Fly Casting- Throw Away your Watch !

or (Where to Stop the Rod)

as we’ve already seen in Jay and Bill Gammel’s The Five Essentials:
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.” or to make it even simpler- Short line, short stroke – Long line, long stroke.
here, Chris Myers explains and demonstrates this principle very well.

keep that in mind at all times and you’ll pretty much have this ‘Where to Stop the Rod’ business down pat without having to resort to some nonsensical watch face (which hardly if ever works in the real world anyway).
people usually know where 9, 12 and 3 o’clock are, that is, if they don’t invert the 3 and 9… but are typically wrong by at least a half hour and usually a full hour or more if you ask them to point at a given time when compared to a real watch face. i’ve done this experiment many times with a clock face printed on a clear sheet of plastic which i could look through and superimpose both the caster and the clock face. i’ve never kept precise results but at least 90% where off by at least a half hour. that probably doesn’t sound like it would make a big difference in the real world but if this half or full hour (or more !) are off when casting we end up with either a casting stroke that’s too short or too long and it might even tilt the casting plane up or down instead of the intended angle.

now, as fine and unquestionable as the Gammel’s number 4 rule is, there’s still something missing and that has to do with casting tempo/rhythm/cadence/speed. let’s take the example of 30ft of line carried with nicely controlled 3′ loops.
with the same fixed length of line we’ll have a much shorter casting arc and stroke if we’re casting slowly than if we’re casting the exact same 3′ loops with a faster tempo as it needs a longer stroke to avoid having problems.
so, to complete no. 4 we should add Slow cast, Shorter stroke – Faster cast, Longer stroke.

after reading this the beginner might be thinking, “great, it used to be more or less simple and now i have to figure out and combine two principles to get this ‘stopping’ stuff sorted ?.. “ but don’t fret ! because the solution is very simple.
as Chris explains in the video above, simply watch what the line’s doing and adjust from there.
– if the loops are too big, reduce the stroke length.
– loops too small or even colliding, lengthen the stroke.
– if you’re casting faster or slower than usual, lengthen or shorten the stroke accordingly.
– what works for me and what i teach is the stroke (by that i mean the rod tip’s travel) is simply a straight line that gets shorter or longer: ‘more or less’ or changes speed: ‘slower or faster’
its simple, everyone understands this and it doesn’t need a watch to get right. besides, who wants to worry about the time when we’re out by the water ?

you old fuckers !

a short extract from Essence of Fly Casting II by Mel Krieger

what can you say about someone who managed to insult old farts and successfully convey the message across in such a charming manner ?
we can now say that to “get the line out” we’ll need to do a bit more than just ‘stop’ the rod, but the image is a good and lasting one and one that works.
this little clip has always been one of my favorites. thanks Mel.

Fly Casting- Better not stop !

or this guy won’t think you’re doing it right…

following a current website casting thread on the Italian TLT (Total Line Technique) style of casting, one of the better casters of this style posted the video above to point out that this technique doesn’t involve stopping the rod.
well, ok, with the short amount of line he’s casting in the video (if he double or tripled the amount of line he would obviously have to pause his hand in one way or another to allow the line to unroll before starting the next stroke) he does indeed continue the movement with his hand but what he’s really failing to understand is that it’s not hand movement that’s important in defining the ‘stop’ but rather the rod tip.
to put it quite simply, loop formation happens just after the rod tip is at it’s highest speed and when the rod tip has been decelerated in one way or another via the rod butt and this all happens just a fraction of a second before the rod tip is at it’s very temporary ‘RSP’ (Rod Straight Position) on it’s way into counter-flex.

to put it even more simply, if their isn’t a ‘stop’* or a deceleration or reversal direction of the rod tip, (as seen at the beginning of the video) there isn’t a loop, and this regardless of what the hand is doing.

to demonstrate this with beginning students i ask them to do Joan Wulff’s drill, ‘Circles and Eights’. this involves drawing big circles and figure-eights in the air with the rod tip and with a short amount of line. even as they’re swishing the rod this way and that, as long as they continue to draw those figures a loop never happens, it just follows the rod tip.
as soon as they stop the movement or if i place my hand in front of the rod and block it, the line overtakes the rod tip and a loop happens and that’s what a loop is about, ‘stopping’ the rod tip. beginners understand this without words.

the TLT isn’t the only school of casting that claims a non-‘stop’ movement to their style. in a world where the understanding of casting mechanics is starting to develop greatly, maybe it might be time for these schools to analyze not only their casting better but also the words they use to describe it.

* i always put the word ‘stop’ between parenthesis because the rod tip doesn’t really stop. even if it is an incorrect term, this ‘stop’ is just an accepted image that explains this point in time during the cast.



if you too where bored to death by the first video, here’s a little something that involves moving and stopping that’s a lot more interesting.