mind.
the idea being, through high-tech chemistry and ingenuity, someone could devise a fly line that would change colors as it goes through various degrees of tension throughout the cast. the tension glasses would allow the caster or viewer to see these colors while the line is dancing in the air and as a bonus, look extremely cool and cause large amounts of envy by having shades no-one else has !
it’s easy to see how a visual back-up confirmation of explanations such as this would greatly benefit casters of all levels.
“With a beginner, one way I like to describe fly casting is to get them to imagine that the head of the fly line out beyond the rod tip is like a piece of bath plug chain of the same length and the typical objective of a normal overhead cast is to get every ball and link of this chain moving in the direction toward intended target area prior to ceasing to apply force with the rod.
If we don’t do this then there is the risk that the last few links/balls at the very far end of the chain were not fully utilized as available weight during the casting process and as one result, the leader and fly of which is attached may not be directed accurately at the target.”
as per Lee’s ‘vision’ demonstrated by the photo-shopped image above, bright red would designate highest tension and i guess, bright blue when completely slack. (blue being at the opposite end of the visible spectrum for humans)
anyhow, somewhere right in the middle of downright absolutely f’n brilliant and something pulled from an old pipe-dream sci-fi flick, i fully applaud this kind of thinking and imagination because, even if it never really comes through, (but i hope it does ! this already exists so changing a few things here and there and transposing the idea to a fly line doesn’t seem so exotic) the idea might lead on to another way of achieving the same result, furthering the knowledge of fly casting without resorting to horrendous and boring charts, graphs and equations that have become the norm when discussing casting physics.
“I think if I ever get these glasses it would open up a whole new dimension to fly casting pleasure, actually seeing tension change with the eye would probably stand right by what we have actually come to learn what it is that we feel when we cast.”
for the complete Fly Casting seen through Line Tension Glasses article click this link or the pic. put on your shades and enjoy !
with the hope the following article will help clear out a few ideas on fly line selection and since there’s been some recent comments regarding the use of level lines…, here’s an introductory excerpt on the hows and whys of fly lines tapers from Bruce Richards‘ seminal book Modern Fly Lines via Virtual Fly Casting.
as a reminder, Bruce was head line designer at Scientific Anglers for over 30 years. we can consider him to be the ‘father of modern fly lines’, “What Bruce doesn’t know about flylines, probably isn’t worth knowing. In fact some of what Bruce *does* know about flylines you probably wouldn’t want to know either.”
~ Paul Arden
“The primary purpose of the front taper of the fly line is to allow proper delivery of the fly and leader. The taper from the belly of the line to the tip acts to reduce the mass of the line. As the loop of any fly line travels through the air, the mass of the moving part of the line decreases because that part becomes shorter. In tapered lines it decreases even more because the line becomes smaller towards the tip. This increases acceleration, resulting in greater wind resistance and greater energy dissipation, and therefore a more delicate delivery.
Obviously, heavy and wind resistant flies offer more resistance to the fly line than light, small flies. Lines with long front tapers have less mass in the front section of the line than lines with shorter front tapers. Less mass means earlier acceleration, earlier dissipation of energy, and a more gentle, less powerful delivery which will effectively deliver small, light flies, like most trout flies. Lines with short front tapers dissipate energy less efficiently, resulting in a more powerful “turnover”, suitable for the heavier, wind resistant flies usually used for bass or saltwater fishing.
It should be mentioned that the tapered leaders tied to the end of fly lines continue the dissipation of casting energy. If you have ever cast a line without a leader, you probably noticed it did not cast well. Lines are designed to be cast with leaders. A properly designed line will have just the right amount of energy left at the end of the cast to turn over the leader and deliver the fly. If a line is cast without a leader, it will ‘kick’ and be most difficult to cast. Lines are designed to be cast with a particular leader commonly used with that size type of line. A light fly line will be overpowered by a heavy saltwater leader; the line will not have enough energy to turn it over properly. By the same token, a light trout leader won’t be able to handle the large amount of energy a heavy saltwater line passes to it, and the line will ‘kick.’ Casting a level line with no front taper demonstrates very clearly how tapering effects the way a line casts. Even with the correct tapered leader, level lines ‘kick’ when casting because thy have so much undissipated energy left when the line straightens. To avoid the kick the caster must modify his or her casting stroke to reduce the amount of casting energy by slowing the line and by casting with a larger, more wind-resistant loop.
Level lines turn over very abruptly and land on the water forcefully because the energy dissipates poorly because the tip is just plain heavy without the line taper. Sinking lines are said to ‘hinge’ when cast; there is a significant change in the density where the floating and sinking parts of the line join. If cast correctly, a properly designed sinking-tip line does not ‘hinge’ but rather ‘kicks’ just as the level line does. The tip of a sinking line is very heavy and dissipates energy poorly. To compound the problem, lines with very high density tips are very small in diameter and offer less wind resistance even when the do finally accelerate. The key to casting these lines effectively is the same for level lines, namely to open the casting loop and slow the line down as much as possible.
The ability of the caster is important to consider. Lines with longer, more delicate tapers require good loop control and may be difficult for an inexperienced caster to use. There are lines on the market specifically geared toward beginning casters, lines with shorter tapers that dissipate energy less quickly during the cast. Most novices cast with relatively wide, open loops that are quite wind-resistant. If a line with a long, delicate taper is cast with this kind of loop, too much energy is dissipated and the line and leader will not straighten. With a shorter, more powerful taper, effective deliveries can be made even with less than perfect technique.
Instructors may often overlook the fly line a student is casting with. Ask the student what line it is they are using. This may be especially important when dealing with advanced or intermediate casters.
For example, many intermediate casters attempting to cast a line to 75 or 85 feet are simply unaware that in the case of a Weight Forward line, they must learn to control and understand what “overhang” is, and how it will affect their ability to control the line for longer casts. Overhang is simply the position of the rod tip in relation to the distance between the running line and the end of the rear taper. While experienced casters can control lots of overhang the intermediate caster should not attempt to cast with more than 2 or 3 feet of overhang outside of the rod tip. It is highly recommended that an approximate overhang point be marked with a permanent magic marker allowing the student/ caster a consistent “pick up” point that will promote greater efficiency when learning to cast a longer line. Again we turn to “Modern Fly lines” for a detailed description of why understanding “overhang” is critical.
“A fly line is controlled by the tip of the fly rod, the angler’s last point of contact. The rod tip moves the part of the line that is in the rod tip, and that part of the line moves the rest of the line. For the rod-tip part of the line to move and control the rest of the line effectively, it should have enough mass to move the line connected to it.
A good caster can cast effectively with running line in the tip, however, if the line is kept very straight during the cast. Energy can be transmitted through the straight, small- diameter running line to the head of the line. But it usually desirable to choose a line with a belly that will insure the belly is at least very close to the rod tip during overhead casting, roll casting, or mending.”In closing it is important to note that it is the fly line that delivers the fly to the target. Understanding how fly lines transmit energy to deliver the fly to the target is predicated on a firm understanding of taper design.
as alluded to in yesterday’s post Double Tapered vs Weight Forward Fly Lines – Which is really better?, there’s an enormous amount of let’s say, less than informative information available on the net when it comes to explaining this or that about fly fishing, fly casting and basically fly-anything.
here’s a real gem in the rough in the matter. the poor guy is so lost at attempting to teach us something that he doesn’t know. it would be sad if it wasn’t so funny…. enjoy !
btw, it’s this.
and to get a little more technical, a taper is:
• a gradual narrowing: (click the link at the top of the page for Bruce Richards’ basic explanation of mass, weight distribution and other goodies and how they affect a fly line’s performance).
•diminish or reduce or cause to diminish or reduce in thickness toward one end : the tail tapers to a rounded tip | [ with obj. ] : David asked my dressmaker to taper his trousers.• [ no obj. ] gradually lessen: the impact of the dollar’s depreciation started to taper off .
ORIGIN Old English (denoting any wax candle), dissimilated form (by alteration of p- to t-) of Latinpapyrus (see papyrus), the pith of which was used for candle wicks.
hmm, it turns out that thanks to Mr. DT we found out that the word taper finds it’s origins in candles and we can use it when chit-chatting about trousers so, i guess it aint all bad.
“What Bruce doesn’t know about flylines, probably isn’t worth knowing. In fact some of what Bruce *does* know about flylines you probably wouldn’t want to know either.”
~ Paul Arden
constantly amazed that this subject is still an issue with so many anglers, on so may forums and by so many ‘experts’, i thought it might be of worth to pull up this article and let Mr FlyLine explain it himself.
of further interest we’ll note that the exact same principles of mass (or of more practical use, diameter), tapers and lengths apply equally to leaders. a leader is to be designed as the continuation of the fly line and not an entirely separate entity. what applies to line selection applies to leader selection. the two work hand in hand, so to speak, to enable the fly angler to meet the specific casting/fishing challenge at hand.
“Few fly line subjects have been discussed more than which is the better taper, double taper (DT) or weight forward (WF). The answer is, neither is inherently better, but one may be better than the other for you.
A lot of generalizations are made about these two tapers based on outdated or incorrect information. We’ve all heard that DT lines are more delicate, give better control, roll cast better, etc. In some cases some of these things are true, but not always.
Delicacy of delivery is determined by the mass of the front part of a fly line. This is determined by line diameter (which relates directly to mass), and taper length. A line with a small diameter tip and a long taper has much less mass up front than a line with a large tip and short taper. Don’t be mislead by taper length alone, a line with a long front taper but a large tip diameter will not deliver delicately. A DT and a WF line with the same taper and tip diameter will deliver the same.
For many years most DT and WF lines were made with the same tip diameter and front taper length so there was no difference in how they delivered, although many claimed there was. Today, some of the DT lines are actually designed to be used specifically for spring creek type fishing and do have longer tapers and/or smaller tips.
Anytime a line (or any product for that matter) is designed to do one thing very well it usually has a shortcoming somewhere else. Lines that are designed to be very delicate have little mass in the front to carry larger or heavier flies, and don’t handle windy conditions well. It takes a better caster to throw the kind of loops it takes to make these lines perform their best. And no, DT lines aren’t more “accurate” at normal fishing distances, that is entirely in the realm of the skill of the caster. Good consistent loops and practice are where accuracy come from.
It is very true that DT lines are easier to control and roll cast at longer distances than WF lines. At shorter distances there is no difference. The key to line control and roll casting is that large diameter line belly must be in the rod tip. If small diameter running line is in the tip it is nearly impossible to transmit enough energy through it to the belly to make the line do what you want. What many people don’t consider is that WF lines control and roll cast as well as DT lines at the distances most people fish.
Most WF lines have heads that are 35-40 ft. long. Add a 9 ft. leader and the distance to the fly from the end of the head is 44-49 ft. To that, add the length of the rod since roll cast normally end with the rod parallel to the water and pointed at the target. That is the distance at which DT and WF lines control and roll cast the same. There aren’t many typically trout fishing situations that require roll casts longer than that, and not many casters who can roll cast that far. What this all means is that DT and WF lines work pretty much the same at the distances we fish most of the time.
Certainly if someone fishes a big river that requires a lot of long distance roll casting and mending he or she should consider a DT line or a WF with a long head. Rods longer than 9 ft. are almost a necessity also, roll cast distance and mending performance is directly dependent on rod length.
Everybody knows that WF lines are better for distance than DT lines, but is that really true? Well, yes, but the difference isn’t as big as you might think. Certainly WF lines shoot better because of their small, light running lines. But remember, this benefit starts at 44-49 ft. when the running line is in the rod. If you will be making a lot of long casts it is certainly a little easier to do with a WF line, but don’t think that DT lines won’t shoot, they will, just not as far. With the advent of new slick coatings like AST DTs shoot better than ever.
For most people it probably doesn’t make a lot of difference which taper they use. Most of us fish at distances less then 44-49 ft. which is where WF’s start to shoot better, but lose line control. Most of us don’t have the need, or the ability, to roll cast longer than 45 ft..
So, how do you decide which is right for you? If you do mostly small fly fishing at short to medium range there is no reason not to get a DT line. There is always the budget issue, DT lines are essentially 2 in 1 so are less expensive over time. If you are consistently throwing long casts you will be able to make them with fewer false casts with a WF line, but lose the ability to do long roll casts and mends, if you ever need them, and are able. For most of us it doesn’t make much difference which taper we use most of the time, make your decision based on how much short distance fishing, or long range fishing you do.”
The term cobra effect stems from an anecdote set at the time of British rule of colonial India. The British government was concerned about the number of venomous cobra snakes in Delhi. The government therefore offered a bounty for every dead cobra. Initially this was a successful strategy as large numbers of snakes were killed for the reward. Eventually, however, enterprising persons began to breed cobras for the income. When the government became aware of this, the reward program was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the worthless snakes free. As a result, the wild cobra population further increased. The apparent solution for the problem made the situation even worse.
A similar incident occurred in Hanoi, Vietnam, under French colonial rule. The colonial regime created a bounty program that paid a reward for each rat killed. To obtain the bounty, people would provide the severed rat tail. Colonial officials, however, began noticing rats in Hanoi with no tails. The Vietnamese rat catchers would capture rats, lop off their tails, and then release them back into the sewers so that they could procreate and produce more rats, thereby increasing the rat catchers’ revenue.”
well, at first this might seem like it might put a damper on things here at TLC (specially in the fly casting ‘debunking myths’ section) but au contraire ! i’ll just have to strive to find and learn more and better info and find ways to convey new concepts in contemporary fly casting to a slightly greater public. it’s the Year of the Snake, time to start rattling some tails !
quoted text and images via Wikipedia, gif found on Tumblr
fly casting can be very easy and it can be extremely complex, it’s all a matter of how far we want to take it. you can be an expert in history without ever having made history but you can’t cast a fly line with just theory. whatever level we want to achieve won’t happen without a certain learning curve and without practice. Bruce here gives us some very solid advice and ideas. i hope you’ll both enjoy and benefit from this master’s experience and wisdom.
“A lot has been written about how to cast effectively. I’ve taught over 3000 people to cast. The one single most important factor in successfully learning to cast, or improving your casting is practice. A lot of my students spend good money and time to take lessons, but if they don’t practice what they have learned it will be lost. Developing good practice habits is often the key to becoming a good caster.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to practice, but practicing fairly often is important. To make a bad analogy, practicing casting is a lot like training a puppy. The best way to train a puppy is in frequent short sessions, not all day once a month, the same goes for casting. Every day is best, but 3-4 times a week is certainly adequate. I have found the best practice sessions are usually 15-20 minutes long, for me in the evening after work. I like to leave a rod rigged and ready in the garage that I can quickly grab and head to the back yard. Having water isn’t necessary for a good practice session, except for roll casting. If you want to practice roll casting on the grass all you need to do is secure the end of the leader to something, to simulate the resistance of water. I like to use a clipboard, just clip the end of the leader in the spring clip and you are ready to cast.
Of course it is important to practice the right things. If you are having trouble correcting problems or improving your casting you need to reference a good book or video, or better yet, a good instructor. Books and videos can be very helpful but don’t provide the feedback a qualified casting instructor can.
I think it is very important to practice to a target. Too many casters practice by just throwing loops at the same distance without paying much attention to their delivery. Being able to hit a target is often pretty important when fishing. A technique I have used very successfully when practicing follows. This drill works very well when practicing for demanding casting tasks like fishing for bonefish or tarpon.
Determine a good place to stand in the middle of a good sized open area. Scatter 6-8 targets (I use paper plates) around at various distances appropriate to the kind of fishing you do, and in different directions. Stand in the center of the targets and make a cast to the one in front of you. Strip the line in short, turn your body one way or the other and make your next cast at the target you see first. Try to make each cast with no more than 3-4 false casts. Repeat this process until you’ve made several casts at each target.
This drill will teach you to quickly work out line, judge distance and make good deliveries. If you find that you are unable to consistently come close to the targets, that usually indicates a problem with your loops, time to consult your book, video, or instructor !”
this isn’t exactly new as it came out a few years ago (2009) but this technique is still quite unknown by a lot, if not most spey casters/fishers. i’ve shared it elsewhere and it’s about time it got more attention because it’s one of those rare instances where true innovation happens in the fly casting world.
created by Juergen Friesenhahn, friend, colleague, IFFF Master Instructor, drummer and all around good guy, this technique is simply brilliant and really stands out from the crowd.
here’s the situation:
we’re fishing flies on the swing with a 3,35m/11ft switch rod, the shooting head or full-line head is 10m long and the leader 5m (33 & 16 ft). without going into whacky gymnastics that puts the fly roughly 18m/59ft from the fisher when the fly has ‘fished out’ and is on the dangle. sometimes fish will hesitate and follow a fly and it’s a shame to tear the fly out of it’s view just because we think the swing is over.
a fly aint fishin’ if it aint in the water !
so, retrieving the fly closer to the angler is the logical next step and if it works, bingo ! but if it doesn’t we’re left with coils of line and to do the next cast we’ll want to have the line’s head out of the rod tip and maybe a little overhang. typically, this means shaking out or roll casting the correct amount of line back downstream but Juergen’s Snap-Slip-Spey alleviates all this wiggly line splashing rolling business (fish could still be in that area) and turns the set up into the D-loop a smooth, fast, suave and downright sexy move.
take note that first, to get the Snap-Slip right the ‘excess’ line made during the retrieve needs to be measured (mark the line with a permanent marker), that specific mark gets trapped under a finger and the rest of the line is coiled and stored by another finger(s) of the rod hand. the snap is done with just the rod hand as when using a single-hand rod, slipping the stored line as the rod sweeps upstream and the line hand comes back to the lower grip before circling up into the D-loop. as an extra bonus, by the how-to description above we’ll easily conclude that this technique is as equally valid for single hand rod spey, a little something for everyone.
fair enough, this isn’t the easiest of techniques to coordinate but with a little practice it’s a well-worth skill to have in your bag of tricks.
the S-S-S in real time
cool, huh ?
i mean, just look at how he’s holding the rod. what a creep !
“One could identify a number of plausible reasons to relish in Matthew’s demise: his perfectly combed hair (even in the foxholes), his smirk that wavers between knowingness and idiocy, his decision to pursue the deflowered Mary when the late Sybil was so much nicer and better looking.
We just didn’t think that Matthew would slap the rod down on the water like he was engaged in a joyless bit of sadomasochism with a switch and Lady Mary. Does he lack a proper casting stroke because of his more modest upbringing?”
for more of this lovely, casting analysis by Chris Santella via Angling Trade click the pic.
by Robert Gillespie
whether we’re casting with a single or double hand rod or performing aerial or spey casts the same principle applies. the line generally speaking, will follow the direction and shape the rod tip took as it was pulling it along. *
setting aside other reasons why lines can dip for now, such as starting the lift, sweep and stroke with slack or improper acceleration and focusing only on rod tip path and D loop set ups, if the rod tip goes too low on the back cast of an aerial cast the fly and/or line usually hits the water, ground, bushes, trees, snags and creates slack and in the best case (which still isn’t good) we’d have to do the forward cast at a much higher angle than intended if we want to have a decent and in-control loop (either that or we’d end up with a big ‘ole dome shaped collapsing non-loop because the cast isn’t following the ideal 180° principle)
with almost all spey casts this scenario is more critical because the fly leg comes in underneath the rod tip on the D loop set up. it’s already low…
since speys are usually done with water all around the caster, dipping the rod tip isn’t as embarrassingly bad as snagging the fly on bank-side bushes and stuff but it still leads to an ugly and inefficient collapsed/crashing D loop that will ‘stick’ too much to the water requiring a lot of unnecessary force to pull it out on the delivery cast and we’ll usually have the same non-180° problem as mentioned above. not good.
as Robert explains, none of this dipping will happen if we continuously move the rod tip in either a climbing slope or curve. ok, that’s pretty logical but it’s easier understood than done, specially with a double hand rod because we’re pushing the rod butt in one direction and pulling the rod tip in another, twisting the torso and chewing gum and blowing bubbles all at the same time. it’s a wonder more people don’t fall over while performing such amazingly complexe motions !
funning aside, another way and maybe more constructive manner to think of this exercise is to concentrate on where we place the apex of the D loop.
we tend to think of D loops as symmetric beings that really resemble the letter D but the vast majority of them are more of a wedge like this > or a close variant of it.
when the apex falls too low we tend to get in trouble. of course, if it goes too high that’s no good either but ‘too high’ doesn’t happen very often.
i’ve said enough for now ! this very well explained Climbing Curve exercise is well worth spending some extra time getting down just right and this, for any spey casts, single or double-handed. enjoy !
* (ok, not necessarily all of the line but at least the part of the line closest to the rod tip, but for the purpose of today’s tutorial, lets just assume its all of the line. (i had to include this so’s my casting colleagues won’t jump on me…. ) anyhow, more on this overstated non-rule soon !)
competition fly casting, at least distance casting isn’t my thing.
as much as i might have a great time watching others partake and know full well that there’s a lot to be brought back from it to the fishing world (similarly to how Formula 1 racing technology comes back to our everyday cars), i’ll learn a lot from it but i don’t enjoy it myself.
i’ve hurt myself so much in the past doing other activities that this type of casting leaves me in pain. big pain. i’ll play along briefly with my friends at various shoot-outs at Gatherings but i won’t practice for it anymore. getting good at the distance game means an enormous amount of effort both physically and mentally and today’s featured comment is about this last part, the mental aspect.
however, as much as the thoughts below are geared towards competition they can also be of great benefit to the fly angler desiring to be a better caster, better prepared to attack a challenging situation in everyday fishing or on a special trip.
confidence, knowing when to give it all or hold back, repeatability, time constraints and looking outside of the fly casting world to find ways to improve our activity are just a few common elements that’ll make a great difference between an average caster and one who wants to go up a few notches.
to sum it up, it’s about being aware, conscious or whatever you want to call it about how you’re moving through space and time, being able to judge your ‘comfort zone’, lower and upper limits and yup, you guessed it, none of this will happen without regular practice, focussed practice, practice with a goal.
with John Waters’ kind permission here’s a reprint from a discussion on Sexyloops. i’ll hope you’ll find it useful for your own needs.
“What a bad parent I am, not actually teaching him to cast. He tells me he knows that already, so I just leave the rod propped up by the back door and leave him to it. I must say I’m impressed with how his haul is coming along.” ~ poppa Stu Hastie
i wish all bad parents where this bad…
one of the more important aspects in sharing our passion is to know when to back off and let them go nuts on their own and simply enjoy the moment. our egos might not always agree but they’ll often learn a lot more this way.
from an instructor/observational/behavioral point of view, of special interest here is when the younger brother ‘becomes the fish’. Thing 1 immediately becomes more focused and calm and delivers the fly exactly where he wants it to go while directing all his attention towards his fishbrother.
my guess is it’s our predator instinct that takes over even when it’s not a prey, something that was very obvious and consistent when i practiced casting with Pussy Galore.
by Peter Hayes, IFFF-MCCI Tasmania
in one of the better online casting tutorials there is, here Peter breaks down the key elements of the roll cast, it’s whys, whens and hows.
a lot more than a how-to, the best elements here are the visual, symbolic and practical aspects that the caster should safely file in the back of the mind in an easily accessible place, ready to pull out when working on the cast at practice or on the water when trying to find a solution.
remember \////// and a lot more of what we’ll hear and see isn’t just about roll casting as most principles apply to all casts whether they be rolls, speys or aerial casts.
this one’s well worth bookmarking for future reference. enjoy !
nothing i could say could do justice to these wonderful drawings so i’ll stick to one word: enjoy !
for more of his gorgeous work click HERE
some very wise words by one of the World’s top fly casting instructors/fishers.
they’re straight, simple, to the point and in a way, put an end to all these endless debates over which casting style is better, cooler, more efficient. regardless of one’s style, it’s the basic elements common to any fly cast and not ego, nationalistic pride or hero-worship that make it successful or not.
this is a real gem geared towards any fly fisher who wants to be a better fisher and not just instructors. hopefully it’ll open up a different mental approach, opening up a myriad of possibilities all leading to what i like to call: free casting or simply, having the essentials down so well, the required cast to fit the situation happens by itself . enjoy !
Right now you may want to ask: What is a FLY CASTING STYLE about?
That indeed is a question I’ve been asked very often. The reason for that question is based in many books, magazines, DVDs, websites, courses and demos each referring to different fly casting styles. This for example may be the TLT style by Roberto Pragliola (Italy), the Andersson style by Göran Andersson (Sweden), the Gebetsroither style by Hans Gebetsroither (Austria), the elbow on the shelf style by Lefty Kreh (USA), the 170 style by Rick Hartman (USA) or the Loch style (Great Britain) just to name a few.
I like to give a quick overview in my fly casting lessons about styles and why some of them have become so well known. At the end of that quick excursion I always point out the intersection of all styles: The 6 essentials I am going to teach during the lesson. If you like you may call them to be the substance of good fly casting:
1. proper line tension*
2. proper timing (waiting for the line to unroll)
3. proper acceleration to an abrupt stop
4. rotation at the right time
5. adjusting arc + stroke to a) line speed, b) trajectory and c) rod bend
6. keep the rod in plane during acceleration and deceleration
All of the above fly casting legends simply learned how to control these essentials in their (very characteristical) own style, their own way of casting. Peter Morse once told me: “Style is how your technique looks.” I like that short definition pretty well. The important word in it is “YOUR”!
In the end STYLE to me is the most over estimated word in fly casting. To me it’s the essentials which matter and then everyone has to find the best way for him/herself to control them and to fit them into many different situations.
Those who use all kind of styles and just choose the one that fits best to a given fishing situation are the true great casters to me!
I hope I could inspire you not to think too much of styles and instead stay open minded and find your own way to control the 6 essentials in order to shape your loops and match line speed + trajectory to present your fly to the fish.
And who knows you may even get a strike. I have done it myself a few times. Good luck!
All my best
*Thanks Will Shaw
and thanks Bernd !
“Tracking can be described as the directional travel of the rod tip within a pre-determined plane(s) back and forth for a given fly cast. If you want to cast more accurately or further then optimising your tracking relative to the application can go some way to achieving this.”
Master Jim. geez, the bloke won’t stop and let’s hope he never does. going into the finer points regarding this very important aspect of the cast and my intro being happily finished, if you’re interested in becoming a better, more efficient and happier caster/fisher click either pic and enjoy this real gem in full.
“What is good tracking?
Below is a birds eye view of two anglers, each has an imaginary target directly ahead. The objective is to complete an overhead cast in a vertical plane with a view to delivering a straight line layout towards their target. The coloured dots represent the direction and travel of the rod tip.”
loosely translated, in german that means ‘there must be order’ or ‘everything in it’s place’, ‘get your shit straight’ or maybe simply: How to put the rod in the Sock
here’s a most often very neglected tip from Ákos Szmutni via Sexyloops. brilliant.
“This may sound very trivial (the answer is: Who cares?) but if you have ever put together your rod and heard the sound of sand or other debris rubbing in the joints, you may be up for some good advice.
Whatever you do, however careful you are, sand or mud will get on your rod sooner or later. If it is on the rod, it will get into the rod sock. If it is in the rod sock it will be in the joints. I have seen rods where the joints were so scratched that all the paint came off from the male part. This is not just a cosmetic issue, it endangers the integrity of the whole joint.
There is a very easy way to avoid this problem: If you use a four piece rod, put the upper 3 sections with the male part down – female part up. It is very logical, but most guys I see do it exactly the opposite way.
Some may think it is pretty girlish thing to keep your rods clean. Well, there is a river in Slovakia that is so dirty that after a 2-3 hour long fishing session even a TCX is totally grey. You can imagine how good the line shoots if the rod blank is covered with dirt. Even in rivers that look clean the rod shaft will gather particles from the water and that can significantly restrict your casting distance. So I would recommend you clean the rod every evening with some soft cloths. You can use an old toothbrush to clean the rod in between the legs of snake guides. If you don’t have an old toothbrush you can use your fishing partner’s if he or she is not there.
Another very valuable advice: don’t leave your toothbrush unattended.”
highly recommended and coming up on the 23rd and 24th of March 2013 in Kolding, organized biannually by Federation of Fly Fishers Denmark is the Danish Fly Festival.
if it’s anything like the 2011 edition this one’s bound to be a blast ! fly tiers and casters galore, stands and you name it, this fair’s special because it’s Danish with all that may or may not mean.
for more info click either pic. hope to see you there !
here’s a reprint of an article i wrote last year for Eat, Sleep, Fish ‘s issue no. 3 on fly casting.
i hope you’ll enjoy and even more benefit from these words. i also wish to thank Jim Williams once again for the opportunity of sharing these thoughts to a wider audience on this great ezine.
In my absence, having trekked off to colder climbs to run a dog race, I asked Marc Fauvet to come to my rescue with this month’s casting article… suffice to say the man has delivered – and how! … Not with the normal ABC of a fly cast but some physiology… Thanks ~ Jim Williams
by Joan Wulff produced by Jeffrey Pill | Miracle Productions via MidCurrent
here’s one of the better tips a fly fisher/caster can have.
the ‘death grip’, a constant tightening of the hand throughout the casting cycle not only leads to pains which can vary from discomfort all the way up to tendonitis but is one of the best ways to be a sucky and inefficient caster.
leaving the pain aspect away, what happens if we grip the rod handle too tightly throughout the stroke is:
- as discussed in the Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the State of Relaxed Butt article, tightened muscle and tendon groups don’t move freely directly resulting in harsh, imprecise movements, the total opposite of what we want.
- if we don’t relax the hand at the end of the stroke (the ‘stop’) we’ll accentuate counter-flex both in amplitude and duration. (counter-flex is the boing-boinging of the rod) counter-flex is normal and inevitable but we want to reduce it to a minimum because it creates waves in the rod leg of the loop and waves are slack and slack is no good for the simple reason that slack means less than optimal control of the line.
Lasse Karlsson’s video below illustrates the damping effect caused by loosening the grip perfectly.
relaxing the grip is one of those complex coordination movements a caster must acquire to be a consistent, accurate and successful fisher and like anything that has to do with fly casting, should be practiced well. Joan’s video explains and shows a great way to practice this, enjoy !
by Davie McPhail
enough already with the dainty wee stuff ! here’s something to wake up and get just about any fish all nasty-excited.
as with anything in the fishing world there’s of course no rules but you can expect hard and adrenaline-pumping takes with this type of fly and that’s well, cool to say the least.
by their sexy undulating and volume changing swim, bunny strip flies attract and seduce not only the hungry but lazy, unfocused or simply curious fish. they’re appetizers and as lively in the water as any other material i can think of and that’s what makes them the standard that they are for making ‘living’ flies. some synthetics are pretty good but none come close to the natural materials when we want that special dance.
however, as with our own mating rituals, success doesn’t come without a price. these things are big and when wet, start to feel like a soft brick when casting it to the next spot so we’ll have to adjust the casting stroke accordingly. avoid dry fly-style tight loops and slow down the cast while keeping constant tension on the line. an elliptic cast is ideal.
(often falsely referred to as the Belgium cast, this falseness will be explained in another post)
i.e. a side cast back cast followed by an overhead front cast.
the back cast is done on a side plane, the casting arm drifts up while bringing the rod tip back to the ‘standard’ over-head cast position while the line is unrolling towards the back, and then the front cast is initiated in an over-head plane. this keeps both fly and rod legs of the line well separated, is much easier to keep constant tension and because of all this, there’s little or no ‘kick’ and it helps the bunny tail from wrapping itself around the hook during the cast.
Davie shows us a pike streamer below but this is a pattern that can very easily be adapted in many ways (i often use simpler versions that are 2,5 cm / 1″ long for trout, perch, carp and whatnot) and in fact, the tube, feather over-wing, the rubber legs, eyes and built-up head can be considered accessorial or simply elements that might adapt the fly better for a given species or situation. however, the tail and wound bunny body are what really make it work.
in all it’s variants this is a must have fly so, get you some !
” It’s all quite simple, really… “
… and if you’re interested in more complex matters regarding fly casting (without the dreariness of physics) you can click the image for the Cobra’s complete fly casting archive or HERE for a more pertinent selection of reference articles. enjoy !
yet another ingenious cast devised and performed by Lee Cummings
“A method of switching from a down stream anchor spey cast to an upstream one Mid-Cast. This is done by repositioning the line ” and subsequent D loop” to the new delivery side by casting it behind you using rod tip movements similar to that of the Circle cast “but done directly overhead”.
With practice this cast can be used in swirly winds such as those on the video or to not commit and quickly reposition mid-cast to a new target, a useful trait for a salt water angler… The line lay for the intial set up was that of an aerial double spey “which is a downstream wind cast”, the line was swapped to the upstream side, repositioning the line lay, then a D loop was formed on the upstream shoulder , just as if a Snap or Circle cast was initially performed….”
underlined are the key ‘why’ points to this cast. what’s not underlined is the fun part but you’ll have to try it out yourself to discover that aspect.
’nuff said, this is brilliant. enjoy !
and if you’re still hungry, click HERE for a whole display of previously featured groovy single-hand spey casts performed by Lee. woW…
little did she know she would have made a great casting coach…
from buddy Roger Håkansson
far from being knee-slapping funny like watching drunks make fools of themselves or seeing puppies falling off of cliffs, this is as far as i know the first Fly Casting Bloopers video and as such i hope you’ll enjoy this historical moment !
on a practical side, fault analysis (specially other people’s faults… :mrgreen:) are an important aspect in understanding how casting works and learning how to not make faults so, apart from “D’Ohing !”, the avid caster can always try to figure out what went wrong.
happy sunday folks, i’m off to (hopefully) tease some fish !
and a whole bunch of other things in this most insightful bit from my guitar thrashing/flyline flinging/yellowfish aficionado and buddy, Zoran Marinkovic.
the man’s got a point. what it is i’m not sure… enjoy !
“All that technical measurements and judgments represent only 49% of rod performances .
The rest of 51% belongs to out-comings from achieved bond between Caster (suppose to be live thing ) and rod (suppose to be not exactly alive) .
Once the rod wake up from The World of Death (things?) , loops become alive as well , getting on the stage of system energy exchange .
And Hop -Miracle – all these separate things become combo , exchanging the energy on the same frequency levels .
In the best case scenario, very good caster and very well matched rod for him -become ONE thing ,producing alive , kicking loops .
Now tell me is now that combo alive or dead thing ???
More ,does The Caster has right if he says :”This rod has a soul , fuck the CCS’s and mesurements “
So, I think rod has a soul ,which is pretending to be dead before interaction with Caster , and before it becomes one nice and alive part of the combo .
With the soul .
Such a Rod soul cannot be measured , the other part of combo have to FEEL it – like a combo feeling
One day , when scientists find a way to measure the feel and the soul, you will say: ” Fuck, Zoran was damn right , he said that 345 years ago ! ”
But , it was not me , people said that 10.000 years a go , that everything has a soul, but it seems we forgot on it …. …just a little bit .
Marry Christmas and Happy New Year , the life has a beautiful soul !
btw, I am not African Sangoma or Serbian Witcher neither (as you might think reading this fairytail story for Good Night”) , but bloody M. Sc. in Chemical Engineering by education .
In total 49% of stupid Eng. and 51% of vintage and rebel and still curious Soul ”
here’s a little light-hearted, big bellied and strangely Pythonish spey casting tutorial by “Spey Casting is like making love to a difficult woman” Mike Daunt* that’ll hopefully relieve a bit of this festive stress.
it’s really not worth going into what might or might not be valid or useful spey casting instruction, so, let’s just take it for what it is, a funny, tacky, bank-side 4 min 44 sec acid trip. sort of…enjoy !
* yes he really said that…
“Muscle Memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as fly casting, typing on a keyboard about fly casting, typing in a PIN number to buy a new fly line, ‘drawing with the rod tip’ to perform presentation casts, playing fly casting games, or performing complex arm movements while attempting to explain fly casting physics.”
you got it, fly casting is just like sex or eating chocolate. you can talk and theorize about it all you want but you’re not going to get any good at it without practicing.
since it’s nice, sunny and warm today and i have instructor exam to prepare and i couldn’t think of a better way to get away from all this pre-holiday silliness i’ll be out doing all of the above.
if you’re in need of some fun casting practice inspiration, i definitely recommend Carlos Azpilicueta’s list of Casting Games.
to discover what the mess below is about and why it will make you a better fly caster/fisher, click the pic quick !
part 1 – some ranting
bamboo fly rods:
depending on where you mention those three words you’ll typically get reactions such as oooing and ahhhing and conversations will inevitably lead towards notions of purity, tradition, nobility and who knows what other hobnob sentimentality hastily shoved down your ears with very little regard to how they actually perform.
having had the great honor and opportunity to be invited to demonstrate casting at several Cane meetings and fairs and having the chance to try out hundreds of different rods, quite honestly most of them perform like something that’s better off staying on a wall and aesthetically speaking, a good portion of them would be an insult to the wall.
the dismal truth is the vast majority of cane builders i’ve met are poor casters and thrive on outdated notions. i’m not saying that every builder should be as anal about fly casting as i am myself but i’d expect them to at least have descent control of the line and produce consistent loops regardless of their style. among others, i’d also expect them to understand that a fly rod is not a spring and that slow actions do not result in a more ‘relaxed’ way to cast.
like most, i can try out a rod and decide for myself but i find it extremely difficult to respect the opinion of a rod builder that doesn’t even understand how a rod functions and doesn’t know how to use the tool they made themselves.
part 2 – the good part, some praising !
friend and FFF certified casting instructor colleague Christian Strixner based near Munich is on the other hand, one of the rare cane rod builders who knows how to combine the essential qualities of both a finely tuned casting/fishing tool while being a beautiful high performance piece of art.
(rods that would put to shame the finest of walls :mrgreen: )
at first glance we’re struck with their exquisite aesthete but when we pick one up for a cast the real magic happens.
and that my friends is something to realy oooo and ahhh about…
for more info on Christian’s rods visit his site Split the Cane. enjoy !
with very similar results.
here’s Fredrik Hedman and Stefan Siikavaara, both cool guys, Swedish and two of the better fly distance competitors in the world. as you can see, there’s a heck of a lot of training and thought behind each one’s style.
that night Stefan topped at 35,6m (124+ ft) in the very muggy Boson sports arena near Stockholm and Fredrik at 35,9m setting a new indoor swedish record despite the humid air. extremely-very impressive !
as a continuation of the mini series: Rod Builders (And why they’re so Dorky), this one’s about line friction and 70′s style porn-flick music.
as far as fly casting goes, line friction through the rod guides is both a bad and a good thing.
bad, because it simply has to slow down our thick and heavy fly lines (compared to monofilament) while fast casting and shooting line.
good, because and in the case of shooting line for the delivery cast, if the caster doesn’t have perfect control of rod and line, the rod leg of the loop (the part of the line between the rod tip and loop face) will often develop slack in the form of waves and this leads to poor turnover and results in what can be considered “a long range Pile cast”. at best.
what we see in the video is that a full ceramic ring lets the line slide optimally and creates virtually no line friction wear. in an ideal world all our rod rings would be fully equipped from tip to butt with similar rings, specially when we consider our thick and heavy fly lines and how we would benefit from this a lot more than the spinning rod/lure types, BUT ! even though line glide and line wear might be orgasmic, the added weight of these rings makes for a rod that feels like crap to cast and a likely increase of rod rebound which makes even more waves in the rod leg. until someone develops rings that will have a combined effect of the ceramics and the lightness of our standard fly rod rings we’ll be stuck with the latter. yet another case of ‘deal with it’…
anyway, we’ll note that in the video the mono is slid back and forth at an angle that would never be used in a fishing situation and as such, i believe it better to appreciate it’s all-around surreal aspect and of let yourself be inspired by the music… enjoy !
via hooked4lifeca, casts performed by Peter Charles
here’s a very nice casting drill to learn to cast with the non-dominant hand.
although not the ultimate solution for every caster, i particularly like the idea of trying to remove the thinking process as the “Now let’s see, what should i be doing with this dumb arm ?” can very often build up a wall when the idea is to tear it away.
indeed, unless a person has reduced motor capabilities, i’m firmly convinced that most anglers can cast just as well with either hand once they’ve realized that it’s just a mind-frame that’s holding them back. sure, anything’s possible but i’ve never heard of someone sticking a fork into their eye or ear when eating with the non-dominant hand !
primarily geared towards the double-hand rod and being comfortable in interchanging the top hand from the usual right to left hand or vice-versa, this drill is equally effective for the single-hand rod user as rolls and speys are a very good way (if not the best, imo) to learn the fundamentals of fly casting.
note that the drill increases in speed, further reducing the time to include confusing thoughts…
“Learning to cast with our non-dominant hand up can be a real challenge. I’ve found that trying to think our way through the cast, rather than just letting it go, causes much of the problem. This drill is designed to build muscle memory and making the non-dominant hand up cast, automatic.
The video was shot in a howling wind from an awkward casting position, which created some challenges, but it serves to show that the drill can be done anywhere a Spey cast can be made.”
if your interested in increasing your non-dominant hand’s capabilities, apart from pantomiming the moves or using just a rod butt section at home or work, here’s a few more non-casting activities to keep you busy (or amused !)
- brushing your teeth or any other bathroom activities.
- using your computer mouse or trackpad.
- throwing and catching a ball.
- use your imagination to add to the list and if you’re really curious and want to find out which actions you automatically do with your dominant hand (we tend to take these things for granted or rather, thoughtlessly as they’ve become automatic through repetition) you could always wear a boxing glove or oven mitt around the house for a while…
courtesy of Mike Heritage
one of the most ingenious casting practice tools i’ve seen, this one’s not only perfect to practice roll casting but accuracy as well since the fluff needs to be in the bottom of the tool to do the former ! another bonus is we don’t need an assistant (my experience is assistants get bored after two-three casts,
run away as fast as they can walk away and never come back… ) or to be walking back and forth to replace the fluff after every cast as with some other devices.
also, whether performed with a single or double handed rod, since all spey casts are concluded with a roll, this tool will be a great asset to work on this part of the cast.
don’t go searching for a place to buy it as it’s not sold but luckily, a little steel wire and some elbow grease is all that’s needed to build your own. enjoy !
tip- you might want to slightly increase the size/volume of your fluff-fly so it doesn’t pull out of the groove before the completion of the cast.
via ‘The Loop’ / Federation of Fly Fishers – a reprint of the FFF booklet ‘The Essentials of Fly Casting’
written by Bill and Jay Gammel, the ‘Five’ are as far as i know, the first serious document on fly casting mechanics.
it is indeed geared towards the Overhead/Vertical style of casting but i can’t think of any other style where these five basic elements don’t apply.
knowing them and continually studying how they work together will not only bear precise line control but eventually lead to the understanding of how to purposely deviate from the Essentials and apply them to the real nitty-gritty of fly presentation: Presentation Casts.
i like to make the analogy of the Essentials to that of music study. once one has understood the mechanics of score, tone, rhythm, form and harmony they can go on and improvise freely . (and as a bonus, without having to think about it. it just ‘happens’)
“Through many years of studying modern fly casting instruction, we have identified what we believe to be the five essential elements of fly casting. Each essential element will be explained and the visual recognition of both a good and a bad cast will be discussed. Comparisons of the best fly casters in the country have shown that styles of casting are unique to each caster. However, the five essentials discussed in this booklet represent the common thread that ties all good casters together. If all of the following essentials are properly executed, good casting will be the result; if all the essentials are not correctly performed, you cannot be a complete caster.”
The Five Essentials are as follows:
1. There must be a pause at the end of each stroke which varies in duration with the amount of line beyond the rod tip.
In all types of casting, a weight is used to provide resistance against which the rod is bent to store energy for the cast. In plug or spin casting, it is the weight of the lure which bends the rod. This weight is concentrated in a relatively small lure which hangs a short distance below the rod tip. After making a back cast with such a lure, no pause is necessary before starting forward with the rod. Conversely, in fly casting it is the weight of the fly line which bends or loads the rod, and this weight may be distributed over ten, thirty, or even fifty feet of line. Because this line must be straight in order to properly load the fly rod a pause, which varies in duration with the amount of line beyond the rod tip, is essential to allow the line to straighten. (See Figures 1a and 1b). If the line does not straighten between the back and the forward cast, the potential casting weight of the line is reduced and the rod will not load properly. This will cause a weak, sloppy cast, or in extreme cases the loop will collapse.
Figure 1a. This short line is completely straight and is ready to be cast forward.
In order to achieve the correct amount of pause on the back cast, some instructors advocate watching every back cast. Certainly, it is appropriate to watch the back cast occasionally. However, we strongly recommend that the caster not watch every back cast. We have found there are problems associated with watching all of the back casts that are more difficult to correct than any slight problem with timing. As long as the line length is constant, the pause on the back cast is the same as the pause on the forward cast. If the caster keeps this in mind, he will learn to time the back cast pause simply by keeping it the same as the forward cast pause. The correct pause is essential for successful casting and therefore should be practiced from the beginning. You must also remember that the rod does not have to be motionless at the end of the back cast. Some casters advocate using a backward drift while others leave the rod stationary. Either style is fine as long as the rod does not drift forward before the line is straight. This is called creep, and is a common mistake which wastes valuable stroke length that cannot be regained without causing the rod to unload prematurely.
Figure 1b. With a longer line, the pause must be longer.
2. Slack line should be kept to an absolute minimum
To apply power to the cast, the line must be anchored either with the rod hand against the handle or more commonly in the line hand (the hand not holding the rod). If the line is not anchored, the line and rod will slide relative to one another and will keep the rod from bending or loading. Even though the line is anchored, slack may still be present and needs to be removed before the next cast is made. Slack in the casting system causes the caster to waste some of the casting stroke removing slack, without properly loading the rod or moving the fly. If there is no slack in the casting system the fly will move as soon as the rod tip moves. There are many causes of slack. A few of the more common ones are: movement of the fly line by outside forces such as water or wind, starting the cast with the rod tip too high, rough, jerky application of power, and poor timing between the back and forward cast. The most common cause of slack which many casters overlook, is the belly of slack that forms between the rod tip and the water when starting the cast from a position with the rod tip high in the air. This is illustrated in Figure 2. To prevent this from happening, start a cast with the rod tip pointing at the water. This allows you to start with the most efficient back cast.
Figure 2. Incorrect rod position, a common cause of slack line overlooked by most casters.
3. In order to form the most efficient, least air resistant loops, and to direct the energy of a fly cast toward a specific target, the caster must move the rod tip in a straight line.
Because the fly line must follow the rod tip, the straight line movement of the rod tip is the only way a fly caster can form a straight line cast. This is true for both the vertical and horizontal planes. In the vertical plane there are three common paths that the rod tip can follow. It can travel a straight line from one end of the casting stroke to the other, which is how a properly shaped loop is formed. It can travel through a convex path (one that is higher in the middle of the path than on either end) and the loop will be wide or fat. If the rod tip travels in a concave path (the tip is lower in the middle of the path than on either end), the loop will tail or cross. These loops, and the rod tip paths which produce them, are displayed in Figures 3a, 3b and 3c. the rod must also move in a straight line horizontally, without right or left deviations. A rod tip path that slices to the right will cause the line to curve to the right, while a rod tip path that hooks to the left causes the line to curve to the left. The most efficient way to make sure the rod tip moves in a straight line in the horizontal plane is to pick a target and make sure the line always moves straight away from the target on the back cast and directly at the target on the forward cast. To ensure the rod tip moves in a straight line in the vertical plane, you must combine the correct stroke length with the correct application of power. For instance, if you are having trouble with wide loops, either the stroke is too long or not enough power is being applied. Sometimes both errors are made. To correct this problem either the stroke must be shortened or more power must be applied.
Sometimes both errors are made. To correct this problem either the stroke must be shortened or more power must be applied. Sometimes both corrections are necessary. Stroke length is the first possibility to consider. If you are getting crossed or tailing loops, the stroke length is probably too short or the power is applied in a jerky, uneven manner, or possibly both faults exist. In this instance, the fault is probably with the application of power. Make every effort to apply power as described in essential five. The stroke may need to be lengthened if applying power correctly does not solve the problem.
Figure 3a. A good loop and the straight line rod tip path which produces it.
Figure 3b. A wide loop and the convex rod tip path which produces it.
Figure 3c. A tailing loop and the concave rod tip path which produces it.
4. The length of the stroke must vary with the amount of line past the rod tip.
If you are casting a short line you will need a short stroke to move the rod tip along a straight line. If you are casting a longer line the extra weight causes the rod to bend much deeper, and a longer stroke is necessary to keep the rod tip moving in a straight line. This is where the problem of creep arises. If the rod is allowed to creep forward there will not be enough stroke length to properly load the rod for a long cast. This is a common problem when lengthening the stroke for a long distance cast.
Figure 4a. Short line, short stroke.
Figure 4b. Longer line, longer stroke.
5. Power must be applied in the proper amount at the proper place in the stroke.
The amount of power needed for each cast is influenced by a number of factors including the amount of line to be false cast, the total length of the cast, wind direction, the weight of the line and rod and the type of cast to be made. As shown in figure 5, the majority of this power should be applied after the rod has reached a position perpendicular to the plane of the cast. In other words, the power should be applied slowly at first, gradually increasing to a peak at the end of the stroke. There should be a crisp stop at the end of the casting stroke forcing the fly rod to come out of its bend. As the rod straightens or unloads a loop is formed.
Figure 5. A to B, power is increasing; B to C, power is greatest; D is the end of the stroke.
These are the five essentials of good fly casting. these essentials will enable you to achieve the proper loading and unloading of the rod, which should be the goal of all good fly casting. The correct loading and unloading of the rod allows you to first store energy in the rod and then transmit it to the fly line. Letting the rod work for you in this manner is the most efficient way to cast a fly.
a while back i’d posted this managing running line video
and as the dozens of questions i got by email said, “what the heck is he doing ? we can’t see !”
after a lot of searching i finally found this ‘loops vs coils’ video below that will hopefully clear things up. as we see and is well explained, it’s simply a matter of alternating palm-up to palm-down which places loops on both sides of the retrieving hand instead of around the fingers.
smart and simple, this is one to practice at home before heading out to the water because as we all know, the fish waits for the angler to f’up to grab the fly…. enjoy !
you guessed correctly, it’s Joan Salvato Wulff.
i can’t get enough of this lady… and here’s a little treat for us. briefly recalling her life and achievements, this little video is here to remind us of her influence to the fly fishing world and how this influence has equally reached women, children and men, something we can all be thankful for.
sadly, there’s quite a few dead fish in the film but let’s just say that Joan’s casting attributes make it worthwhile. enjoy !
here’s something useful for those trying to make sense of fly line weights.
not exclusive to, but of particular use for the double-hand casters, here’s a quick reference chart that avoids finding a calculator and even worse, finding out what in the heck a Grain is and what it refers to in the real world…
feel free to lift the chart and save it somewhere in your files. hopefully this will prevent a few headaches !
“My experience is that for a given line length (and weight) the caster uses almost the same stroke regardless of the action of the rod. Different rods certainly “feel different” but there is little or no “adjustment to or matching of the stroke” going on.”
～ Grunde Løvoll
how many times have we heard or read that we need to change the casting stroke depending on a rod’s action ?
the typical explanation given is, for a slower rod we’ll use a slower stroke and a faster stroke with a faster rod.
well, this happens to be incorrect and is a classic example so common in the fly casting world where ‘what we think we do and what actually happens’ don’t meet up.
as we’ll see below, Lasse Karlsson has taped two very different rods together to cast them at the same time. simultaneous loop formation, loop shape and loop speed are very-very similar with both rods.
if it weren’t for the excessive counter-flex/rebound (and it’s resultant waves of the rod leg of the fly line) produced from the slower rod’s heavier tip it would be extremely difficult to determine which line is which.
there is no adjustment of the casting stroke to achieve these equal results.
“Two rods cast at the same time, same line on both, and same line length.
Bendy rod: Berkley Grayphite 8 feet 5/6
Stiff rod: Sage TCX 690
Line Rio tournament Gold 5 weight
To make up for the difference in length, the rods where taped together so the tips where aligned.
The berkley rod is 75% glassfiber and 25% graphite, has an IP of 97 grams and a AA of 65 (so really according to CCS it’s fast ;-)) and a MOI of 76
The sage is full graphite, has an IP of 167 grams, an AA of 74 and a MOI of 70
Several things to learn about tackle here.”
and one of them is that a lot of ‘experts’, many rod designers and people in the tackle industry just blindly repeat what they’ve heard without giving it any thought and don’t seem to try these things out on their own, specially when they’re so simple to observe.
thank goodness for people like Lasse, Aitor, Grunde, Paul and a host of others who don’t live in a box.
EDIT: someone asked what would happen if there was more line out of the rod tip and Lasse shared a variant of the first test, this time extending line whilst double-hauling.
the quick answer is: nothing different than if it had been done with only one rod/line. the casting stroke widens, the pause lengthens and every other aspect of a basic cast remains the same.
see for yourself.