October 6th, 2003

'negative actually'
By James Castwell

Your word for today is 'drift.' One of its meanings relates to a very common fault in fly-casting, the tendency to move your fly-rod after you have made the stop on the back-cast. I wrote about this back in February of 2000, and it's important enough to bring up again. There is nothing new on the subject but perhaps I can use some other words to help impress you how valuable the proper control of it can be.

One of the many fun times at our 'Fish-In's' is casting all the new rods we bring with us. Sometimes we do a little casting-coaching at the same time when requested and we usually put on a clinic of sorts at least once during the event. During the last such outing it was brought home to me again just how pervasive 'negative-drift' can be.

One of the guys, a pal of ours for several years, but who we only get to see once a year at these events was playing with one of the new rods. He has been fly-fishing for years and is very accomplished. Nothing shabby about his casting either. As I happened to glance over at him, laying out about 40 feet of line, I noticed a slight 'negative-drift.' That is, after he had made his back-cast, as the line was rolling out to the rear, he would bring his rod forward to vertical.

No big deal, the cast was working just fine. I remembered though that he had tried to correct that problem back in Montana about seven years ago, but here it was again. Was it a fault, was he doing something wrong? Yes. It was both of those and more. It took away some of the power of his cast and helped to promote a tailing-loop.

By not keeping the rod at the exact place where it stopped on the back-cast and moving it forward in line with his body he had little of the rod left to make the forward cast with. His resultant stroke had to be a short punch from vertical to the forward stop, not the longer smooth power stroke of 60 or 70 degrees with that amount of line out. The longer stroke allows the rod to bend deeper and load more and results in a better and easier cast.

I mentioned it to him, he made the correction and immediately his cast improved. He had simply forgotten over the years. It can happen and often does. The next chance you have to watch someone's casting see if you can spot the 'negative-drift.' Chances are you will not have trouble finding it, it is very common. Have them watch you. Then see if both of you can stick the rod where it stops on the back-cast, wait until the line has opened behind you and then and only then start your forward stroke. You may be surprised and rewarded with a smoother, more powerful, and less tiring forward cast. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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