Fly Casting with Laura Palmer

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~ Ein Laura Palmer film~ presumably named after everyone’s favourite girl-in-a-bag -at least that’s my guess- well, caught my attention. whether it has to do with an inexplicable interest in like-minded producers what give weird titles to their stuff combined with a good dose of fly casting… i’m happily digressing just to get to this: here’s a really nice, short and sweet video of Wolfgang Heusserer demonstrating an equally nice variety of single-hand spey casts.
Circle-C, Snap-T, Jump Roll/Switch cast, standard roll cast, wiggles and probably fourteen others i missed because i was too busy watching the line being first manipulated, then flying about. all the great presentation skills a river fisher should imo, have down pat.

not a how-to tutorial, this one’s just eye candy. more than the line dancing itself, we’ll notice how effortlessly every action is done. it looks easy and that easy is a sign of someone who’s worked a lot on their skill. i hope you’ll enjoy.

Fly Casting films- An experiment in White

having recently aquired a decent video editor has lead to a lot of playing around, a lot of confusion, a lot of “what the hell, click that button to see what happens !”, a lot of D’Ohs ! and so far, at least one ah-ha ! and that ah-ha is visible in this little gif.

see, that’s a standard black carbon fibre rod but one of those random clicks magically turned it into a glowing white, extremely visible, just perfect for demonstrating how fly rods move throughout the cast, rod.
a lot of us casting instructors already have white or high-viz rods for just this purpose but the magic button brings the visibility up several notches, really attracts the eye and will enable me to get the same after-the-fact high-viz rendition with anyone’s rod making this gizmo a super-nice tool to demonstrate and analyse anyone’s casts. yup, that’s all quite geek but i’m a casting geek… so i’m also quite excited ! as this magical surprise gives me lots of ideas for upcoming casting videos which is why i got the editor for in the first place.

technically, i’m somewhat of a digital editing newb but the old-school photo student in me tells me the rod turned white through some kind of solarization. why the magical button decided to reverse the tone of just the rod and not other similar dark tones is a complete mystery but one i’ll live with as i love a world filled with an equal balance of magic and science.
as for the cast, this is just some old random footage used for the editor-learning process. the seemingly random rod wiggling is a C pick-up towards the left followed with an aerial Snake roll to the right. being a metre or so above the water level doesn’t help to get an ideal anchor but it worked just fine. besides, casting just for the sake of casting is always fun and rewarding. funny thing with this one is the reward came several years later.

SloMo Spey

from 2013’s Nordic Fly Casting Championships here’s a little slomo ballet gem staring buddy, colleague and super-duper caster Magnus Hedman from Sweden doing a left-hand up single Spey with an 18′ rod.
we don’t get to see the line fly but the emphasis here is body movements and coordination. judging by a lot of little details such as body weight shifting, the D-loop’s position and what seems to be a perfectly placed and very short anchor it’s a fair bet that line went far… enjoy !

 

don’t be surprised if the Hedman name sounds familiar as we’ve seen brother Fredrik’s wicked ‘Crouching Tiger’ single-hand distance style a while back. bad-ass casting genes in this family are rather strong…

Spey Casting from the angler’s Point of View

some really nice footage from T.A. for us to enjoy and analyse today.

filmed both in real time with supplemental slomo for each type of cast, this little film gives us the opportunity to observe a pretty wide range of casts as if we where the caster.
sure, this is pretty close to how we all see it as we’re performing them but it’s really hard to say, have the global view that a wide-angle video camera can give because we tend to focus our attention on one single element in sequence: line lift, anchor placement, swing trajectory and timing, rod reversal and forward stroke and this is where video shines as we can easily pause, rewind, fast-forward and inspect all these elements one by one.

apart from the nifty line-dancing casting as added bonuses we’ll also notice that contrary to aerial mends, on-the-water mends don’t really have much of an effect on the fly line body or head itself (and leader and fly) but only on the running/shooting line.
also highlighted, the annoying fact that shooting/running line just loves to wrap itself uncontrollably around the rod just below the stripping guide when shooting line when we completely let it go…

it’s all good, enjoy !

Fly Casting- The Anchor does Not load the rod.

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when talking about rolls or Spey casts how many times have you heard that it does or that we load the rod against the anchor ?
probably many, many, many but all those manys are wrong because the anchor can not load the rod, it’s as simple as that. let’s see why this beastie doesn’t have any magical properties, its real role and why we use it.

because slomo videos don’t lie and have the wonderful habit of debunking myths here are two eye-opening videos from Aitor Coteron with a few words first to guide you along.
– firstly, take note of the equipment and location used for this demonstration. the rod is an Echo MicroPracticeRod with its synthetic rope and yarn line and the hallway’s floor is like most hallway floors; super-slick.
in other words, the rope/yarn/floor combination offers so little grip that it’s almost irrelevant to bring up any notion of a ‘real’ anchor. i’m a dummy when it comes to physics but the only conceivable ‘anchor’ i can think of in this particular case would be gravity’s effect on the yarn and considering its mass that can’t amount to much.
i can’t put any figures to this but let’s just say that an equivalent anchor on water and its subsequent surface tension gripping qualities would be hundreds or maybe thousands of times more than this kit on this floor yet the cast works perfectly.

– as noted in the video, we’ll easily see that the anchor doesn’t move until the rod is already fully loaded and if it isn’t moving it’s because there’s no tension on it: it’s not being pulled.
if we where loading the rod against the tension of the anchor, line tension would need to start and continually increase before the rod could start to bend.
line tension is gained and the fly leg only seriously starts to move backwards in the direction of the D-loop once the cast is completed.

now that that’s done and over with and hopefully the notion that the anchor loads the rod is wiped from the slate for good, let’s consider what the anchor actually does when we’re on the water and why we need it.

the anchor’s functions are twofold and interrelate. it prevents the line end/leader/fly combo from swinging back behind the caster where it might snag something or someone while simultaneously allowing a more efficient cast because there’s a loss of line energy efficiency if part of that energy is going in the opposite direction of the intended cast. in other words, we’re pulling the line in one direction (forward) but part of that line needs to go in the opposite direction (backward) before it can turn around and go towards our target and that’s no good.
when performed on water, even if there’s a very slight reversal of the line end going backwards towards the D-loop it’s negligible compared to a slick surface. (we see this on slomo video analysis, it’s not impossible but not so hard to see this slight reversal on water with the naked eye if we look carefully)

just to give another perspective to the smooth-floor casts here’s another sample filmed from the side.

ok, with that said we’re left with the obvious question: what am i loading the rod against if it isn’t the anchor ?
well, that’s easy. it’s exactly the same principle as when we’re doing aerial casts, we’re loading the rod against the combination of the rod itself (its actual physical weight and swing weight ) and the weight of the line outside of the rod tip except for one difference, with rolls and Speys the effective line weight we’ll be using isn’t all of the line outside the rod tip but only the rod leg- A and B through C. the fly leg- C to D doesn’t contribute significantly to the loading process.
here’s further clarification on this last point from Aitor:
“Just another common misunderstanding is that the anchor + fly leg of the D loop don’t load the rod because there is very little mass in that part. That isn’t the reason. The fly leg doesn’t load the rod because it isn’t accelerated by our stroke: no acceleration = no force; no action on the fly leg = no reaction from it on the rod.”
from the second video above Side View “See how the anchor starts sliding when the stroke is almost finished. And this even on a polished floor and with a very short line between loop apex and “fly”. If the anchor doesn’t move is because nothing is pulling it.”Spey D-Loop & Anchor
the anchor D to E is disregarded which goes to explain why we don’t take into account the weight of sink tips when we’re figuring out line weights for Skagit or other shooting head line systems.
having most of the weight near the rod tip A to C also explains the typical profile of just about every Spey line there is.

and here, the very significant contribution by Grunde Lovoll.
“in another discussion on Aitors wall I was challenged to elaborate on
this statement:
“The main benefit of the anchor is preventing the fly leg from going
“backwards”. _That_ effect actually lowers rod load, since greater
velocity difference in fly- and rod-leg would result in more line
tension…”
The statement above has two claims about anchors in
roll-/spey-casting (from now on spey-casting).
1) The main benefit of the anchor is that it “stops” the fly-leg from
going backwards (i.e. in the opposite direction of the cast being
made).
2) In roll casting a slipping anchor will in fact give higher line
tension in the loop than a static anchor, and thus more rod loading.
Before I explain these two claims I would like take a step back and
talk about line tension and rod loading. Frankly I think that the
focus on rod load is causing a lot of confusion and it is anchored
(pun intended) on the “false believe” that the main driver in casting
is the rod giving back potential energy when it unloads. This may
explain why people think the anchor is responsible for rod load; a
slipping-, crashed-, skew-, misplaced-, whatever-anchor is indeed bad
for your cast; therefore the conclusion is that it also is crucial for
rod loading (which we all know is complete and utter bullshit, yeah
English is also my second language).
Now we also know that what’s loading the rod is line tension. This is
off course also correct (ignoring self loading, air resistance and
gravity), but what isn’t correct is that the tension is the same along
the whole line. This is only correct in some static cases, if the line
(or parts of the line) is accelerated the load is not the same along
the line. In the D loop of a spey-cast the tension is highest at the
rod tip and decreases as we move (along the rod leg) towards the loop
(because the line pulls on less and less accelerated mass). The
tension in the loop itself is caused by the moving rod leg, and it is
given by the momentum change in the loop. Change in momentum as the
line is accelerated from fly- to rod-leg. It can be shown that the
tension in the loop is proportional to the velocity difference of the
fly and rod leg. So as the speed of the rod leg increases the tension
in the loop also increases. This tension from the loop then pulls on
the fly-leg, and the higher tension from the loop, the higher will the
acceleration of the fly leg be.
Now we can discuss the initial two claims.
1) The purpose of the forward stroke is to get enough inertia/energy
into the rod leg so that it is able to lift the fly-leg up and forward
and still have enough energy to unroll the line and get it nice and
straight. Any line mass moving in the opposite direction is therefore
bad for the cast as it takes energy out of the cast.
2) This statement is in essence explained above. The tension in the
loop is proportional to the speed difference between the fly- and
rod-leg. A slipping anchor gives higher speed (in the opposite
direction) of the fly leg. Thus higher tension in the loop and higher
tension in the rod leg. Now; this effect is probably very small, since
the tension in the loop is small, and any benefit on rod loading is
canceled by the backwards moving fly-leg.
All in all the tension in the fly-leg is quite small in all
spey-casting, and focusing on it and how it affects rod loading is
therefore quite a diversion for understanding what actually goes on in
spey casting. Also; Aitor has brilliantly demonstrated exactly this
in many of his casting videos, so nothing new here… “

and that’s about it !  if you’re still sceptical about the anchor thing go out and try this slick floor experiment for yourself with your standard rod and line, it’s a no-brainer.
to add to that you could always consider that although not exclusively, many of the International Federation of Fly Fishers casting instructor exams are performed on grass and the roll and Spey tasks may be done there as well. i and many of my colleagues have done both the basic instructor and master level exam without water and have performed spot-on rolls and Speys without a ‘proper’ anchor. why so many have passed their exams on grass and continue to ascertain that the anchor loads the rod is beyond me… but that’s another story i guess.

Single Hand Spey Casting- An Enlightening video

always on the research to find quality, inspiring casting videos to share here sometimes leads to real gems that don’t fit the quality and inspiring criteria at all and this one might be the gemmiest of them all.
i can’t decide whether this guy’s a very good actor or… so, let’s just take it for what it is, something funny to watch and just in case it isn’t a joke, lets be sure to completely disregard anything said or demonstrated. enjoy !

Fly Casting- The next Level ?

as the Advanced Fly Casting Demonstration title alludes to, is this advanced casting or not ? well, yes and no. let’s start with the no.

the no-casters will be quick to point out that all this fiddly-fancy rod waving is completely unnecessary; its just ‘trick casting’ to impress the peanut gallery which would probably scare off fish anyhow.
fine. assuming that the angler has decent control of their rod/line/leader/fly combo and can place the fly to the intended target with reasonable regularity, then that’s probably good enough for them. after all, a good chocolate cake doesn’t really need a scoop of ice cream or sauce to make the cake any better does it ?

well, i’m the kind that likes good ice cream and good sauce on good chocolate cake. they enhance the experience, offer a variety of tastes with the overall result of having a more complete dessert. ditto for fly casting.
now, i know very well that all this extra fiddly-fancy rod waving in itself isn’t going to lead to any more landed fish and to be honest, i’ll refrain from doing all this excessive stuff when actually fishing but !, its all going to make me a more efficient caster if i know how to do it at practice time plus, its a lot of fun and fun makes casting sessions a lot more productive than doing simple, basic movements over and over again.
but why ? casting as Klaus displays in the video needs a highly developed sense of spacial and temporal awareness and the ability to act/move very precisely on several planes in sequence with different rhythms and speeds all the while controlling varying degrees of slack in the line. in real-world situations, these capabilities allow the caster to improvise in real time, a little plus considering all the continually changing variables that happen when we fish.
this is hard-core multi-dimensional traverse wave casting and one that needs visualisation before and during the casts to not mess up ! very much akin to Zen-like activities, in a sense, movement needs to happen before thought or maybe more precisely, movements need to happen based on pre-visualisation and not a more ‘traditional’ step-by-step as-it-happens method. i don’t know if that makes sense but i can’t find a better way to describe it with words.

so, is this Advanced Fly Casting ? you bet ! but when/if acquired, we can consider it a hidden skill set that pops up when needed most, when situations get tricky and we still want to stay in the game while pleasing one’s self and not the peanut gallery. whether we chose or not to get to this level is a personal choice and most definitely non-necessary. at worst its eye candy but its a lovely candy that won’t make us fat like the ice cream, sauce and cake… enjoy !

Speycasting in Slow Motion

at about a year old this video by Eoin Fairgrieve isn’t exactly new, but ! what fly fisher could tire of seeing such great spey casting filmed so well ? not this guy.

be sure to watch it in full screen, enjoy!

Rod Cam: a medley of Spey casts from the rod’s perspective

nifty to watch and quite informative if we’re interested in seeing how rod blanks behave when they’re at work.
with a variety of casts such as the Double Spey, Snap T and Snake Rolls, we’ll also get to relive the beautiful, angelic symphonyish sound of a loop-to-loop connection being pulled into the rod guides. its all good, enjoy !

 

Spey Casting- More on the Snake Roll

by Eoin Fairgrieve

we’d previously seen an introduction on this wonderful all-in-one change-of-direction cast with descriptions by its creator, Simon Gawesworth and beautifully demonstrated by Christopher Rownes and today’s treat compliments the previous instruction perfectly.
always pleasantly explained with simple, concise wordings, Eoin’s as always spot on: it’s all good and well worth paying attention to every single bit.

whether learning for the first time or working on this cast, this is a little goldmine. enjoy !

note- beginners might want to focus on all the same moves but at a slower rate with short to mid belly lines to start off.

new to this or old, be sure to check out the previous Snake Roll article HERE for just about everything there is to know about this cast.
if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments box.

Spey Casting- the Single Spey with a Twist

apart from confirming 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 !

Ambidextrous Double Hand Casting

some super-nice advice, tips and a casting drill to get you off on the good hand when it’s time to cast off the non-dominant shoulder by Hywel Morgan via Fieldsports Channel
primarily based on double-hand casting, its not too hard to figure out that the very same exercise will be just as effective and beneficial with a single-hand rod.
like i always say, its pretty rare to see someone poke their eye out or stick the fork in their ear when they eat with their non-dominant hand meaning, that unless the person has serious motor skill issues fly casting with either hand is just a matter of getting over the mental ‘ican’t do it’ block and simply practicing a little. most of us are blessed with having two arms and hands, why not be a Ninja and learn to use them both ?

J.P.’s Single Spey

J.P. asked me to help him out with his double-hand casting in preparation for a salmon trip to Russia. being the sporty type (rugby), he’s quite in tune with how his body works but for us casting instructors, we know that the brain-order/body-movement correlation can be a long process… and sometimes not.
here’s his upstream, non-dominant hand-up Single Spey after ten minutes of explanations and demonstrations of what is generally considered the most difficult of Spey casts. sure, there’s a few things to smooth out and work on but he’s ready to safely fish.
as my UK mates say, i’m properly chuffed and very much look forward to seeing the progress he’s made since. casting instruction days are always a treat and this one was one of the treatiest.

JP SingleSpey beginnings

 

Jim’s Reversed Spey

casting and film editing by Jim Williams

when learning or brushing up on any fly casting techniques, one of the better ways i’ve found is to (at least try to) analyse both theory and actual casts from as many perspectives as possible: reversed, inside out, diagonally, on different planes, through ‘third person’ video and in today’s case, backwards.
this kind of casting study might not be everyone’s cup of tea but at least its interesting to see the fly line defy the laws of physics by being pushed instead of pulled. enjoy !

btw, the cast is a Snake Roll off both shoulders.

Pretty casting.

not sure how else to describe Christopher Rowne‘s style but it sure fits the bill. as casting geeks we could go on and analyse this and that but for today ’nuff said, this is eye candy and it’s very tasty. enjoy !

as a side note, i’m really happy to see mini-drones used for filming casting sequences as it’s giving us perspectives that are otherwise quite difficult to achieve.

Line Dancing

with Pavel Kupstov

a lot could be said about Pavel’s excellent technique but for today let’s just sit back and enjoy a little fly line ballet.

Spey Casting: Anchor/D-Loop Location and Angle and how it affects casting efficiency.

Aitor Coteron once again brings us a very insightful and thought provoking casting lesson all through the simplicity and non-arguable use of slo-mo video analysis.
as noted in the video, if the fly and rod legs aren’t parallel prior to the forward cast there’s a great deal of ‘misplaced energy’ needed to straighten the D-Loop out before the line can actually start moving forward. in a way, this is the equivalent of having slack in the system even if this slack isn’t apparent and it all seems nice and tight.
the beauty of slo-mo analysis shows this clearly when the apex of the D is moving perpendicular to the casting plane instead of inline with it.
sure, even with a sloppy anchor placement the casts still works (up to a certain point and this will be greatly influenced by the length of the line’s head) but who wants to be sloppy ? it’s much less efficient and regardless of head length we’ll notice that since the leader and fly are off to one side, once delivered, they’ll swing to the other at the completion of the cast just like when we swing the rod tip throughout the stroke in an aerial cast. in extreme cases, this will lead to line collision, a somewhat equivalent of a tailing loop.  not good.

what this all tells us or rather reminds us of is how important it is to learn and work out how to be as efficient as possible by regularly practicing getting anchor placement not only in the right location but in the right angle relative to the direction of the forward cast.

to finish off i’ll add what may seem as a minor rant but it’s intended to deepen our understanding and progression through analysis of this subject. go on Vimeo or Youtube and check out the casting hotshots and also your fishing/casting mate’s anchor placements and angles when on the water when out with them. i can’t put percentage numbers to this but you’ll notice that the vast majority have less-than-desirable anchor/D placement. work on doing it better than them 😉

‘Powered by Water’

SpeyCasting in Slow Motion with Eoin Fairgrieve/UltraSpey Fly Fishing

as it’s just a preview it’s unfortunately way too short but oh, what a treat to see such excellent spey casting from these different viewpoints. enjoy !

Related articles

Spey Casting- the Dry Fly Spey

we’d already seen this same cast from Christopher Rownes in ‘A spey cast for dry flies‘ in slomo and here’s another demonstration of this very useful cast by an unknown but fine caster on the Kupa river in Croatia and in real time as it’s nice to compare the two. of course, Chris’s video is as always superb but i thought it would be nice to share this other video because it compliments the first and demonstrates the cast in a more confined environment. as a reminder, here’s the cast’s whys and hows for those who aren’t familiar with it:

” ordinarily, spey casts are reserved for sinking flies and nymphs or big deer hair Bomber-style dries that don’t require being constantly dried before being cast out again.
but what about your average trout-size dry fly ? wouldn’t it get drowned by being repeatedly dragged through the water during line repositioning and the subsequent anchoring before rolling out the line again ?
yes it would but there’s a way out and it’s not only fun and efficient but it also lets you present your fly in situations where you couldn’t have before.

from Christopher Rownes, here’s a single-hand rod spey cast version of what both him and Simon Gawesworth call a Dry Fly Snake Roll. the cast is basically the same as Simon’s, but Chris initiates the snake roll part from the right side of the body instead of Simon’s left, combining a Jelly Roll and a Turbo spey (either single or double hauling with a single-hand spey which just like with aerial casting, increases line speed).
as an example of this cast’s usefulness, on the video below let’s imagine that Chris is near the bank and has  trees or rocks behind him and he wants to cast across the river. (the new video below demonstrates this situation clearly)
this cast avoids casting the D-Loop into the trees, enables to dry the fly by false casting left to right out of the presumed holding area of the fish, initiate the Snake Roll and cast the fly out towards it’s target all in one smooth move. a really nice cast to add to your repertoire. “

and a sexy one too…

side note: just to be picky but more of a reminder of things to look out for when learning or practicing spey casts, we’ll notice in this video that the fly leg anchors aren’t in line with the D-Loop/target plane but rather cross-over this plane on the upstream side. ideally, and something to strive for, is to place the anchor just a little bit downstream (reverse that order if on the other side of the water) to separate fly and rod legs just as we would with a standard roll cast.
the solution is easy, perform the Snake-Roll portion slower, start it with the casting arm extended and slowly pull it in towards the body while ‘drawing’ the e.
in other words, take it easy, don’t force it ! 😉