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April 3rd, 2000

Mike Tyson
By James Castwell

In most of my fly casting sessions I use the example of Mike Tyson. No, nothing to do with ear-biting; fly-casting. Now, I have no idea whether he fly-casts or not, but I will say this. I think, if he wanted to, he would be a very, very good caster. I would welcome the opportunity to teach him in fact.

Most of you have an image of him in a fight; he comes in low, no long punches, elbows bent, tight, short, from the shoulder, power developed with his biceps. What you will not see him doing is hitting with his arm extended. Why not? No power that way. Forgive me, but I have seen some guys casting who looked a lot like some old lady smacking a guy over the head with an umbrella; same exact motion, really.

I am going to assume by now you know something about casting. This you can do right now. At your computer. I dare you to try it. (Make sure no one can see you though, looks silly) Put your left hand on your right bicep. (The big muscle between your elbow and shoulder) Ok, now while holding the left hand there, make some pretend casting strokes with your right arm.

You already know you need to stop the rod to form line-loops, so make sure you come to a nice hard stop in both directions. Notice how the bicep muscle is involved. You can feel it with your left hand; that is if you have not raised your right arm! Keep the arm down and the bicep works. It stops the rod.

Now try this. Raise your right arm way up. Almost straight up like you have seen some guys try to cast. Repeat the casting strokes with it up like that. Notice how the bicep no longer even moves? Try stopping the rod with your arm up like that. Doesn't work, does it?

The point here is this. If you need to stop the rod to form nice tight loops, use the best muscle for the job. If you raise your arm, all you have to use is your wrist. Lower it and you have the power of your bicep to do the job right. This is the main point the first FFF 'Master' Certified Casting Instructor, Rich Ward, drills into every student.

Of course this is much more important when casting a longer fly line. For short stuff you can stop the rod with your wrist or forearm. Some casts require hardly any stop at all.

As a fly-caster moves up from the four or five weight rods to the eights, he needs to learn how to stop the rod better. With rods this size he is required to cast longer distances. At the same time he is using a rod, heavier, which is harder to stop than the light ones. This sometimes retards the development of learning the hard stop. The caster often tries to cast them the same way he did the light ones, big gentle loops. When that does not work, he swings them harder. That of course, does not work at all. He has to learn the stop. ~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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