Ok, you guys who can make perfect loops, front
and back, with fifty feet of fly line, hit the
back button and go read something that will be
important to you. Those who can not, stick around.
If you can cast with a video camera on you and not
have it bother you at all, this is not for you. At
big fly-casting outings you can step right up and
lay out flawless casts after casts, you for sure
got the wrong column here. This is for the other
ninety-nine percent of us who can't.
How can using less effort when you cast possibly
allow the line to go farther? Or, the same distance
with less effort. Here's how it could work for you.
This is one of the major problems facing many who
have just learned to cast and now want to gain a bit
I think we have all been conditioned to 'try harder'
when something is not going as we want it to, probably
natural that we should apply that to fly-casting as
well. But, when 'trying harder' is mixed in with
improper timing, bad things can happen. A 'bigger
hammer' is not always the right choice.
First off, take a hard look at your fly line as it goes
out in front of you. Are there any up-and-down waves
in it? There are? Guess what, you put them there.
These are caused by the tip of the rod whipping down
at the stop, kind of over-bending on the stop. This
will make those waves in your line. So what, you ask?
They slow things down, the front loop is open and moves
slower, the line does not go through the guides as fast
and the cast does not go as far.
Seriously, this problem is more prevalent with big
strong guys than with ladies. That figures of course,
the girls can not stop the rod as hard, they are just
not as strong. Applying too much iron-fisted force on
the stop is not a good thing. The stop must be dampened.
A good way to demonstrate this is to put your rod together
but no line out, none. It is alright to have the reel
on, but do not pull off any line.
Hold the rod horizontal in front of you. Smartly whip
the rod down toward the ground. When it comes bact to
horizontal try to make it stop dead, no wiggles. It
will take you a few times to get this right, but that
is what I mean by dampening the stop. Here is where a
good rod will outperform a poor one. It is much easier
to stop a good one than a bad rod. The poor rod will
really want to keep going when you try to stop it,
the good one will behave your commands.
When you have got a good idea of all of this, string
it up and make a few short casts and watch the line
for waves. If you have any, dampen the stops and use
less effort, make the cast smooth. If you already are
using the double-haul, grip the fly line under your
fore-finger of the rod hand and cast only with one
hand. Make sure you can form perfectly smooth casts
with one hand before you extend any line.
As you add line to your cast, only do so in small
increments, a foot or two, always making sure you
are not getting a whip-over of the tip or waves in
the line. If you do, bring in some line until you
can again control the cast and start over. A solid
but dampened stop with a smooth delivery during the
cast will give you the added distance you want and
will increase your accuracy and control of presentation.
All those things for just dampening a stop, well worth
Next week, how to make better back-casts.
~ James Castwell