Fly Casting- Back Cast Training

one of the more useful, yet commonly overlooked casting practice drills there is: accuracy to a target on the back cast.

it makes tracking perfectly straight a necessity and we have to move ourselves and the rod tip in the exact same manner as when delivering to the more common front.
this brings us closer to casting symmetry and that brings us closer to being a really good caster.
even if we’re not delivering there, being able to place the back cast in the exact alignment and casting angle not only sets us up to make better fronts casts but also to keep the back cast out of trouble and out of branches, grass, fences and cows.
delivering on the back cast isn’t just an exercise either as it’s of great use for casting longer lengths of line when there’s on-casting-shoulder wind. personally, i find this a lot easier and more consistent than casting and hauling off-shoulder as apart from turning around, i don’t have to change a single thing from my usual cast. it’s all good.
i hope you’ll give it a go and maybe even turn this into a little comp among your casting friends.

here’s yet another great video from Aitor Coteron showing us this drill. enjoy !

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

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

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

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

Fly Casting: Hand-Casting and Loop Propagation

casting by Bernd Ziesche filmed by Aitor Coteron

a lot more than just a fun thing to do, what we’re mostly seeing here (and outside of some outstanding loops) is, although a fly rod makes fly casting and fishing easier, it’s not the rod that makes the cast.
take the caster out of the equation and nothing happens. we cast fly lines, not fly rods.
for sure, the ‘rod hand’ is flexing a bit but it’s nowhere comparable to the bend a rod experiences with the same cast. to understand concepts better sometimes its good to test extreme opposites and compare the results so, seeing that it is quite easy to get fantastic loop shapes with a broomstick (completely rigid lever) as well, it looks like we can remove the over-rated ‘rod load’ concept from the all-essential list of items that make a cast work or not. just as Bernd is doing here with his hand, it’s what (how) we do with the rod tip that makes the line do what we want it to do. it’s a lot more about how we move rather than what we use.

some food for thought…  enjoy !

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.