a lot of fly casting practise involves using rings, a hoop or any other object placed on the ground. this teaches us target distance acquisition and of course, accuracy.
the next step up from there is placing that hoop or something similar vertically and casting through it. (in her fantastic book Fly Casting Techniques, Joan Wulff offered the idea of casting through a car window and later varying the opening of that window by making it go up or down) this vertically-oriented target, or rather ‘loop passage space’ adds loop size to the previous learned skills.
what’s the point ? apart from variety, fun and a nice game to play with other casting nerds, learning to control loop size is really important when casting into the wind because a small loop takes up a lot less physical space and is less influenced by wind. casting into the wind needs a higher line speed as well and we can just add the extra line speed drill to the ‘through the hoop’ exercise.
the other very obvious reason is when having to cast with obstacles either in front of us or behind. those obstacles will vary greatly but maybe the most common are trees and their branches as in the pic below.
this was a while back in deepest-darkest Sweden and if memory’s correct, the only available back casting space i had was a little tunnel about 1 metre and a half wide. i put this pic here as a reminder of how important it is to do the hoop drill on the back cast as well as in front. it goes without saying that turning around and aiming for the empty space is the only way this is going to happen with success.
this great little clip from Chris Morris shows the hoop drill in both real time and slomo. variances of the drill could be varying the casting distances, how much line is shot through the hoop, side casting with loops at various angles and when you get good at this, casting at an angle instead of straight on. (the hoop’s height remains the same but its width ‘ovals’ and narrows, for lack of a better physics term) that one’s tricky !
practise never really makes perfect but it always makes gooder so here’s hoping this will inspire a few to do just that. enjoy !