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…

Spey Casting- the Single Spey with a Twist

apart from confirming that the world is pretty much round and that the universe continuously spins and that the Straight Line Path rule can be overrated at times, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to learn fly casting-wise here.
on the other hand, as long as you don’t royally mess up, Spey casting is always a beautiful and super-fun thing to do.
i hope you’ll enjoy this pointless aesthetic twisty stuff as much as i do.
JP Single-Spey M.Fauvet:TLC 10-8-14

– being a bigger file than most gifs it takes a complete sequence to get up to speed and visualise properly.
please be patient for a few seconds, i’m new to this and learning the process !

J.P.’s Single Spey

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

JP SingleSpey beginnings

 

Jason, Bradding.

(that’s Jason as in Borger and Brad as in Dork)

often branded as a heretic when i mention that i find the ‘River runs through it’ movie quite boring, this little gif makes up for all the mushy-sobby right vs wrong scenario, down-your-throat mysticism, alleviates us from the deep angst always brought on by seeing Pitt’s goofy face and shows us over and over a finer-than-fine display of fly casting excellence.
coming from Jason that’s of course no surprise: there’s impeccable wrist control, the whole arm contributes to the cast to create a straight line path of the rod tip, demonstrates acceleration to a stop/translation followed by rotation as well as any video i’ve seen before and it’s all crowned with a beautiful pointy loop despite the mushy-action vintage bamboo rod*. just beautiful.

Jason Borger 'River' gif

* this last point was included only to point out that the current trend of ‘you need a fast rod to produce tight-pointy loops‘ is nothing more than marketing hype.

fly casting- mesmerizing…

this is probably why i’m so enamored by fly casting.
sure, it feels good to do but watching the magic happen through space and time makes all the persistence worth it, more than well worth it.

tumblr_mobl68ZhOa1svp93zo1_250

tumblr_mo8sx6VGCS1svp93zo1_400 extracts from an anonymous giffer of Carl McNeil‘s famous fly casting tutorial dvd and one that i highly recommend, “Casts that Catch Fish”
for more previews click here

the Shadow Cast

have you ever wondered how this happened ?

taken from the oh-so-famous ‘A River Runs Through It‘  movie poster, here’s a very good example of three-dimensional casting.

devised by Jason Borger as a visual rendition of Norman Maclean’s description “…cast hard and low upstream, skimming the water with the fly but never letting it touch. Then he would pivot, reverse his line in a great oval above his head, and drive his line low and hard downstream, again, skimming the water with his fly ”  therefore creating the illusion of a bug hatch to a more than gullible fish !
(i personally believe this cast and it’s incessant ‘Shadowing‘ of the poor unexpecting fishes put them in hypnoïdal-halucinogetic fit and the only reason they ever got hooked was their mouths where slack-jawed, drooling with bliss and the fly managed to snag them on it’s merry ‘low and hard driving’ way, but then again, it’s just a personal theory).

thing is, in the movie itself, us casting geeks are left with a yuk aftertaste because we can’t even properly see the whole cast and as far as i’m concerned, sitting through an hour and a half of romanticised schmultz (yeah,romanticised schmutz. sorry) to see, enjoy and try to analyze this cast in just a few brief, very edited micro-flashes just doesn’t do it.
now, thanks to this groovy  gif  we get to see the mechanical motion sequence over and over (me jaw’s slackin’ from staring at it !…. 😎 )  finally putting Norm’s poetic description to good use !
the word sequence is off or at least confusing, the ‘Galway’ part starts after the initial over-head cast, it’s the reversal of the grip- Pendulum/Climbing Hook nos. 3&4 that goes throughout the whole back-cast, but the motions are correct. ( i think)


sure, the Shadow Cast is more of an exercise in style and aesthetics than one of hard-core use on the water and that’s just fine because fly casting should be pretty and sexy. after all, Jason in his seminal book ‘Nature of Fly Casting’ describes it as: ” It is not how many fish you catch, it is how good you look doing it. Well, maybe for the movies. ”

as i reread this i have to be honest. the more i think about it the more i believe the whole Shadow Cast thing is a retouched or special effects hyped-up hoax that never existed anywhere outside of the book or the movie’s editing room. ever wondered why no one else does this cast at shows or among like-minded casting geeks or even display it on youtube ? i do, but then i like make-believe and this make-believe sure beats the heck out of this…