J. Castwell
March 9th, 1998


You can't expect to always find some great and wonderful new thing about casting in my column. This is such a column. The subject is not earth-shattering, not a "pearl-of-wisdom." It is very true of many average fly casters though.

I have had several folks tell me they don't really like the new fast fly rods. They prefer the older ones they have. They like the slower action because they can 'feel' the line in the air on the back cast. It helps them with their timing.

And they are right, unless they wish to improve their casting; that's where the trouble sets in. Perhaps at a show or fly shop they try out a new faster rod. They are used to the slow, easy swing of a fiberglass type rod and use the same rhythm with the new rod. The back cast has a loop that looks like a circle and the front cast piles up ten feet of fly line.

So, who is to blame? Each rod must be cast a bit differently. With time and experience you get to know how to make them all cast very nicely if you want to. You may NOT want to. You may not want to CAST THAT WAY. Ya don't have to! We all develop, in time, a way, a method, a style of casting which WE LIKE.

If, however, your casting is not doing what you think it should then you may have to change the WAY you cast ... and get a new fly rod that matches the new way. The way you like to cast. Do you enjoy the slow, easy, full arm motion of a slow rod? Great, stay with it. But, if you want the wedge shaped front loops that will pierce a hurricane, you must change.

The biggest single mistake I see at shows is a guy trying out a fast rod and using a slow rod rhythm. He will not like the rod. He will not be able to feel the line. A slow rod requires more of the upper arm to cast; a fast rod, more of the forearm. Perhaps that is too simplified, but it is close.

If you are going to try out a new faster fly rod, be willing to change your style to match it. Shorten your stroke, make the tip of the rod do the work. Load the rod well on the back cast, turn and watch the back loop. If it is not narrow, hit it harder until it is. You can feel the line just as well with a fast rod as a slow rod, ya just got to cast them differently. ~ JC

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