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…

The Key to Good Fly Casting: Practice!

by Bruce Richards

fly casting can be very easy and it can be extremely complex, it’s all a matter of how far we want to take it. you can be an expert in history without ever having made history but you can’t cast a fly line with just theory.
whatever level we want to achieve won’t happen without a certain learning curve and without practice. Bruce gives us some very solid advice and ideas that make perfect sense. i hope you’ll both enjoy and benefit from this master’s experience and wisdom.

“A lot has been written about how to cast effectively. I’ve taught over 3000 people to cast. The one single most important factor in successfully learning to cast, or improving your casting is practice. A lot of my students spend good money and time to take lessons, but if they don’t practice what they have learned it will be lost. Developing good practice habits is often the key to becoming a good caster.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to practice, but practicing fairly often is important. To make a bad analogy, practicing casting is a lot like training a puppy. The best way to train a puppy is in frequent short sessions, not all day once a month, the same goes for casting. Every day is best, but 3-4 times a week is certainly adequate. I have found the best practice sessions are usually 15-20 minutes long, for me in the evening after work. I like to leave a rod rigged and ready in the garage that I can quickly grab and head to the back yard. Having water isn’t necessary for a good practice session, except for roll casting. If you want to practice roll casting on the grass all you need to do is secure the end of the leader to something, to simulate the resistance of water. I like to use a clipboard, just clip the end of the  leader in the spring clip and you are ready to cast.

Of course it is important to practice the right things. If you are having trouble correcting problems or improving your casting you need to reference a good book or video, or better yet, a good instructor. Books and videos can be very helpful but don’t provide the feedback a qualified casting instructor can.

I think it is very important to practice to a target. Too many casters practice by just throwing loops at the same distance without paying much attention to their delivery. Being able to hit a target is often pretty important when fishing. A technique I have used very successfully when practicing follows. This drill works very well when practicing for demanding casting tasks like fishing for bonefish or tarpon.

Determine a good place to stand in the middle of a good sized open area. Scatter 6-8 targets (I use paper plates) around at various distances appropriate to the kind of fishing you do, and in different directions. Stand in the center of the targets and make a cast to the one in front of you. Strip the line in short, turn your body one way or the other and make your next cast at the target you see first. Try to make each cast with no more than 3-4 false casts. Repeat this process until you’ve made several casts at each target.

This drill will teach you to quickly work out line, judge distance and make good deliveries. If you find that you are unable to consistently come close to the targets, that usually indicates a problem with your loops, time to consult your book, video, or instructor !”

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