This Week's View|
by Deanna Lee Birkholm
June 17th, 2002
Archive of Ladyfisher Articles
It was getting toward dusk. The ocean breeze on Puget Sound
had been gusting all afternoon, and instead of dropping with
the sun it was rising. Fortunately it was from my left which
kept my fly away from me - being a right handed caster a wind
from the right means taking special care casting or the chances
of wearing a #4 saltwater fly become highly possible.
I can cast in the wind. My eight-weight rod does the job very
nicely. But I wasn't getting my fly as far out on the seam
created by the tide change as I wanted. I watched our buddy
fishing, Big Guy to my right, casting flawlessly. He wasn't
having any problem. Obviously he was doing something I wasn't.
The wind dropped for a moment and I could hear him casting.
The sound of his line zinging. That's it! My line was not
There are three important parts to fly casting. STOP
the rod, LOOK at your loops, be aware of their shape,
and LISTEN to the sound your rod or line make.
The sound of the 'zinging' meant Big Guy had more line speed.
Line speed? You don't hear much about that - but it is very
important. The speed at which the line travels makes the
difference between a backcast that looks like a downhill
roller coaster or a straight line behind you. It also makes
a difference on whether or not the line opens fully on the
backcast. Having too little line speed leaves a hook or 'j'
of line at the end of the line/leader. You can wait all day
for the backcast to open, (straighten out completely) but
without enough line speed it just won't happen.
On really short casts line speed doesn't come into play as much,
unless you are contending with a wind problem. Fishing in the
wind, it may make the difference of fishing or not.
Do you have enough line speed?
Do you need more line speed?
How do you increase line speed?
Start by using the double haul. If you haven't learned it yet,
follow the animated instruction in Castwell's article The DH
HERE. The length of the
pull on the double haul controls the shape of the front and
back loop. A short, sharp tug makes a small tight loop.
A long pull creates a big open loop. If you want your line to
travel faster, the short sharp tug creates a tight loop that is less
wind resistant and goes faster (and farther).
The second way to increase line speed is to speed up the rhythm
of the cast. The casting sequence should be fast enough to cast
the line in a straight path on both the forward and backcast,
still allowing for the loop to open completely. The line should
pass over the top of the rod and unroll like a carpet on the
backcast. The forward cast starts just at the instant the
line is out straight (without the hook or 'j') and BEFORE the
line begins to drop. Once the line has dropped you are also
fighting gravity and slack. Remember, slack is our enemy in
No matter how long one has been fishing or casting, it isn't
always easy to remember all the parts necessary to make everything
work. Standing thigh deep in the saltchuck with waves breaking
and the wind blowing does make it easy to forget stuff - especially
when you know there are fish there! Forgetting just one little
piece can make the difference in catching. In my case, if I
wasn't able to get my fly to where I knew the fish were, my
chances of catching one were pretty poor.
For those fishing saltwater and sight casting, the window of
opportunity to lure a fish to your fly can be very fleeting.
Getting the line out to the fish, in a false cast or two
requires having line speed quickly. That means using the
double haul - and quick casting strokes.
Work on your line speed. Stop the rod - hard. Look at the
size and shape of your loops, and listen to the sound of the
line. You'll find your casting improves. ~ LadyFisher
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