Fly Casting- A little more on the Double Haul

as a follow up to yesterday’s post Explaining the Double Haul, friend and instructor colleague Craig Buckbee a.k.a. EasternCaster offered a brilliantly simple addition, something every person of any level of fly casting can really benefit from by keeping in the forefront of the mind when practicing the double haul:

“The rod hand initiates the cast, the line hand finishes the cast”

that simple statement/mantra-to-be-mumbled-over-and-over actually says/implies a lot about great hauling form and great casting in general but there’s a few more things to add to this topic so i’ll just leave it at that for today and encourage you to not only try it out but also think about it for a while.


as for this somewhat cryptic image, here’s a minor tip that came in handy to help solve a little issue a casting student of mine had during a course a few months back. i know its a little off-the-shelf but if it can help someone else then it’ll be well, just great.

the situation: this gentleman had been falsley lead to believe for many-many years by a bunch of bozos that the double-haul was a ‘specialist’s’ technique only to be used by the elite to cast very far… and as a result and as primarily a river trout fisher, had never learned to haul but heard the contrary here and there and was keen to learn.
Krieger's Haul drill mono loop m.fauvet-TLC 5-1-16
by far, i prefer to have students use the type of gear they’ll be using in their ‘everyday’ fishing but he was having a little trouble getting the right feel and timing for the feedback so i pulled out my Mel Krieger Hauling Reel backup (it’s a shooting head with a mono shooting line – see the video below) and included Mel’s drill as part of the afternoon’s tasks.

this started off really well for those specific difficulties and after a few minutes they where almost a thing of the past however, whether it was his aging hands combined with the thinnish shooting mono or, 20-30 years of being used to slipping line through the fingers whilst false casting reflex, the end result was an excess amount of overhang after each casting cycle and as anyone who’s cast a shooting line knows, there’s only so much overhang possible before things start to get nasty, ugly and frustrating or in other words, this was turning into negative, unproductive time spent by the student.

since there’s no actual line shooting involved in this drill and after noticing how line slippage was quickly becoming the centre of his attention instead of the key elements (and also noticing how i was starting to sweat whilst trying to find a solution quickly… ) i decided to eliminate the impedment by cutting the shooting line at the correct overhang length and tie a simple loop knot that could be easily held.
line slippage became impossible, focus shifted back to the task and after a few minutes, the beginner hauler became quite proficient. enough so that when he re-installed his ‘normal’, thicker, non-slippery line back on the rod, everything went fine and dandy and the Mister left a happy-hauling camper.

in novels and movies i really like it when the hero gets her/his brains blown out or the couple ends by a grueling divorce but when it comes to casting lessons, a happy ending is always a win-win.

and as another happy ending, here’s Mel ! enjoy !

Fly Casting- Explaining the Double Haul

by Stefan Siikavaara

originally written in 2009, here’s an interesting approach on the subject that stands up well to time. intended for casting instructors, this ‘frame of mind’ or maybe ‘perspective shift’ should be of  interest for fly anglers of all levels.

when talking about or teaching the Double Haul we tend to simply say “it speeds up the line” and often just leave it at that. Stefan digs a little deeper and i thank him for it.

“You want to keep it simple while teaching, but this is sometimes easier said than done. While teaching you sometime get really tough questions from your students. I’ll give you an example: I’ve been asked a few times about what the doublehaul does to your cast

When I get this question all sorts of things go through my head. I am thinking about what I read in Mac Brown’s excellent book, Casting Angles. The haul is a necessity to master because it enables the caster to conserve energy throughout the fly cast. It entails putting all the various casting fundamentals together for a cumulative effect of attaining higher line velocity on the stream. The line hand pulls on the line. This causes the rod flex to increase which leads to greater rod deflection.

I am also thinking about a great essay in physics that doctor Grunde Løvoll published a while ago. Mr Løvoll’s findings show that the catapult effect, the actual unbending of the rod only equates to about 10% of the total line speed in a cast.

Among the other things that go through my head are a few of the traditional views of the double haul. That it increases the bend of the rod and that it also reduces slack line in the cast.

I am tempted to answer all of this. But as you already figured out, these explanations question each other. On some points they even contradict each other. And most importantly, handing this big package over to my student is not simple enough; therefore it is not good enough.

Let’s have has closer look at them. My conclusion of Mac Brown’s explanation joined with Løvoll’s findings is that the haul gives additional speed directly to the line. I like it, let’s leave it at that.

If I would go for the traditional view of the haul reducing slack in the cast I would risk planting a casting fault in my students head. Why is that you ask? Well, if there is slack in the line it would most likely manifest itself the most early in the cast, while the loop is unfurling or after the line has turned over. The idea of using the haul to reduce slack would incite starting the haul early. Well, if I start the haul early I risk finishing it too soon. And what would that give me? I run a considerable risk of adding a tailing loop to my students cast with that explanation.

So, all these things buzzing in my head and the student still waiting for an answer to his question: What does the double-haul do to my cast?

So what do I say? Do I go for the technical explanation or do I go for a traditional description? This student had not read all the literature and joined in on all the threads on the internet boards. He just wanted to brush up his casting for hunting seatrout down the Swedish coast.

No, instead I’ll choose an explanation by Lefty Kreh that I think sums them up: The line hand is the accelerator. You drive your car, you shift gears and you press the accelerator. You start your stroke, you speed up and then you haul.

Being able to abstract and condense a huge amount of information and different theories into a short and simple answer proves that you really know your stuff. Read everything, evaluate everything and learn from it all. But keep your explanations clean and simple. The mark of a great teacher as the late Mel Krieger is to make complex things simple. Use few words, use your body language, use examples that your student can relate to. Keep it simple.”

Fly Casting- Practice with a purpose

shared here with Walter Simbirski’s kind permission.

Walter is an IFFF Master Certified Casting Instructor quite active in several fly casting discussion groups and today’s wise advice is taken from one of them. intended as a helping guideline for casting certification candidates, the very same advice is invaluable for any fly angler wanting to up their game.
most reading this won’t be preparing an exam so simply replace words like: exam with whatever fishing situation you’re working on- saltwater flats, high-altitude mountain streams or simply your favourite everyday fishing spot and switch the noted distances to the distances you’ll need and you’ll see that this advice indeed fills everyone’s bill.

we’ll instantly recognise that it’s all just common sense but we fly casters/anglers tend to be an easily distracted, unorganised lot… so, a little reminder can only help. enjoy !

ed_mosser_strobe_photo casting

“We’ve talked about training rather than straining in order to avoid becoming injured. The next advice in the area of practice is learning to practice with a purpose. The goal is to make the most of your training sessions by continuing to avoid injury and to practice the things you need to practice in order to advance your skills. The things to keep in mind when practicing with a purpose are:
– Set up a plan and stick to it. If you are going to practice your accuracy casts regularly then don’t let yourself get sidetracked by beginning every lesson with distance casting.

– Concentrate on the things you need to improve, not the things you are already very good at. Each of us will be different in this respect although virtually everyone will begin with learning to control their loops. Are you able to consistently cast over 85 feet and make it look easy but can’t seem to hit a target? Then you should probably spend most of your time practicing accuracy rather than distance.

– Start every practice session with some warm up drills. Make sure you are stretched and warmed up before getting into the practice session.

– Vary your practicing and forget what the test requires. Instead of setting up targets at 30, 40 and 50 feet try setting up targets at different distances and at different angles rather than just on top of your tape. If you can consistently hit targets at any distance up to 50 feet then you will have a lot more confidence in your ability to perform this task during the test. Some of my fellows take a number of tennis balls and toss them out onto the field as their targets for their practice session.

– Don’t worry about meeting the minimum requirements of a task but concentrate on meeting the requirements with ease. You are required to cast 85 feet – is that your personal best? If so, then don’t count on adrenaline to get you across the line in the test. Continue practicing until you can hit 90 or 95 feet consistently with minimal effort and with the line landing straight.

– If one of your casts is giving you a problem then break it down into smaller parts and identify the things that are giving you problems. Fix these items and then put it all back together. You might recognize this as a form of Whole-Part-Whole. It works for your students and it works for you as well.

– Work with your mentor to identify the areas to concentrate on and what sort of practice drills might help you fix an issue.

– Set aside a time to practice each day stick to it. If you set a regular time you are more likely to stick to practicing each day. Make sure people know that this is your time for practice and that you should not be disturbed. But don’t let your schedule become too much of a habit – vary your times on occasion. If you become mentally conditioned to making your best efforts at a certain time of day you may find your test time is not optimal for you.

– Make sure you revisit the things you don’t concentrate on regularly to ensure you continue to improve or don’t backslide in those areas.

Train. Don’t strain.
Preparing for a casting certification test can be difficult because you need to practice a broad range of skills and it can be hard concentrate on one or two things. When I first began working towards becoming a certified instructor I printed out the performance test, took it to the field and worked my way through each task every time I practiced. After a couple of weeks I found that I spent about 10 minutes each session running through the parts of the test I felt mildly interested in and then spent the rest of my session trying to see if my distance cast had somehow improved from the previous day. Instead of my casting improving it became very sloppy. My loops were large and I was constantly ticking the grass. I was in no condition to attempt the test. At some point I decided that if I was going to pass the test I needed to concentrate on what was really required. Instead of spending every day trying to cast farther I concentrated on increasing the distance for which I had good loop control. If I started each session and found that I could easily handle the distance from the previous day then I added 1 or 2 feet for that session – no more than that. If I felt the loops weren’t up to my satisfaction I shortened the line until I felt I was back in control. By changing my practice methods I found that within a few weeks my casting, and my best distance, improved significantly. It takes patience but it pays off in the long run. Instead of running through the test every day you should run through it every few weeks to identify what things you need to concentrate on for the upcoming weeks. Select a limited number of items you think you can improve and stick to those.

One more tip – review your equipment regularly as well. Make sure you are getting the performance you need from the equipment you have selected and that it is kept in peak form.”

Fly Casting Instruction Breakthrough- How to control someone else’s casting arm with your brain

you’ve attempted everything; you’re trying to help out this lost soul with his casting but whatever you do he has no control whatsoever over his wrist and it’s flip-flopping-flailing all over the place, so is the rod and of course so is the fly line.
he’s embarrassed, frustrated and is having second thoughts about suicide and you, poor instructor are wondering how this guy has gotten through life so far without swallowing his own tongue.

casting hammers

snickering blatantly, motherly insults and verbal threats start the healing process but remain sterile. the Casting Hammers aren’t working (one for each knee), there’s blood, snot and tears all over the rod you lent him for the course (he doesn’t know it yet but he’s just bought your whole outfit at four times its original cost), your Xanax bottle is empty and if you’re not lucky to be bald yet you’re probably pulling out enormous grey tufts whilst trying to figure out what to do next when low and behold, all of a sudden some science geeks in the form of helping angels working out of their parent’s garage have come to save the casting world with just a few old radio parts, suction cups, alligator clips and a low-end model iPad, the whole lot is easily transportable to the casting field in a messenger bag.

wipe the sucker down (be sure to over-charge him for the towels and antiseptic) plug him in and finally get him to cast properly for the first time in his life. at this point it doesn’t really matter if he’s conscious or not because we’ll be working on electrically-induced muscle memory that’ll automatically be stored in his inner him. you’re now in charge, just as it should be.

yeah i know, that was silly (except for the Casting Hammers. i do use them frequently and they work a charm, believe me) but you know, casting, fishing, chocolate, science, dreams and realities all blur into one at a certain point…

Fly Casting- Casting by hand

although very cool to watch, casting fly lines by hand (without a rod) isn’t anything new. i’m not sure they where the first to develop this but Lee and Joan Wulff wrote about it eons ago and if i remember correctly, they got the idea of trying this out when they ended up stream side one day and realised that even though they had their reels, lines, flies and other stuff, they hadn’t packed their rods ! it saved the day, they caught fish, probably had quite a few laughs along the way all the while coming up with an ingenious learning/teaching method that’s as good now as ever because by removing the rod and forgetting about the all-too overly emphasised ‘loading the rod’ mantra from the equation and focussing on moving the line which is the whole point of fly casting, we either instantly or very quickly understand just about everything there is to understand about line tension, casting rhythm/pause, force application, straight line path, stroke length and forming loops (in other words, Bill and Jay Gammel’s Five Essentials of Fly Casting) and all that with just a simple piece of yarn or thickish string.

today’s video via allcastcomp (i don’t know the fellow’s name. if you do please leave a comment below, thanks !) is in two parts.
in the second, our mystery cowboy explains and demonstrates some really nice hand-only line control and accuracy and in part one, and the part i find the most interesting teaching-wise is the concept of getting people, specially beginners but something a lot of us could benefit from as well, to do exactly as explained in the video and mentioned above and learn or relearn to do all the moves without a rod.
in the same sense as pantomiming teaches our body to easily repeat a movement, casting a short length of line by hand will not only get us familiar with that movement but we’ll get instant feedback on our results and those results don’t lie. in my eyes, this kind of no-nonsense and ultra-simplified teaching and learning is simply brilliant as the caster can only get better when they put that rod together and string it up.

i have no idea if he fly fished or even considered such seemingly menial things as playing with strings but if he had, i’m sure George Orwell would have said “Triple plus Good”. enjoy !

Fly Casting- The Foundation Casting Stroke

before anything else, i want to extend a great big thank you to Jason Borger for sending me this video to share here on TLC ! first described in drawing form in his seminal book Nature of Fly Casting, today’s treat is as far as i know, the first animated rendition of the Foundation Casting Stroke.

let’s first have a look at the video in ‘real time’. enjoy !

ok, with all the other styles of fly casting around what makes this so special ? there are several aspects.
– firstly, as opposed to most other styles i can think of (with the exception of say, the 170° or other distance competition-specific methods), the FCS is the only stroke/cast/line path that all works in one plane.
as a reminder, most other styles are somewhat based on a more elliptic stroke. some more, some less elliptic but the main result is typically a back cast where the line travels behind the caster beneath the rod tip or at least much lower than the subsequent forward cast.

lifting the elbow literally ‘lifts’ the line over the rod tip.

JB 'Pistoning' FCS
its purpose is to track throughout the stroke as true as possible which means effectively having a higher BC trajectory keeping the line and fly away from obstacles and also a greater degree of fly placement precision.
– the FCS necessitates the full use of the caster’s arm. the stronger shoulder joint and muscle groups do most of the ‘work’, the quicker-to-move elbow adds a bit of speed and rod butt angle change to the stroke and the wrist and fingers finalise both speed-up and stop of the rod butt while refining the movements the bigger/stronger groups initiated.
this ‘big to small’ approach not only makes perfect sense bio-movement-wise but also greatly reduces the risk of injury, discomfort and fatigue.
– actively engaging the whole arm during the strokes and particularly the up and down ‘pistoning’ motion of the elbow makes getting a narrow and/or super-controlled loop thanks to SLP ‘Straight Line Path’ of the rod tip a piece of easily repeatable and consistent cake. among all the aspects of the FCS, that alone should get most casters interested.
another aspect i find invaluable to the FCS is it prevents what i term ‘arm laziness‘. this laziness is common amongst casters of all levels for what might be one of a million reasons but one thing i’ve noticed throughout the years is it’s often the root of many problems. to put it another way, exaggerated arm movement rarely leads to anything worse than a bigger than normal loop whereas not enough or just-at-the-limit movement very easily leads to casting nasties.

is the FCS the end-all of fly casting ? no and yes. it most definitely is not the kind of cast we’d want to do when casting big, heavy flies or teams of flies and most casting styles don’t rely on casting in a single plane to be effective and people definitely catch fish without casting the line over the rod tip.
learning the FCS however takes our casting game to a whole other level. once we’ve assimilated it to our bag of tricks we’ll be a more complete and therefore more efficient caster. it’s well worth the extra play/work to get this one down pat.
as a final note, i personally don’t consider the FCS in the least bit to be a purely vertical overhead style. we can use the exact same elbow up-and-down ‘pistoning’ as Jason calls it to any other plane in various degrees from completely horizontal and from one side of the body to the other by simply replacing the up-and-down movement of the elbow to one that goes out-and-in. as a supplement to this article, i’ll try to make a video of the ‘out and in’ motion in the near future.
for more on the SLP aspect of the FCS click here HOW STRAIGHT IS STRAIGHT LINE PATH ? and check out the comment section.

here’s  a slomo gif that’ll hopefully help to completely assimilate this all-important movement.

JB's FCS 303fps slomo

i’d like a mention that Jason’s upcoming book Single-Handed Fly Casting is in the photo/drawing stage and that the list for the 1001 signed and numbered copies is filling up quick. be sure to click HERE to reserve your copy soon, the casting world’s been waiting for this one and i’d expect them to go fast…

Fly Casting- The Anchor does Not load the rod.

IMG_0977.JPG

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.

Fly Casting Terms

another real gem for us shared here with Mac Brown‘s kind permission.

casting terms

first published in 2009, this is most certainly the most comprehensive list there is. beyond the definitions themselves there’s a whole lot of food for thought borne from an enormous amount of experience both on the water and whilst studying how fly casting works leaving us with not only the obvious written but also a lot to read between the lines for the inquisitive and creative fly fisher/caster.

titled as fly casting terms, we’ll notice how Mac’s list delves deeply into the not-so-usually talked about world of 3-dimensinal casting and presentation line layouts. we’ll also find a whole host of fishing and equipment definitions as well; there’s a little something here for everyone and it’s all yummy. (even if it gets super-geek at times but that’s a necessity as Mac’s on a whole other plane compared to most !…)
i’d recommend taking your time, chewing slowly and let it all sink in one mouthful at a time. bon appétit !


” These terms are not set in stone. I have modified many of the terms I use when teaching over the years and am always looking for better ones. These terms below have served me well for my own personal learning curve and in teaching over the years. Most of them I came up with when organizing my text, Casting Angles in the early 90’s. These are ongoing and always subject to changes and amendments. I believe that the terms below can be used to teach all styles of casting and have enough tools for discussion of mechanics for specialty casts. When teaching, we often have revelations that seem like they move us through dimensional leaps of faith into new discoveries. When we can get a global recognition of terms commonly used in the sport, it will no doubt be much easier to get instructors on the same page.

I realize that most folks do not need to even witness these terms for their own casting. The casting geek lingo is helpful among instructors and educators of fly fishing. There has been so much offered over the years in dealing with the straight line casting stroke that in some ways I feel this has stagnated the general casting public. You can not use two dimensional terms and models and apply it for the real world of fishing casts (regardless of single or double handed rods). The trend here in the states is to call all of the 3D, constant tension casts, live line cast, etc.. and lump them all into the world of spey casting. This is a tragic mistake for the next generation of anglers throughout the globe if we continue on this path. It is essential that organizations globally break away from this two dimensional ideology for fly casting because it is very limiting on the water (as well as teaching). It is my sincere hope that something in these terms will cause curiosity to increase with your own casting and or teaching. “

Casting Terms

180 Degree Principle: The aerial back cast or D loop is made in a straight line exactly 180 degrees opposite from the target. Useful for straight line casts for distance and accuracy.

Acceleration– The rate of increase or decrease in velocity, magnitude, or direction.

Active Presentations– A presentation when the fly moves at a different rate from the current in which it travels so the angler may represent the food organism’s behavior. Active presentations impart an erratic change of direction, magnitude, and velocity to the selected imitation that closely mimics the natural organism’s state of being.

Anatomical Advantages– Diagnosing the weaknesses and strengths of the body parts and how they apply to the mechanics of the casting stroke. Many casting styles make use of various individual physiques.

Anatomical Position– The position of your body when standing upright with your arms at your side, while your palms face toward the same direction as your body.

Anchor– The anchor is typically the fly, leader, and a tip section of line that is positioned close to the caster (often a rod length away and in line with D loop and forward cast) prior to delivery. Shorter cast uses less anchor and a long cast uses more line for the anchor.

Angular Thrust-The casting stroke is a combination of the whole body involved for applying force to the rod. However, all casts involve using one or more combination of six different wrist positions (see directly below).

Angular Linear Thrust– A concept for describing the rod hand always remaining parallel with the forearm. The basic vertical foundation cast (most commonly taught) is an example of angular linear thrust. The motion includes usually either wrist abduction or adduction.

Angular Perpendicular Thrust– A concept for describing the rod hand’s perpendicular relationship to the forearm. It encompasses both wrist extension and flexion. This is often performed toward the completion of the casting stroke and line manipulation.

Angular Rotational Thrust– The circular motion applied from the forearm during the cast or mend. The motion is performed by varying the thrust force in which the forearm rotates (pronates or supinates) clockwise or counterclockwise.

Back Cast – A description that usually has the fly line cast opposite of the target area. It changes as well to other directions depending on obstacles, wind, or other change of direction fly line setups.

Bag of Tricks– The complete knowledge of understanding and ability to master several varieties of casts which aid the angler in challenging scenarios. It includes the full spectrum of control and force used for fishing casts.

Body Plane– The body plane refers to the positioning of where the rod and line is used while performing casts. The positioning around the caster will be a measurement of degrees always in a clockwise direction with 0° always directly in front of the caster (see also on–side and off–side).

Cast– The projectile loop motion of line created by varying the amount of force during the stroke that is applied to the rod by the caster. This dynamic motion propels the fly line, leader, and fly to a specific position on the water.

Casting Analyzer– A tool invented by Noel Perkins and Bruce Richards used for looking at the smoothness of applied force during the casting stroke. It also measures the symmetry for the back and forward casts for casts that are translatory. It also contains data of elite casters to compare your application of power with many of the greats. (the castanalysis.com site originally linked to this article is no longer accessible)

Casting Arc– (also Casting angle) The angle of rotational change of the rod when making the casting stroke. For many years arc was described as clock face positions.

Casting Cycle– The complete motion of implementing two casting strokes. Usually this is referred to as a back and forward cast. It could also mean two back or two forward cast. Casting cycle varies according to tempo for dealing with obstacles.

Casting Mechanics– A study of force and motion during and after the casting stroke. The force and motion are so completely interrelated (like braids of a rope) that neither can be defined independently from the other.

Casting Planes– Casting planes include all of the various airspace the rod and line are worked through a three–dimensional space around the caster’s body (see rod, loop, and line planes).

Casting Stroke– When the angler applies force to the rod to form a loop of line. This includes hand path and casting arc.

Closed Loop– Refers to a loop in which the fly leg crosses the rod leg during the cast (also called a tailing loop).

Complete System Forces– A concept for viewing all of the internal and external systems in unison (big picture), and the relationship of the interaction of forces present on the objects of the system.

Concave Rod Tip Path– A U-shaped rod tip path where the rod tip falls below, then rises above the effective straight line path (SLP) of the rod tip. May be problematic for causing higher chance for tailing loops (depending on application of power). Most common cause for this shape is applying force to the rod too abruptly or too early in the casting stroke.

Conservation of Energy– The sum of the potential and kinetic energy within the system remains constant for the complete system. The gain of kinetic energy must equal the loss of potential energy in any process of the system.

Control– The intended application or lack of force to achieve a desired line layout. A full range of control includes the concept of application of negative force, normal force, and positive force, as well as the usage of all rod and loop planes. A higher understanding of line tension.

Counterflex-When the rod springs down at the completion of casting stroke (after RSP) toward the direction of the unrolling loop.

Coupled Plane Pendula– A series of three or more hinges that perform motion. This concept is useful for understanding how body hinges of the caster may apply force to the casting stroke for either translatory or rotary motion. It can also be used to describe the fly line loop unrolling during the fly cast. The line is cast through a specific plane and is coupled together with a series of frictionless hinges.

Convex Rod Tip Path– A domed shape rod tip path (windshield-wiper like path in extreme cases) that may result in larger loops. Negative casts (also called underpowered casts) often use a convex rod tip path for controlling large fly loops for curves.

Creep– An ill-timed (too early) forward drift movement of little power to the rod in the direction of the next casting stroke that reduces available casting arc and/or casting stroke. Creep is often labeled as a fault and is usually (but not always) unintentional for many casters. Creep typically increases tension of the rod leg.

D Loop-The D loop is a loop of line that forms behind the rod tip and it can be either dynamic or static. Usually Spey casts make use of a dynamic D loop. A basic roll cast often uses a static D loop.

Damping – a). A term that refers to how quickly a rod recovers to a resting position at the end of rod motion. b). Also used to describe the relaxing on the grip of the rod butt after the stop to minimize rod tip oscillations.

Dangle– The line’s position prior to the cast that is usually downstream of the caster.

Delivery Cast– The final cast that delivers the fly, leader, and line to a specific location.

Direction Altered Cast– A casting stroke in which the forward or backward cast does not end up in the same plane from which it started.

Double Haul– A line acceleration technique that increases rod load, tip speed, and line speed. It encompasses a haul on both the back and forward cast. Aids in keeping the rod tip straighter for a longer period.

Double Taper Line– A line that is tapered on each end and is uniform throughout the remaining length.

Downstream Wind– A wind that blows downstream.

Drag– a).The fly moving at a speed other than the current’s speed in which it is traveling.

b). Rod translation during early part of casting stroke that helps build momentum to the direction of the cast. It can be used to increase tension, take up unwanted slack, delay rotation, or assist casting stroke by starting to overcome fly line inertia. This has been called pull as well with some casting groups (see “Slide” also).

c). Casting geeks also refer to air/water friction on the coatings of fly lines.

Drift– a). Refers to the amount of drag implemented on the fly (sometimes called float).

b). A supplementary motion that takes place during the pause of the stroke for repositioning the rod. Drift also offers an advantageous position for shooting line at the completion of the casting stroke. Upward drift toward the unrolling line can also be an advantage for opening up the casting stroke and arc angle and makes it easier for shooting line due to rod position.

Effective Rod Length-Refers to the distance from tip of rod to the butt of the rod. Useful when looking at video analysis since the rod is bent when performing casts. The shorter the distance of (ERL) equates to maximum load.

Energy– A concept for the capacity of an object to perform work. Examples include potential and kinetic.

Enlightenment Casts– Creative and imaginative uses of various actions when performing the casting stroke. To gain an understanding on the full comprehension of the problems involved and their solutions on the stream.

External System Forces– A concept used for describing forces exerted to the objects of the internal system. Examples include gravity, surface friction of water, wind, diverse currents, obstacles surrounding the caster, and more.

False Casts– To implement multiple casting strokes without allowing the line to fall to the water or ground level.

Feed Lane– An area where food organisms are heavily concentrated in the water current.

Fly Leg-The part of the unrolling loop that contains the fly end to the center of axis of the unrolling loop (accelerating part of loop).

Follow-Through– To move the rod in the direction of the unrolling loop. It can accomplish easier line shoots as well as extending the overall distance of the haul. Follow-through may be either a form of drift or casting stroke.

Forearm Pronation– The rotation of the forearm in back from the anatomical position.

Forearm Supination– The rotation of the forearm in front when the palm faces opposite of the anatomical position.

Forward Cast– A cast that usually travels in front of the caster, but direction is often, but not limited to, a position in front of the caster.

Grip– a). The handle of the rod usually made of cork where the angler pilots the rod. b). Many various grips used to hold the rod depending on what you are attempting to accomplish.

Hand-Rod Path– A concept used for describing the path and distance that the rod hand follows when performing the cast. These paths include simple geometric patterns such as straight lines, circular, elliptical, triangular, and smooth curves.

Haul– A quick tug on the fly line with the line hand usually performed during the last half of casting stroke (used also with various timings for specialty casts).

Imitation– The fly pattern (also called the artificial or fly) attached to the end of the tippet. These typically include wets, nymphs, dries, and streamers.

Inertia– A property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force.

Initial Velocity– Refers to the velocity at which the rod begins the casting stroke.

Internal System Forces– The interaction of the mechanics on the objects within the system and the relationships they exert on one another. The internal system includes all components of the caster and the equipment used in performing the cast.

Kick– The abrupt, rapid or sudden turnover of a fly, leader, or fly line at the end of the loop becoming straight. Can be caused by overpowering a cast, having too much weight at end of leader, or by having no leader or a shortened leader. Positive casts make use of kick for driving a nymph down vertically into the water or when making curve casts.

Latent Rod Force– The slight potential energy (spring) of the rod when casting.

Layout– A concept used for measuring the displacement (initial positioning) of the imitation, the leader, and fly line following the casting stroke.

Level Line– A fly line that is a consistent diameter throughout its length (no taper).

Lift– A vertical form of sweep to lift line from the water prior to the the next line positioning move or casting stroke.

Line Hand– The hand that controls the fly line between the reel and the stripping eyelet. Example, if you cast holding the rod with your right hand, then your left hand is also called the line hand.

Line-Pull Cast– All casts that implement a haul after the stop of the rod has occurred for controlling the layout. This increases tension on the rod leg and causes the fly leg to turnover quicker.

Line Velocity (Average)– A measurement of the displacement of fly line divided by the time which it traveled.

Line Plane– The angle created of the fly line in relation to the surface of water or ground.

Load– To cause the rod to flex when moving the rod during the casting stroke. The resistance of the line weight and increasing momentum against the rod, usually when the line straightens or other similar tension is applied to the line.

Loading Move– The progressive buildup of forces applied to the rod that takes place after the initial velocity and before the stop of the stroke.

Loop– A moving length of line past the rod tip where there is a distinct rod/fly leg. Takes on a candy-cane appearance for the unrolling portion of the fly line. Loop formation always has two strands of line (rod and fly leg), that either may or may not run parallel to one another dependent on translation or rotary hand/rod paths.

Loop Morph–The loop is always changing shape and size during flight depending on overall velocity, tension, mass displacement of the line, and transverse waves put there by the caster.

Loop Plane– A measurement in angles from the perspective of the caster used for determining the relative position of the fly leg in relationship to the rod leg during loop travel. The loop plane is zero-degrees at vertical and is measured clockwise 360 degrees. Controlling loop planes often have hand-paths that deviate from straight (typically curved hand paths during the casting stroke). Learn to control loop planes on top, below, away, and toward the caster when using the same rod plane.

Major Drag– The fly dragging at a different speed from the currents, due to the whole leader tensioning the fly.

Maximum Rod Load– When the rod is bent (loaded) the deepest when performing the overall cast, sweep, mend, and other dynamic line positioning techniques. Usually maximum rod load is close to equaling maximum fly line acceleration.

Maximum Rod Flex (MRF)– The increased force that the rod possesses when it is flexed to near its elastic limit. Longer hand–rod paths, hauling techniques, increased rod arc, rod planes, body planes, equipment used, and optimal load placement (line planes) all influence the maximum rod flex.

Mend– A form of sweep used for manipulating the fly line in air or water that usually creates slack or removes slack in order to achieve a desired result with line layout. Used for placement of line position that typically takes place after RSP.

Micro Drag– The fly dragging at a minute different speed and direction from the currents because the tippet of the leader has increased tension (also called hidden drag).

Momentum– The measure of motion for a property of matter that relates the line’s mass and its velocity.

Narrow Loop– A loop typically with the distance between the fly/rod leg of less than two feet (since the loop is changing this is just a rough average).

Negative Force– A reduction of the net forces applied throughout the stroke by either releasing slack into the internal system or decreasing the amount of force from the rod hand toward the end of the casting stroke. The loop never turning over through infinite casting planes is characteristic of negative force casts.

Non-Parallel Loop– See “open loop”.

Normal Force– The minimal amount of net forces required for performing the cast which attains complete turnover of the loop through infinite casting planes (the fly line should be a straight layout).

Off-Side– The side of the body where the hand holds the line. Off–side includes everything from the ground to the caster’s center of the axis.

On-Side– The side of the body where the hand holds and pilots the rod. Example, a right handed caster’s on–side includes all casting planes from the caster’s center of the axis to ground level on the right (note: this angle is greater than ninety-degrees).

Open Loop– A concept used for describing the appearance of position and large displacement between the fly/rod legs of the loop (also called a curved line or non-parallel loop). This is a casting fault if the caster attempts a translatory hand-rod path. It is normal for rotary hand-rod paths to use an open loop (most negative force casts).

Optimal Line Length– A distance of flyline the caster has the ability and skill level to control when making the cast. To find your optimal line limit, perform several false casts and find the line distance that you can control with confidence. Measure this distance of line and divide the total by the length of the rod used. Beginners may find it practical to mark this point with a permanent marker or attach a nail knot for a reference when performing the cast.

Optimal Load Placement– The placement of flyline on the back cast which distributes the line’s weight most efficiently for bending the rod deep on the forward cast. This placement is critical for allowing the rod to perform more of the work during the cast.

Optimal Reach– A measurement of distance for the path in which the rod hand may travel. Mark a dot on an object to the rear and another far in front for finding your optimal reach distance.

Overhang– The amount of running or shooting line between the tip–top and the rear taper of the shooting head or weight–forward line.

Parallel Loop Legs-Refers to the displacement of the fly and rod legs of the loop remaining parallel. Useful for accuracy and distance casting (highly efficient for loop propagation).

Passive Presentation– Presentations where the fly moves at the same rate as the current in which it travels so the angler may represent the insect in a natural manner.

Pause-The time period between accents of applied force to the rod. Many claim casting strokes, but we have slight pauses for lift, sweep, circle casts, figure eight, etc… (see also rhythm, timing, tempo, and syncopation).

Perpendicular Rod– The rod’s position at the completion of the casting stroke which remains close to ninety-degrees in relationship to the target. This position enables the rod to become an action on altering the tension throughout the line due to rebound (common with positive casts).

Pickup– A form of drift to slowly lift the line from the water before starting the casting stroke.

Pop and Stop– A concept used to describe the amount of force applied to the rod and when it stops during the casting stroke (like paint being flicked from a brush). Has also been called the speed up and stop, power snap, speed move, power stroke, flicking motion, positive stop, and others through various casting circles.

Positive Force– An increase of the net forces applied throughout the stroke and the loop always travels back around to the opposite direction of loop plane in which it was created. Used for positioning angles in the relationship of fly, leader, and fly line (control). Use of greater force than needed for a normal force cast. Characteristics of positive force cast make use of a narrow loop that travels fast.

Presentation– How one presents himself, the cast, the imitation, stealth tactics, equipment chosen; your cumulative knowledge of the complete system for the deception of the fish.

Prime Lies– Areas in stream that offer fish food and shelter from predators.

Rebound– Refers to the rod bouncing back after counterflex (at completion of adding force to the rod with examples of casting stroke, sweep, mend, etc…).

Retrieve– Any method which pulls flyline in through the guides while fishing for controlling the amount of line outside and away from the tip–top.

Reverse Thrust– Any force which is straight away and in the opposite direction of flyline travel upon the completion of the stroke. Examples include pulling the line, backing the rod up, or perpendicular rod positioning (latent rod force) as soon as the abrupt stop occurs.

Rhythm– The movement or fluctuation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related objects to the system. The pace of a singular movement during the cast (line positioning sweep or casting stroke). Used to describe applied force during rod motion. Syncopation, timing, and tempo are a few examples that are encompassed by rhythm. Very important concept for any fly casting model for dealing with teaching advanced casts or line manipulations.

River Left– Is the left bank of the river when facing downstream. This is actually a boating definition that is useful for painting word pictures.

River Right– Is the right bank of the river when facing downstream.

Rod Action–A concept used to describe the features of the rod pertaining to where and how the rod bends when put into motion under load. Characteristics of rod action include but are not limited to frequency, stiffness, sensitivity, distribution of mass, dampening, and mcuh more!

Rod Arc– The angle of change when making the casting stroke (also called casting arc).

Rod Fade–A movement of the rod at the completion of the casting stroke downward toward the water or ground. Used to relieve tension on the rod leg and typically gain greater control over negative force casts.

Rod Hand– The hand which pilots (grips) the fly rod while performing the cast.

Rod Leg– The portion of fly line that runs from the center of axis of the loop to the rod tip.

Rod Plane– A concept used for describing the rod position during the casting stroke. It is a measurement of angles with zero-degrees directly vertical and plus or minus ninety-degrees parallel with the ground or water.

Rod Pointing– On the final delivery cast, the rod is pointed directly toward the target. Pointing the rod is often used while casting in the horizontal casting plane or when applying angular thrust to the cast.

RSP (Rod Straight Position)-A concept of the rod being straight toward the completion of casting stroke. Useful for video diagnostic of overall stroke.

Rod Wavering– The tip-top path of the rod moves away from the parallel reference plane throughout the stroke. The rod hand does not remain consistent for applying force in a straight line during the casting stroke. Rod wavering is used for describing faults in casts when the caster attempts to attain straight line motion (see tracking).

Roll Cast Pickup– A method of beginning the casting stroke in which the fly line becomes aerial to load the line in front and to break the surface tension bond of water. The pickup enables the casting cycle to be more efficient (shooting line on the pickup). It usually proceeds as roll cast pickup, back cast, and finally the delivery cast.

Rotary Motion– Motion occurring in a revolving manner which can be around a fixed point, a point in translatory motion, or a point in rotary motion which may serve as the axis of rotation.

Running Line– The long thin section of fly line that extends from the rear taper of a weight-forward line to the back end of the line.

Shooting Head– A short heavy flyline which that may be tapered or level which is not attached to a conventional running line. The running section is usually made from braided monofilament as opposed to thin flyline.

Shooting Line– a).The thin running line attached to the rear of the shooting taper which is also called a running line. b). The release of additional line to be pulled through the guides by the unrolling loop when the rod has stopped. Shooting line relieves tension in the rod leg causing the fly leg to turnover slower. Late or early shoots are also common for various control casts (also called slip line techniques).

Single Haul– A method of accelerating the rod tip and line speed that uses a haul on either the forward cast or the backward cast, but not both. It is usually performed on the forward cast.

Six Step Method– A very simple diagnostics tool used for instructors that was originated by Bruce Richards. It works by observing the fault in this order line, rod, body, to slip in with the correction of body, rod, line. Once you get lots of teaching experience you can use this tactic to quickly make adjustments. The real art behind it in teaching is to solve a couple of things that solve many. Often times new instructors want to solve many things at once especially with new casters that have many faults. Often a few subtle suggestions leads to progress for the student much quicker.

Slide– Rod translation during early part of casting stroke that does not alter tension when done correctly. When timed correctly, the rod hand and the line hand move back together (without rotation) hence no change in tension. This is what separates slide from drag (drag increases tension on the line). Both enable the caster to setup in a more comfortable or powerful position for rod rotation. Most styles that use drag also use slide first.

SLP (straight line path)-A term used to describe the brief period of time that the rod tip is traveling in a straight line. Smooth acceleration during the casting stroke and hauling the line help to achieve longer SLP (useful for straight line casting).

Snap Casts– A type of cast that propels the loop creation opposite the direction of acceleration. It is the inverse acceleration of typical casting strokes.

Stop– The butt of the rod stops to transfer the energy from the bend of the rod to the line leading to loop formation.

Spey Cast-A form of fly casting that takes advantage of change of direction casts through roll-type casting that remains in constant tension (also called constant tension casting).

Spline– The spline refers to the stiffer section usually on the back of the rod (usually opposite the guides).

Stance– The orientation of the caster’s body during the cast determined by the placement of the caster’s feet.

Stream Awareness-A concept that describes the anglers knowledge and understanding of the behavior, intricacies, and relationships of the stream flow and aquatic organisms and how they relate to the ecosystem. This is best developed through empirical lessons learned on the stream.

Stripping Eyelet– The largest guide on the rod that is also the first one from the grip.

Stroke– The complete casting motion performed by the rod hand that includes only one backward or forward cast, depending on the perspective. The pause is characteristic of the completion of all strokes.

Style– Includes form (such as hand, elbow, stance, etc…), descriptive word pictures for application of force or hauling, and many other unique methods used to achieve various loop shapes. It also includes ones effectiveness to connect with others for communicating these topics in a fun non-boastful manner. Mel Krieger offered the concepts of substance and style. As the sport grows it is a bit easier for instructors and students to convey concepts if we keep these separate.

Substance– Includes the fundamentals of timing, mechanics, all of the specialty fishing casts nuances, and many other key concepts. Sometimes there will be gray areas that have both style and substance. These examples are best stated by Krieger when he said “if you are very fortunate you will understand that the profound path towards teaching mastery gets two miles farther away for every mile you travel”.

Surface Tension– The relationship of intermolecular forces that exist at the surface of a liquid whose properties resemble those of an elastic skin under tension. This force acts heavily on the relationship of line on the water and emergence or egg–laying stages of insects.

Sweep-An action to position the line for the following casting stroke.

Syncopation– Syncopation is used when stressing a force in a normally unstressed location or a lack of force when it is normally accented during rod movements. It really comes into play for elliptical 8’s, snaps, and oval casting (but is very common for many things dealing with rod motion).

System Response Curve– A concept used for understanding the relationship of force and control for varying rod planes. It can be used to measure the system efficiency in explaining different casts.

Tailing Loop– Occurs when the fly leg crosses the rod leg and creates a closed loop (see also closed loops and wind knots). It should be observed past half way point in travel for the propagating loop (because many casts have crossover during setup of roll cast, distance cast, and others-these are not tails in the early setup stages). Since the legs can cross once, twice, and more is the reason for quantifying 50% of loop travel. I have yet to see one tail right at the rod tip that disappears before the 50% rule in flight (because the traveling transverse wave propagates down the line to the end). While it is true that many tailing loops are usually a fault, they can also be useful presentation casts for curve cast. There are many causes of tails but most of them stem from too early/abrupt application of force, line planes less than 180*, rod tip jumps above the oncoming lines path, improper haul timing, and many others. The fly leg wrinkle is the key for seeing the problem and you can easily go back to rod tip for the cause.

Tempo– The pace of the overall cast from start to finish. A beneficial concept to practice changes in tempo for dealing with fishing scenarios. As an example, a slow underpowered back cast static D loop followed by normal forward cast for missing obstacles right at your back. Practical for distance casting in taking tempo to the max for the amount of line carried.

Timing-The time period for each movement during the overall casting sequence.

Tension– Opposing forces that act on pulling the line apart. Make it a goal to really understand how your actions while making casts increase or decrease tension (very beneficial).

Three-Dimensional Casting Planes– A concept used for describing all of the air space around the casters body which the fly line and rod may be used in performing casts.

Tip-Top– The final guide at the tip of the rod.

Tip-Top Path– A concept used to describe the path that the tip–top of the rod scribes through the air when making casts.

Tip-Top Velocity– The velocity of the rod tip during the casting stroke.

Tip Travel– The total distance the rod tip moves when making a cast. This is the by product of casting stroke and casting arc.

Tracking-A term used to describe the rod tip traveling straight with out side to side wobble during the casting stroke (see also rod wavering).

Translatory Motion– A concept used to describe motion occurring in a straight line.

Transverse Wave– A transverse wave is a moving wave that consists of oscillations occurring perpendicular (or right angled) to the direction of energy transfer. One common example of a transverse wave occurs during rebound. Many specialty casts make use of transverse waves for presentations by initiating the wave pulse during the casting stroke which propagates down the fly leg for a desired result.

Upstream Wind– A wind that blows upstream.

V Loop– A V loop is a wedged shape back loop of line formed behind the rod tip that is more efficient than a D loop in flight. Offers greater load to pull against when timed with a proper anchor.

Vector Haul– A line haul method that manipulates two strands of fly line producing a two-to-one ratio for achieving deeper rod flex.

Vector Pull Retrieve– A line retrieval method that manipulates two strands of flyline at all times, as opposed to the traditional retrieval which pulls only one strand. One retrieval of line is equal to approximately twice your body height.

Vector Quantities– A concept used for describing a direction and magnitude that relies heavily on the logic of mathematical relationships for solving the resultant.

Video Capture-To use a camera for tweaking your own casting as well as diagnosing others.

Waltz– The transfer of the caster’s body weight from one foot to the other during the casting cycle. The shifting of the caster’s center of axis throughout the stroke.

Wave Speed of Line– The slight wave forms in the fly line during travel which is less efficient than straight line travel. These waves propagate quicker when tension remains high (see also Transverse waves).

Weight-Forward Line– A line that is tapered and consist of its casting weight distributed toward the front of the line, with the remaining line called running line.

Wind Knot– An overhand knot in the line or leader caused from a tailing loop during the casting stroke.

Wrist Abduction– To draw away from the body from an anatomical position.

Wrist Adduction– To draw toward the body from an anatomical position.

Wrist Extension– To draw away from the joint which increases the angle of the joint.

Wrist Flexion– To close the joint which decreases the angle of the joint.

Fly Casting- Santa’s Underpowered Curve

if like most people you’ve always wondered what Santa Carlos (Azpilicueta) looks like when he’s fly casting here you go.SantaCarlos' Underpowered 180° Curve

often referred to as a good upstream presentation cast, the Underpowered Curve goes directly to the bottom of my list of actual casts to use. even if the final line layout seems really good from a theoretical point of view we’re throwing a whole lot of line directly over the fish whilst false casting and at final presentation and we’re left with an enormous, even ridiculous amount of slack to attempt to tighten up if we didn’t put off the fish and managed to get a strike. if we don’t get a strike, the whole leader and all that line will pass over the fish on its way back downstream before we can pick up and cast again and if that doesn’t put off the fish then its a really dumb fish not worthy of being caught !
accuracy wise, its also probably the most difficult cast to get just right in any repeatable manner even in ‘ideal’ conditions. any kind of wind severely compromises its success. in a sense, its one to keep in your bag of tricks as a last-resort presentation. at best.

none of that sounds very good, right ? but here’s the but and the however: just as with the underpowered Controlling Casting Stroke Force (please read or reread as both articles are directly connected), the Underpowered Curve is a more than excellent manner to learn to use the correct amount of force in your other casts. just as with the overhead version: “practising to cast lines that don’t turn over completely and ‘relearning’ to add a little more force, just what’s necessary to get the job done as we go along. this is an additive method. we start with ‘not enough’ and add-on little by little until it’s’just right’.  it’s quite easy to control because adding-on seems to correspond better to human nature than subtracting; we tend to ‘want more’ as opposed to ‘want less’ is equally valid and productive and might even be considered as the next step, or part II of the overhead drill as it’s trickier.
we need to adopt a slower casting rhythm while casting off to the side in a lower plane all the while keeping line, leader and fluff from hitting the ground. on the delivery cast, the underpowered bit needs to be controlled very precisely. although we can’t push strings or in this case fly lines and this will get the physics geeks tsk-tssssking, it helps to think of it as if we where pushing the rod leg only. (i know, that might be a weird way to visualise the motion but it works for me and hopefully for you too)

as in the gif, don’t forget to ‘kill the cast’ by immediately lowering the rod tip to prevent loop unrolling. be sure to try the exact same cast with and without lowering the rod tip to see how it greatly affects line layout/turnover.
lastly, similar to the overhead drill, the Underpowered Curve also teaches an important aspect that’s rarely brought up; varying the casting force between the back cast and the front cast (or vice-versa). a typical but non-conclusive example of this casting force variance would be when fishing with a strong tail wind. we’ll need  to have a higher line speed on the BC going into the wind, requiring more force and a greater casting arc and less speed, force and arc on the FC where the wind will help push it out.

since practicing without any kind of target is generally pointless, as with the overhead drill, place little targets or reindeer here and there in front of you and place the unrolled loop over them.
even if it’s just a few minutes, do yourself the favour of including both drills every time you’re out practicing. these are seemingly strange and quirky things to do but they really pay off. i guarantee.
whether or not you decide to don the Santa suit is up to you but keep in mind that it would make the occasion that much more special.

video graciously provided by Carlos Azpilicueta. thanks buddy !

post note- i’ve always wondered what the person strolling by in the background of the gif was thinking as they saw this…

Fly Casting- How straight is Straight Line Path ?

Making Adjustments on the Fly B.Gammel

a very astute casting student asked me recently, “I think I’m having difficulties keeping a Straight Line Path throughout the stroke. I must be doing something wrong ?”

i love these kind of comments. it shows the person is curious, really pays attention to what they’re doing and shows they’ve studied well. at this point i should say that his loops where ideal, nice and smooth, very close to parallel very nice loops, as nice as what we see Andreas Fismen performing in the 500fps slomo gif below. so, what was the problem then ?
since his casting was spot-on it obviously wasn’t anything he was doing wrong (loops don’t lie. they can’t) but simply his understanding of how rod tip travel should be for a textbook straight line cast but who could blame him ?
diagrams, books, videos and even in real, most instructors explain that just as in the diagram above, SLP (Straight Line Path) is a constant from one end of the stroke to the other. even in Jay and Bill Gammel’s awesome reference construct The Five Essentials of Fly Casting, this straight all-the-way-through concept is very easy to accept and take for granted.

“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.”

but is that what really happens ? lets take a closer look.

'SLP' Borger:Lovoll FC

first published in 2010, these findings aren’t anything new to some of us casting geeks but might be a sorta eye-opener for the non geeks, shedding some light for those who have asked themselves the same question as my student. just as we’ll see in the still below, in this study cast SLP is roughly a little bit more than a third of the overall stroke, most of the rod tip’s path has a mostly domed/convex shape with a somewhat flattened top. *
SLP length Borger:Lovoll

i won’t risk any absolutes but as far as i can tell, the only time we’re going to see a true, all-the-way-through SLP and its resultant tight loop will be when a non-flexible rod (the proverbial broomstick) is used to perform the cast. but even if the broomstick is somewhat frequently brought up in casting-geek circles and is a wonderful tool to understand a lot of casting concepts, it’s not something we use.
our ‘real’ rods bend, react to the forces we apply to them, get shorter as they bend and go back to their original length as they unbend and there’s the caster’s biomechanics and probably a billion other factors that are involved when considering rod tip path and even if they all where within my understanding, they’re not about today’s subject.

to conclude, after having shown this video and image to my student (ah, the beauty of bringing an iPad to lessons!) with a few explanations and demonstrations, you’ll most probably have already guessed it but here was the furthered response to his query.

– knowing this isn’t going to change your life, its just one of those ‘what we thought we where doing isn’t necessarily what was going on’ things.
– does this not-as-straight-as-we-thought SLP change anything in the way we should cast ? nope.
– provided you get the loop shapes you’re wanting to create, should you be doing anything differently ? absolutely not !
– if you want a straight line cast, keep on imagining your complete casting stroke is a straight one (and do all the other elements correctly) and you’ll get that tight loop and a straight line layout.

which in a certain manner, makes it resemble Saint Exupery’s elephant inside a boa drawing a lot more than your everyday ruler. at least in my eyes…
elephant-in-boa-SLP


top image from Bill Gammel’s brilliant Making adjustments on the fly
regiffed video and adjoining image via Grunde Løvoll. click HERE for more of Grunde’s slomo studies on Jason Borger’s site: Fish, Flies & Water
elephant/boa drawing from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Le Petit Prince

note- although the loop shape in the gif is textbook ideal, Andreas’ casting stroke seems to be quite long considering he’s only false casting 10m (32.8ft) of line. my guess is he was casting at a fast rate which necessitates a wider casting stroke, perhaps something to do with getting a good visual result with the 500 frames per second camera.

Fly Casting- have Fronton, will cast.

Fronton rod m.fauvet-TLC 23-2-15last weekend was spent in the Basque region of Navarra, Spain with friend, casting instructor colleague and someone i could consider to be my mentor in these fly casting shenanigans, Carlos Azpilicueta.
the weather couldn’t have been any worse (well, technically it could have been much-much worse) but trying to figure out some intricate casting stuff while there’s very strong wind gusts, rain mixed with slush snow and the consequent quite low temperatures that make slush snow while having fun and working on casting repeatability just doesn’t do it. having the option of hanging out at the local café and just talking about it was the first plan but all of a sudden an indoor fronton appeared out of the sky giving us the opportunity to do some actual swishing and slinging instead of blowing hot air and getting the jitters from too much coffee.
when i was living in Sweden i had had numerous casting sessions in the enormous indoors sports arenas that are in just about every town or city. the biggest i saw was able to have four simultaneous full-sized football/soccer games going on at the same time. that’s big. way too big.
our little fronton/basketball/multi-sport complex was a much more intimate affair, just perfect for anything except for the long-longest competion-style distance casts. i couldn’t care less about comp-style distance casts anyway so this was a real treat on several accounts:
– not being able to cast far forces one to cast at closer distances. i know, that’s an obvious ‘duh… ‘ but ! take some casting geeks to a big field and nine out ten times they’ll instantly peel all the line off their reels and try to cast it all and even if generally speaking, distance casting makes for better overall casting, that isn’t the complete picture.
– although we may bring our own cones, hoops, measuring tapes, golf balls or whatever to a field, we tend to place them, work on a few casts and challenges/games but there’s a horizon and that horizon always seems to beckon that full line again and we’re back to square one.
– this fronton, apart from being indoors protecting us from all the weathery crap had two distinctive features that made it all the more special and productive and they where both on the floor. first, the surface was incredibly slick (not slippery as in sliding and falling over when moving about but in the sense that the fly line had much less grip than field or artificial grass might give). this made for a perfect manner to study, observe and demonstrate the effects of the anchor for roll casts and Speys by effectively removing the anchor from the equation while still getting good casts. not only that but it was yet another perfect way to demonstrate and disprove the too often common notion, that the anchor loads the rod. (it doesn’t because it can’t. more on this ‘anchor loads the rod‘ nonsense HERE)

– the other and real eye-openning feature to this super-slick floor was that we could execute and demonstrate all sorts of casts on the floor itself similar to what several colleagues such as Aitor Coteron and Lasse Karlsson have been demonstrating with bead chains to great effect but this time, with real fly casting equipment: a rod, line and leader/fluff combination.
to be perfectly clear, i have the highest respect and gratitude for all the work my friends have done with bead chains and they’ve contributed enormously to the contemporary understanding of fly casting but there’s always been something missing, something always nagging me in the back of the mind and that mostly has to do with tapers or, different weight distributions along the whole fly line/leader/fly system. bead chains have a continuous mass and profile from one end to the other whereas our lines, leaders and flies don’t. in a nutshell, tapers make fly casting easy(er), predictable and get the job done. anyway, in my opinion the slick floor and real kit can only make any experiment or demonstration a bit more realistic. if nothing else, we’re using equipment that any fly fisher can really relate to and not something that seems to always get in the way when we’re trying to brush our teeth.

different loop shapes; tight, open, loop-fronts rounded or pointy, big uncontrolled loops and tailing loops where a breeze to execute and we could show them all in a slower-than-normal fashion making for an easier way to study them. if we underpowered the cast the loop would not completely turn over but retain the loop’s shape giving us a real-time casting drawing or video pause effect as if they where suspended in mid air. very cool.
we can’t do any of that or rather, lets say that its a lot more difficult to get the same results on grass because grass grabs the line, curves it out of shape because its irregular and nowheres near as smooth as this deluxe surface.
the darkish floor made for increased contrast with the bright orange lines making this all one of the best visual experiences i’ve ever seen or can imagine. i tried to film some of these casts but although it looked really cool to the naked eye, the low camera angle from head height didn’t do this justice. i’ll be back with a tall ladder next time to film them from above. can’t wait !

i’m fully aware at how geek this must sound but for someone like myself, this is extremely exiting stuff. its like several doors and windows opened and let in the light. of course, i want to learn more and more for myself because i crave this casting-geek stuff but a lot of those windows and doors that opened up will help my students see a bit more light as well because in the end, its all about sharing.

if we manage to not get distracted by unexpected phallic shapes, all these lines, lanes and curves open up a lot of casting-challenge possibilities. the mind’s the limit.
Fronton Floor 1 m.fauvet-TLC 23-2-15
trying to control a weighted and very air-resistant fluff-puff with a standard 6wt ‘trout-sized’ rod/line/small-fly leader: i’d say he’s damned good at it. of maybe more interest than casting overweighted fluff, we’ll notice how overall supple and fluid Carlos is when he casts. this makes for super-smooth casting that’s a real necessity with this kind of challenge but also translates to silky-suave-smoothness and line control when casting a normal fly. awesome !

and just another of the myriad game possibilities; keeping the fly line and leader on top of the white line. well, almost…fronton 3 m.fauvet-TLC 23-2-15

Fly Casting Practice- Controlling Casting Stroke Force

experience tells me that apart from improper wrist control, the second most common difficulty many fly casters struggle with is force application throughout the stroke and to be more precise, they use too much force. way too much.

there are several ways to create tailing loops and they all have to do with the rod tip rising after dipping below the standard straight or slightly convex tip path in one manner or another but i’m firmly convinced as well as many of my instructor colleagues that the main cause is improper; too early or too much force application and often both are combined.
leaving aside for the moment that rod rotation (where most of the force is applied and the rod tip is going its fastest) should be done at the end of the stroke, today’s casting drill tip is about force quantity and to understand the point of the topic i’ll ask you to consider these two questions:
1) how many times have you seen a fellow angler drive their fly into the water surface (when that wasn’t the intended presentation) or make tailing loops or have the fly kick back or hook to one angle or another before landing ?
2) how many times have you seen a fellow angler cast a pile at the end of the line when they wanted a straight presentation ?
i’ll be very generous with no. 2 and give it an approximate 10%. even if that approximation is just a roundabout figure its quite obvious that there’s an overall higher tendency leaning towards the ‘more than necessary/too much’.

now, there are two methods to adjust how much force is being used:
– the first is the standard ‘do your normal cast’ and try to apply less force until its all nice and smooth with super control.
this a subtractive method. it may work and there’s nothing wrong with it but its a hard way as its much more difficult to ‘hold back’ and ‘unlearn’ an engrained movement, specially when its something we’ve been doing for a long time.
– the other method consists of doing the exact opposite, practising to cast lines that don’t turn over completely and ‘relearning’ to add a little more force, just what’s necessary to get the job done as we go along.
this is an additive method. one that’s quite easy to control because adding-on seems to correspond better to human nature than subtracting; we tend to ‘want more’ as opposed to ‘want less’ and its a method that works very well for people of all levels in all the various types of fly casting whether it be close/middle/long range, stream to sea, little to big flies and single or double handed.

since years ago i had been working on an almost exactly the same presentation cast -the Dunkeld Dump– (named after the city in Scotland where i first demonstrated this cast to a group of fellow casting geeks) and of course using it a lot for river fishing but it was only last year that i realised what a gem this was as a practice routine on its own when friend, colleague and super-caster Aitor Coteron wrote this article that set off so many lightbulbs: To straighten or not to straighten. That is the question.

here’s a slightly different full-on angle of this drill from one of last year’s casting-geek meets in Spain.

to conclude, just as mentioned in the link, i highly recommend doing this exercise at every practise session, preferably at the beginning.
to add some variety and improve one’s force control while still working on accuracy, a great thing to do is place cones, tennis balls or whatever at different distances, even in a zig-zag formation and place the piles on the targets in sequence. dump and 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 !

Fly Casting- Pussy Galore and thoughts on Presentation Cast Accuracy


just the other day, a student asked me a very interesting question (and the kind i love to hear !):
“How can we be dead-on accurate when doing slack-line presentation casts ?”
well, the simple answer is we can’t, or at least not with any predictable consistency the competent caster might have when using straight-line presentations.

to further the simple answer, the reason we can’t be as consistent is that a line with slack in it isn’t under tension and therefore the caster isn’t completely in control of it no matter how experienced she/he might be.
the conundrum of this situation is:
– at all times we want to be as accurate as possible. if we can’t place the fly in a manner that will entice a fish we’re simply not fishing and if we do manage to hook up its just a matter of luck, not one based on our skills.
– including slack in our presentations, although not always necessary, is a fantastic way to catch a lot more fish. it’s that dead-drift thing with ummm, a turbo. sort of.
– any kind of wind from any direction severely compromises the outcome of any slack line presentation. the line/leader/fly gets pushed or pulled from the intended target.
– those are just a few examples but the sum of them mean we’re working in an unfavourable situation even if we have faith in our abilities.

however ! as bleak and hopeless as some of that may sound its really not hopeless at all, it just takes a little determination and maybe a lot of practice.
here’s an example filmed at least five years ago starring Pussy Galore !
a little info before the film.
– the idea here was to present the fluff in front of her cute little nose, upstream of the trout as it where.
– second goal was to try to entice her by using a ridiculously long, superfluous length of line to attempt this. once stretched out straight, the fluff might have fallen a bit short of the yellow ring in the background, that’s about twice the length from my feet to PG. i would never fish this way with so much slack mainly because its unproductive and pointless but the idea was to push the limits and see how much line control i could still manage even at this short range.

– out of nine casts, six where ‘probable’ takes (had that been a feeding fish and not some over-exherted cat that had been chasing fluff for the last hour), the others fell short or behind her head.

i used to do this kind of exercise all the time, basically every day. i’m pretty sure i wouldn’t get anywhere near six ‘probables’ today because i haven’t practiced this in a long time and that leads to the last part of the simple answer which connects to a saying i like to mindlessly repeat: practice doesn’t make perfect but it makes better, and this better and not perfection is the goal with real-fishing-situation presentation casts.
all we can do is assess the casting/fishing situation of the moment the best we can, adapt to it and put the fluff in front of PG’s cute little nose because we’ve worked a lot on our ca(s)ts while nevertheless accepting that the chances of success are reduced. besides, it makes the catch that much more worthwhile and memorable when i works.

Fly Fishing and Fly Casting- a Zen Approach

this kind of stuff is very close to my heart. its part of the intangibles that not only go into fly casting, fly fishing and to a much lesser extent fly tying but also manage to reach out to just about every other aspect in life. in a way, its what smoothes yet connects everything all together while making it all work better. call it a mind-frame, attitude, hippy shit or whatever you’d like but after all, its our mind that controls our acts when we know how to control our minds.

just one of the goodies you’ll find on Christopher Rownes’ great site The Perfect Loop, this great piece by Guy Turck of Turck’s Tarantula fame offers another perpective to some of my own writing- How to loose your flies in trees and Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the S.R.B. and other articles in the Body and Mind section of the Fly Casting page here on TLC.

i hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from this. in my opinion, there’s a lot more to learn and gain from these words than any fishing or casting manual. its one i come back to regularly when i start to go astray…

” How do you make virtually any beginning or intermediate fly fisher improve immediately? And without a single casting tip or hint on tactics. You may be surprised to learn that it doesn’t require any physical changes whatsoever, yet has the potential to dramatically improve your skills. Whether it be getting your fly to the target more often, achieving a better drift, or hooking more fish the secret, in a word, is focus. And the lack thereof is responsible for more missed opportunities than any other single factor in fly fishing. We now tend to use modern colloquialisms for what singularly used to be referred to as concentration. I like the word focus because it most accurately evokes a feeling for the state of consciousness I am referring to. It seems to me that the modern conception of concentration implies a willful act (that of concentrating) on a singular point of interest while “being focused” refers to a similar state of being, but in a perhaps broader sense. But that’s just my interpretation of modern day language. Whether you prefer the word concentration or focus, it matters not. For the purposes of this column they are one in the same and will be used interchangeably throughout. I’m in the zone, Man, I’m in the zone! Focus is sometimes called “being in the zone.” “The zone” is a state of consciousness characterized by your total awareness converging on the task at hand. That task may require the assimilation of stimuli from a number of various sources (for example, knowing where all four of your teammates are on the basketball court at the same time) or it may require you to concentrate on a single point of interest when you determine it is in your best interests (for example, the front rim during a foul shot). You may well vacillate between a singular interest and a broader awareness. At the same time irrelevant stimuli (such as the screaming crowd) are filtered out. Whatever you do, it is imperative that said task be the most important thing in the world to you at the time.

Focus does not involve thinking and cannot be forced. You can only allow it to happen. In other words, if you are concentrating on concentrating, you are not concentrating at all. To put it all in plain english, too many fly fishers are simply not paying attention to what they are doing! Their thoughts are on the last fish they missed, the stock market, the last fish their friend missed, the bond market, a fish they hooked and lost ten years ago, whatever. Their mind is everywhere but in the present, the here and now. As a guide I am often regaled with someone’s “greatest day ever” fishing story while the storyteller is missing copious opportunities and perhaps an even greater day because of their constant chatter and corresponding lack of focus. I once had a client spend over half an hour on a yarn about a bowl of soup he once enjoyed. I’m not making this up. In the meantime he was missing fish after fish yet complaining he hadn’t gotten a big one yet. Sure enough, a well-endowed cutthroat finally gobbled his fly and … well, I really don’t need to tell you what happened next, do I? Other than what immediately followed was total silence (as I choked back the urge to scream).
Concentration and/or focus is a form of meditation where all but the task at hand is allowed to fall away. Responsibilities and worries are temporarily forgotten. The passage of time goes unnoticed. I often have clients who can’t believe how quickly the day is passing. I view this as a good sign. They are, at the very least, absorbed in the act of fly fishing which, to me, indicates a desire to learn, a very good starting point.

zen and stuff ftlow m.fauvet:tlc 26-1-15

Chill out and take a deep breath.


Over the years I have found that proper breathing is of great benefit in helping one achieve the proper focus whether it be on the stream, the golf course, or on the sharp end of the rope as the leader on a rock climb. Focus requires a relaxed (but not limp) body, in conjunction with an alert mind. As tension insidiously creeps into the body one has the tendency to hold one’s breath.
If time permits, three slow deliberate deep breaths will melt away the tension. It also helps tremendously to exhale just before performing an athletic act, such as casting a fly rod. As the last bit of air leaves the lungs, make your move.
This critical moment is when the body is most at rest and tension free. Another technique I can relate helps me focus on my target while casting, which translates into more accuracy. If you’ve ever been a baseball or softball pitcher, this will come naturally.
Pick out a target, and keep your eye on it until your fly arrives there (please read this sentence again).
If you do not allow your focus to waver from your target, it is truly amazing how the mind will make the muscles hit the mark with pinpoint precision. With good casting technique and practice you will eventually develop a feel for nailing your target simply by focusing on it. Think of it as willing your fly to the spot.
I’m reminded of a story I heard long ago which illustrates the importance and depth of concentration required for achieving pinpoint accuracy. The two best archers in the village were to test their skills against one another by attempting to hit a fish which had been hung on a somewhat distant tree. When the first archer was asked what he saw, he replied he saw a fish hanging from a tree. When the second, and ultimately victorious, archer was asked what he saw, he replied, “I see the eye of a fish.”The moral of the story for the focused angler is that when choosing a target, choose the exact location where you want your fly to land.
Don’t merely cast to a pool where you know a fish lies, cast to a one inch square within that pool. Focus on that one inch square. Be precise in your aim so that your cast can be precise as well, Capitalizing On Your Opportunities.
I don’t know how many times we’ll finish a day on a river and feel that while it was a slow day overall, had we capitalized on the opportunities we were presented, it would have turned out pretty well. This is because it is difficult to maintain focus on slow days when strikes might be separated by thirty minutes or so. But over an eight hour day, that’s sixteen strikes. Land half those fish and it’s not a half bad day. Air traffic controllers know this. They don’t work eight hours straight because it’s impossible to maintain the degree of vigilance necessary to perform their jobs at the level required. While lives are not on the line when fly fishing, there is still a lesson to be learned. Focus is difficult to maintain for long periods at a time. When fishing is slow and your attention is wavering there are two things I like to do to help keep my mind in the ball game. The first involves visualization. After a long period of inactivity most anglers will miss that first strike when it finally comes. To help prevent this from occurring, try visualizing a fish rolling up to eat your fly as it drifts along unmolested. This keeps your mind alert and your muscles in a state of readiness so they will react faster when the take eventually does come. It may sound obvious, but another good idea is to develop the habit of always paying attention to your fly when it is on the water. I have a rule for myself in this regard. Never leave a fly in the water unattended. If I want to look at the scenery, or take a drink of water, or perhaps watch my fishing partner, I take my fly out of the water. Why do that when I might actually get lucky by leaving my fly on the water? You know the old adage, you can’t catch a fish without your fly on the water. The reason is this … I want to develop the mind set that when my fly is on the water I am going to be paying attention to it at all times. It has to do with habits. I readily admit that I don’t always follow this rule, but I try to. Perhaps you’re skeptical at this point. The notion that concentration alone will make you the next Lee Wulff overnight might be stretching it a bit. You’re right, It won’t. But you will improve. With practice and good fundamental casting technique, you will get successively closer and closer to your target, ultimately willing your fly to the spot. By paying attention to surface currents you will get better drifts because you will instinctively know when to mend. And by not letting the mind wander you will hook more fish because your mind is alert. Putting it all together will still take time and practice, but your improvement can begin immediately, if you let it happen. “

 

Fly Casting- How to loose your flies in trees.

last month i had the honour of being invited to write a little piece for Eat Sleep Fish‘s third year anniversary.
here’s the article in its entirety. enjoy !


Catching trees and not fish is every fly angler’s dream

Let’s check out a few ways on how to do this and up your game.

'snagged' M.Fauvet:TLC 11-14

– One of the best ways to snag everything thats snaggable around us is to be completely oblivious of our surroundings.
Get to the water, jump in and start presenting your fly immediately. See a fish or a rise ? Forget everything else and cast to it instantly ! Somewhere deep inside us we know that fly casting takes roughly the same amount of space behind as it does in front but who cares ?! There’s a fish that needs tending to right away and we can’t be bothered with all that ‘theoretical‘ stuff at the moment. Follow those simple rules and you’ll be one of the best snaggers there is, loose a maximum amount of flies, turn a few hairs grey(er) and gain the highest respect among your fellow snaggers.

– Stage Two:  Snag Mastery
Through experience most probably acquired from the realisation that more trees have been caught than fish, we’ve also noticed that there are yes, trees and bushes but also a whole host of other snaggables such as barbed-wire fences, shores, fellow snaggers, rocks, the guy at the oars and more than a few cows and/or sheep. This has to be a conspiracy, they’re everywhere !
Even if we don’t want to publicly acknowledge it, Stage One left us some empty fly boxes and long-term bitter memories but we’re still intent on snagging everything that can be snagged so to get even better at this we start by staring at the snaggable with the idea that some magic will occur and the fly will just travel through or around the snaggable and the end result a less than fifty per cent chance of finally presenting the fly to a fish (at best). Non productive wishful thinking at its best !

Ok, I can hear you snickering and I completely agree: Enough with the reversed psychology silliness ! But, lets see why those two tips aren’t so silly after all once we’ve reversed them.

– Stage One is quite obvious but let’s think about why this phenomenon occurs.
Most of our senses, with vision being the most important for our fly fishing needs, are geared towards what’s in front of us. It’s just the way we’re made. Of course we all know this but its something that’s very easy to forget. Add the ‘buck fever’ effect, the senseless panic that can happen when seeing say, a rising or tailing fish to the equation and even that forward vision gets blurry and greatly reduced and its all downhill from there but luckily, solutions are easy and just need a little work.

– Firstly, practice your casts (and I do hope you do this at least somewhat regularly) by watching your back cast because we can’t know what’s going on there if we don’t look. As a first result of this observation, what inevitably happens is there’s a much greater overall control of the line. All the little details that aren’t details at all start getting better.
The timing of the Pause which tells us when to start the reversal stroke and helps preserve Line Tension and, Stroke Length and Rod Tip Trajectory which will give us better loops, specially tighter loops that are really necessary when aiming the cast in between obstacles. Add in working on efficient Power Application and there you have The Five Essentials of fly casting that lead to great line control and accurate placement of the fly.

A great way to do this exercise that I highly recommend is to cast across the body from left to right / right to left instead of front to back / back to front. Not only does this allow us to easily see the whole cast even with a very short line but maybe more importantly, this enables us do all this without any special neck twisting or back breaking contortions and wait ! There’s yet another bonus to this drill: You’ll also be practicing an essential cast that’s a real necessity when casting in tight places such as under trees and bushes: Side casts that keep the line low and to the side through those lovely tunnels we’ll so often find in small stream fishing.

This time I’m hearing mumbling but don’t fret ! All I’m suggesting is to learn to look at the back cast and be comfortable with turning back now and again to be sure everything’s spot on. We all know that watching the back cast isn’t what we typically want to be doing when we’re actually fishing but what we’ve learned throughout the practice sessions will follow us to the stream. Call it muscle memory, conditioned reflexes, magic or whatever you want but its real and its there to help us when we need it most but most definitely won’t be there if we don’t practise it. It’s just the way fly casting works.

One more thing before moving on to Stage Two. As noted above, we don’t always have the possibility to look behind at each back cast but a very simple tip that we can always do and seems to work for everyone is to look where the back cast will go before starting the casting cycle. We seem to have a sort of short-term spacial recognition memory within us and this looking back before keeps us out of a lot of trouble and that all sorta fits in with Stage Two.

– To be honest, this is the trickier one but it can be controlled and needs a bit of practice as well but its a mind-thing, not a casting one but one we’ll want to work on after the casting part is down pat. Here’s why.

Simply put, we’re conditioned to throw things at objects which we look at. As I often point out at courses, “if I want to throw a bowling ball at your nose I’m not gonna look at your feet”…
The more we concentrate on an object before and while we throw a projectile at it, the more chances we have of reaching our target. Apart from the inevitable casting motions, this is in my opinion the real key to consistent fly placement accuracy. Give it that ‘death stare’ and it goes straight to the target, but ! As far as the snaggables go we want to do the exact and very unnatural opposite which means being completely aware of the snaggable(s) without actually looking at it/them or we end up with what happened in the photo at the top of the page.
How do we do this ?  Easy. Given the above, look elsewhere !  (couldn’t help it.. ) But more seriously, just as with the ‘death stare’ accuracy tip above we simply need to learn to shift our focus away from the branch, to that empty space between those two sheep and most definitely away from the guy with the oars or the pole if you want to get home in one piece or to a lesser extent, not loose flies. Luckily, we’ll often have some other object behind and out of casting range to aim at. A leaf on a tree, another far away sheep or a blade of grass on the bank or a cloud or whatever. Give those things your ‘death stare’ and your line will go there and you’ll miss the obstacle. The biggest challenge happens when there’s absolutely nothing to aim at such as a blank sky or a snow covered bank but it still works well if we concentrate really hard on that ‘nothing’.

Lastly, I’d like to point out that flies left in trees obviously don’t catch fish but can catch, wound and/or kill a whole host of other animals like birds, small mammals, bats, monkeys and whatever else that climb or fly through trees and waterside vegetation and let’s not forget other anglers and people that like to enjoy the waterways as much as we do. Much more than the flies themselves or the gutting shame that occurs when I snag obstacles, its this last point that makes me want to be extra careful.

Marc Fauvet

Post Note- The image at the top wasn’t staged for this article and was a direct result of Stage Two. There was absolutely no other obstacle anywhere within casting range except this dead stupid stump and for some reason, I stared at it just long enough to catch it from 18 or so metres away on my back cast. Yes, this indeed happens inevitably a few times in the year and its almost always because I let my concentration slip. No-one’s perfect, specially not me…

 

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for a variety of fly casting related articles click HERE

fly casting- The Ropin’ Fool and the Lasso of Truth

i often get comments to the effect of how passionate about fly casting i can be. just to be word-picky i’d say i’m passionate about sharing my enthusiasm of it with others and this whole casting business is more of an obsession… but ! i think i’ve finally been able to pinpoint how this started and its all thanks to these two lovely people and this happened a long time ago when i was just a little boy.
interestingly enough it doesn’t have much to do with fishing.

first off, Will ‘The Ropin’ Fool’ Rogers.
cowboy trick-dude and line-slinger extraordinair who filled me with awe during those long rainy saturday afternoon rerun stints on channel 20. my fondest and most concrete memory being Will sitting at a table, seeing a mouse peep its head through the mouse hole, grabbing a string-like rope, tying the noose and catching the little mouse in what all seemed like one smooth and expertly executed motion. awesome !
i haven’t been able to find the exact film clip to share with you (if my memory of this is indeed correct) but the one below is pretty darn close.

as i grew older my focus on cowboys shifted a little as these things tend to do during adolescence but the lasso was still there.

enter Linda Carter and her mighty Lasso of Truth !

finally, there’s something about a line flying through the air that’s just, well… incomparable to anything else.

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even if there isn’t any mention of lassos you’ll find a semi-comprehensive and passionate compendium of fly casting related articles HERE. enjoy !

Fly Casting Accuracy with Simon Zarifeh

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

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

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

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

Fly Casting Instructor Demo – Sabah, Malaysia

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

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

sorely missing at the beginning of the video is the introduction and credits to the authors as my demo was mostly based on Lee Cumming‘s ‘Triangle Method’ and Joan Wulff‘s ‘Circles, Eights and Straights’ exercises, fantastic stuff geared towards beginner fly fishers/casters with a few personal ideas of my own thrown in for good measure.
we’ll note the effectiveness of these methods by the results of our guest pupils. the first gentleman had never cast with his non-dominant hand, the first lady had never touched a fly rod before and the second was just starting off fly fishing.
as mentioned in the video, the point of these exercises is to get people to start off with a very good understanding of the necessary ESSENTIALS of fly casting without getting overly technical or even using any casting-specific words but the most important feature and what they go home with is, they can do it and its easy to do. the ‘mental block’ that often happens when initially learning to cast is knocked down from the get-go.

having Peter Hayse participate and give feedback during the demo was an honour and a real treat. after my ramblings is more of Peter’s wisdom followed by a great exercise by Tomonori ‘Bill’ Higashi.

hopefully, from beginner to instructor to guide or shop owner, the following should have a little something for everyone. i hope you’ll enjoy !

Fly Casting- Shared Mechanics Concepts between Overhead and Spey Casts

by Dr. Way Yin via Virtual Fly Casting

always a bit dismayed by comments both in real and on the internet of how different aerial and spey casts are, this great article by one of the more knowledgable persons in this matter should hopefully set a few things straight both for the angler assimilating one method to the other and for casting instructors who have gone astray.

shared mechanics concepts between overhead and spey casts way yin
hmmm, sounds like The Five Essentials so commonly associated to single hand overhead casting doesn’t it ?
among all the other goodies, of special interest is Way’s disassociating views between the standard roll cast and the delivery/forward cast of a spey cast.
we tend to define a spey cast as a ‘change of direction line move followed by a roll cast’ but maybe it’s time to rethink the last part a little.

way yin 2


EDIT
– there was more to Yin’s article via a link when this article was published but that site doesn’t exist anymore. sad indeed but we’ll just have to do with what we have.
nevertheless, the condensed version still leaves a lot of food for thought.

Tickled by Boars

i don’t know about you but i could take a break from the common weekend frame of mind that seems to permeate the world right now. what follows should do the trick at least for a little while and it won’t leave you with either a hangover, bad after-taste or any sticky fluids to clean up.
from the continued series of deliriously thoughtful fly fishing insights from the unique mind of Mark Surtees, enjoy !

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Deep in the lower Clitterhouse woods, in a bower of Summer Lilac and Dog Rose, Major Buckram Cropstwattle the aged, but otherwise debonair, doyen of the Finchley Church End and Temple Fortune Cuttlefish Fanciers Bridge club twisted and groaned like a wild woodland spaniel tickled by boars.

Beside him the bounteous, bumptious, Bellini fueled widow Mrs Winky Wilberforce shifted her pulchritudinous rump in an act of voluptuous paisley patterned enticement that no simple Cuttlefish fancier could ever hope to resist.

“Migod Winky” he moaned, clutching the agate grips of the trusty ZA self jerker and blinking helplessly…..”we must stop before I infarct”

With one hand gripping a glistening self whittled weaseling trident she leant across the erubescent Major and slowly slipped the other between the studded straps of his battered old ZA “Pulvermachers Bi-pole electro” Casting Support.

“Stop, Bucky ?…” she whispered close, husky…maraschino sweet, “…nnnooo, my love, we have only just begun.”

Expertly teasing apart the pouch elastics, her every touch peach syrup soft, she probed once again with the cherry tipped trident tines at his pre-stressed Pulvermacher dangling gimbals and tensioned the suspensory appliance silks.

The Major, hypermetropic and pent, could resist no more and he rammed down the belt mounted ZA “Castassist” Ergonergy release plunger with all his remaining power.

Plasma slashed between the positive and negative bolt connectors of the Pulvermachers bi-pole personal teslas.

“AaaWOOOO…FORWARD!!>>>CHARGE THE GUNS!! …” he roared, lurching violently beneath the bucking branches of the ominously creaking Lilac and thrust the crackling self jerker forwards in one final, and enormous, effort.

Afterwards, he span happily from the ZA “Pulvermachers” Dorsal D. Smiling wetly, spent, in a gently falling shower of blue blossom cinders.

“Winky, I say… WHAT A CAST!!…A HUNDRED FOOTER !!…A HUNDRED FOOTER !!..WHAT ?..”

Not too far away, a wild eyed weasel whippet vibrated, tail tucked and a solitary Brent Valley moose considered, just for a moment, making an early start to the annual rut.

Mark

bipolar electric belt

TROUBLE “BELOW” WHEN CASTING FOR DISTANCE ? “DON’T RISK YOUR KNACKERS…..WEAR ONE OF OUR PULVERMACHERS ” FROM ZA PPP LTD PERSONAL CASTING SUPPORT PRODUCTS ZA PPP LTD A “WE’LL HELP YOU HOLD IT UP” KIND OF COMPANY.

The Five Essentials of Fly Casting

via the International Federation of Fly Fishers – a reprint of the IFFF booklet ‘The Essentials of Fly Casting’ 1990

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’)

just like the Chinese Whispers/Telephone game, the Five seem to be distorted and pointlessly personafied every time its rewritten by a casting enthusiast so, here’s the straight up, undiluted original. enjoy !


“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.

Boring Poetry

a brilliant article  from Aitor Coteron addressing a rather big issue contemporary casting instructors are experiencing. needless to say, i couldn’t agree more.

” The late Mel Krieger classified casters in two broad groups: “engineers” and “poets”. The first group needs to know how things work in order to learn them; the other one relies more on feeling and doing those things than in any analytical approach.

Mel didn’t make any qualitative distinction between the two groups; although he himself was a “poet” instructor I think that he never dismissed those more inclined to the engineering way of seeing things. In fact he saw both views as equally valuable and complementary.
When in the recent history of flycasting instruction this has changed I don’t know for sure, but currently those who claim themselves as “poets” like to dismiss on a regular basis those of the “engineer” class.

To be honest I am able to differentiate very easily those instructors of the “engineer” kind: they just can explain, when necessary, casting issues by means of applied physics.
I have a hardest time, however, when it comes to distinguish those who consider themselves “poets”. Of course you find them using examples and similes to explain casting mechanics, but I don’t see why being an “engineer” prevents you from doing the same. There is, however, one key trait that makes “poets” as noticeable as a priest on top of a mound of lime: they proudly declare that concepts like “inertia” or “acceleration” are utterly unintelligible, whereas you can find tongue twisters like “kinaesthetic” appearing frequently in their conversation. “

continue reading here

Fly Fishing- The No Casters

By Aitor Coterón

follows is an article i’ve always found interesting. written a few years back,  Aitor’s opinions reflect the condition in Spain but we’ll find that it still applies just about anywhere.

” Charles Ritz defined time ago three basic types of fly anglers: conscious casters, non-conscious casters and non-interested casters. Had Mr. Ritz been still alive he could discover by himself that he had missed another kind: those that not only say that perfecting your fly casting is useless, but make every effort to discredit and insult those who believe and do just the opposite. The number of these individuals is really small -as small, by the way, as the number of anglers really interested in fly casting but they are determined to try to destroy what they don’t like. Their arguments are basically two:

Firstly, that good fly casting technique, including a good repertoire of presentation casts, is not only completely useless for getting good fishing results, more than that, the best casters are, without exception, very poor anglers -don’t worry Paul, I won’t tell anybody 🙂

More than 30 years ago, in Spain there were just a handful of anglers fishing with fly-rod and fly-line. At that time, fly fishing was synonymous of coq de Leon wet flies and a bubble float. And that was the kind of fishing that my grandpa and his fishing buddy taught to me. However I knew that there was another technique; I don’t remember when or where I had discovered it, probably on an old issue of “Field & Stream” that I inexplicably found (as my father wasn’t a fisherman) in my father’s library. That technique fascinated me, so I was talking to my grandpa about it day in day out. It was then that I discovered that he even had a fibreglass fly rod and a fly reel (some gift, I suppose), so I was delighted expecting that I was just about to discover a new world. But it turned out that the discovery should wait some more years yet: my grandfather did his best to dissuade me of trying to learn the “new” technique, and his discouragement and the lack of information ended up frustrating my expectations.

“Fly fishing is good for American rivers, it doesn’t work on our streams”, that was my grandfather’s version of the present motto “fly casting is unnecessary”. Traditionalism rejecting new ideas is no wonder though, of course, it doesn’t prevent that fly fishing was as universally effective as fly casting is one (not the only one) of the pillars of fishing with fly rod and line.

Secondly, the anti-casting crusade repeats (as an incontrovertible proof of his first point and assuming that those who win fishing championships are better anglers than everybody else) that competition fly fishers don’t give a damn about fly casting. It’s no wonder that when you are Czech nymphing, fly casting technique is no use -even fly fishing gear is a hindrance: there are more suitable kinds of tackle for fishing more effectively a nymph under the rod tip- but when using other fishing techniques fly casting is essential. Those competitors than don’t rely exclusively on Czech nymphing are aware of the fact that presentation and good casting are intimately related and, when fishing still waters from the bank, the ability to cast far can be a determining factor.

Last week a Spanish competitor, Jonathan Torralbo, won second place in the Fly Fishing World Championship held in Portugal (congratulations for him). Jonathan is a good distance caster and eager to improve, so recently he has been perfecting his technique with Alejandro, the master of Spanish distance casting.

So, competition fly fishers don’t give a damn about fly casting? It seems that -as the Spanish saying goes- some people are more papists than the Pope himself.
Of course, everybody is free of sustaining those arguments against the fly casting practice, but nobody is entitled to defend his points calumniating and twisting his opponent’s arguments. That attitude gets outside the field of fly fishing debate and gets into the area of psychology.

 

Fly Casting- Jean Dujardin never turned around.

fishing in tight spaces are always a tricky situation because casting and therefore fishing successfully involves thinking and more precisely, thinking before acting. what i’ve noticed in life so far, is that thinking after the fact usually doesn’t do much good because contrary to popular belief, most people don’t really learn from their mistakes. Lefty’s still saying that god won’t let you cast this way or that, we still burn our tongues biting into a hot pizza and rap is still a popular music form…
when encumbered by trees and brush, cliffs and livestock, to get the fly out to the fish in an inciting manner the successful angler needs to look around and be aware of all those dumb things that nature surounds us with and puts between us and our slimy friends. this Jean guy i used to go fishing with who was always snagging his flies left and right and everywhere in between once said: ” Nature’s a bitch ! “.
now, i don’t know about you all but i find that to be quite an interesting observation. however many times i might have tried to explain that he was seeing the situation in reverse, all the “bitches are just part of nature, they’re definitely not all of it “ didn’t manage to change his Nouveau-Hollywoodian constricted vision of things one iota and this stiff-as-a-pole Jean guy kept on banging his rod tip against lampshades, casting and loosing countless flies in bonzaï trees and he eventually died of hunger, stucker than stuck in stream-side quicksand… i can’t say i feel sorry for him because a) he was a bad actor b) he didn’t have any family or friends and c) i don’t like dirty-mouthed vulgar people anyhow so it all worked out somewhat well in the end, he got what he deserved.
i learned from his experience, gained strength through his weaknesses, dropped my silly french accent and learned to look around me constantly when i’m fishing. i hardly lose any flies and i’m still alive to talk about it. not bad. as a side note,  i’ll never fish in an Andorran souvenir shop again because well… there aren’t any fish in Andorran souvenir shops.