Bigfish25

Casting A Fly (poorly)

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After more than 45 years of fly fishing I'm embarrassed to say I don't cast very well. I have poor mechanics which results in too much effort and poorly formed loops. I'm sure I have developed many bad habits but I  "get by" because I only cast as much line as I can lay out straight. This worked ok until I started fishing the salt a few years ago which exposed my lack of skill even more.  On a much anticipated trip to the Florida Keys and a costly day with a guide this became painfully evident. Red fish at 2 o'clock at 30 yards was impossible for me, a puff of mud and they were gone, not one hook up, it was a long day for both of us. So my resolve this year is to get better (double haul I hope). I will schedule some time with an instructor once the weather improves here in Maine in the meantime: any recommendations for an instructor, books, videos, or any other suggestions? Thanks

Edited by Bigfish25

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Posted (edited) · Report post

30 yards in a sight fishing situation?

Ninety feet into a several foot wide window?

2 oclock?  If right handed you're trying to make that cast over the boat and guide? Or back-handed!  

I'd have handed the rod to the guide and asked him to demonstrate.  Very few fisherman can make that cast. 

 

Being realistic, you probably are trying to become accurate at 40-60ft and able to reach 75' with fair consistency.  This is very doable but you are not going to achieve it by youtube and practice.

Double hauling will only throw your mistakes a bit further.  

 

Take a few lessons.  Learn about line path and alignment, about loop control and haul timing (the videos online don't describe this and if you haul too early it creates a mess).  With that in hand you will already be casting 60' easily and then can work on the hero stuff. 

 

This link (if allowed) ought to help you find someone well qualified (an MCI)   https://flyfishersinternational.org/Resources/Locate-Members/Casting-Instructors

 

Looks like there is one in Brunswick and one in Portland

Edited by numbskull

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I'll add that equipment is important if you are trying for real distance.  Primarily the line. Understanding the importance of head length and line carry will greatly help your accuracy and distance once you have a decent stroke.  

 

Understanding headweights and your rod's sweet spot also makes a significant difference.  

For example, being an idiot I believed the bad advice on the internet and thought my problem was that I needed to upline my rod to "load" it better.  As a result I wasted a year trying to improve my distance by using an airflow 9wt sniper on an 8 wt rod.  Turns out that line is actually an 11weight line with a short head.  It collapses with any effort to extend carry, forcing a rushed overpowered stroke to try and compensate, which in turn the rod could not support, which lead early hauls, to huge loops, a damaged wrist, and viscous tailing loops.     Took another 6 months to correct all the bad habits I picked up dealing with that bad choice.  

 

My point is that if you are serious about getting better spend some money on education and save yourself a lot of mis-steps.

 

One last piece of advice (learned the hard way).  THE ROD IS NOT THE ANSWER.  You do not need an expensive rod to cast 90'...........you need understanding of what you are trying to do (and how to do it), the right line, and good form instead.

Edited by numbskull

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Try to make the fly hit the tip of your rod on forward and back casts 

 

this will start you making tighter loops

Edited by JohnP

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Go to "fly casting video masterclass" site where are perhaps 60 few minute video thrills. If you can access internet while on practice field you can watch them and do them same time. Paul Arden also answers questions after you greate username. Sometimes it takes week or so because he is hardest fly angler I know and fishes most of the time and teach casting, competes and design rods the rest.

 

Esa

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35 mins ago, numbskull said:

I'll add that equipment is important if you are trying for real distance.  Primarily the line. Understanding the importance of head length and line carry will greatly help your accuracy and distance once you have a decent stroke.  

 

Understanding headweights and your rod's sweet spot also makes a significant difference.  

For example, being an idiot I believed the bad advice on the internet and thought my problem was that I needed to upline my rod to "load" it better.  As a result I wasted a year trying to improve my distance by using an airflow 9wt sniper on an 8 wt rod.  Turns out that line is actually an 11weight line with a short head.  It collapses with any effort to extend carry, forcing a rushed overpowered stroke to try and compensate, which in turn the rod could not support, which lead early hauls, to huge loops, a damaged wrist, and viscous tailing loops.     Took another 6 months to correct all the bad habits I picked up dealing with that bad choice.  

 

interesting that you mention the Airflo Sniper line. I am using the 8w 40+ Sniper on my 6w Echo Classic Switch and having a hard time with timing, casting 2 hand overhead in the surf. (the grain weight falls within the recommended window) If I'm too quick pulling in with the lower hand, I get a nasty tailing loop. when I slow it down, the loop opens up too much... the sweet spot seems VERY difficult to attain. I would say it happens maybe once in 4 casts, or 25% of the time. I guess I should break out a couple other lines and see how they work on this rod.

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Numbskiull Thanks for the comments and link. The main reason i need to get my casting in order is I'm making my first fishing trip to the Cape. I'll be there the last week of May and will be staying at Nickerson Park. Hopefully the weather  and fish will cooperate. 

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BigFish, do you have a lighter setup like a 5 wt?  I would try and eliminate all the flaws from a 30-40 ft freshwater cast before I started trying to eliminate flaws from a 90 ft cast using a double haul.

 

I like Sheila Hassan's book about beginner fly casting.  It is one way to move ones wrist, forearm, elbow, bicep, and shoulder to make an efficient and accurate cast.  I would keep adding distance until it doesn't feel right or the cast falls apart.  So start with 30 then, 35, 40, 45, and 50'.  If you learn to nail the 5 fundamentals of fly casting at 30 to 50 ft then you can add techniques like double hauling and drifting to get whatever distance you'll ever need flats fishing.

 

Like anything, if you practice you will be able to hit whatever shots are necessary.

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2 hours ago, Uncle Stu said:

interesting that you mention the Airflo Sniper line. I am using the 8w 40+ Sniper on my 6w Echo Classic Switch and having a hard time with timing, casting 2 hand overhead in the surf. (the grain weight falls within the recommended window) If I'm too quick pulling in with the lower hand, I get a nasty tailing loop. when I slow it down, the loop opens up too much... the sweet spot seems VERY difficult to attain. I would say it happens maybe once in 4 casts, or 25% of the time. I guess I should break out a couple other lines and see how they work on this rod.

You need to drift while back cast line loop unfurls when TH casting. High stop is essential to narrow line loop but wide casting stroke is needed to distance. When casting stroke starts and drift has bring rod ancle lower the rod bends less abrupt and lessens tailing loop. Drift also compensates gravity which pulls line down and line is straighter when casting stroke begins.

 

TH casting needs higher stops on false casts than SH casting with haul which drops line speed fast which narrows line loop even when very wide casting stroke is used.

 

Esa

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2 hours ago, crunch said:

You need to drift while back cast line loop unfurls when TH casting. High stop is essential to narrow line loop but wide casting stroke is needed to distance. When casting stroke starts and drift has bring rod ancle lower the rod bends less abrupt and lessens tailing loop. Drift also compensates gravity which pulls line down and line is straighter when casting stroke begins.

 

TH casting needs higher stops on false casts than SH casting with haul which drops line speed fast which narrows line loop even when very wide casting stroke is used.

 

Esa

Thanks Esa--Ok so I want the line to straighten behind me. Do you know of a video online for this drift bit? Lucky from me, I have good water in my neighborhood for practice. 

 

Sorry everyone, this thread is going all over the place, with tips on one hand as well as two hand casting!

 

 

Edited by Uncle Stu

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Search "bill gammel making adjustments on the fly ".

 

The resultant excellent  link can help you understand what is going on with drift............but for most casters there is a lot to learn about maintaining a straight rod tip path (SLP), controlling the "stop" and resultant loop formation, the importance of a good straight (in all 3 dimensions) backcast, avoidance of excessive or premature power application, and maintaining line tension that are all necessary before one gets much by drifting the rod.    I know because I've been drifting the rod since day one (25 years ago) and my casting still sucked for most of that time.   Rod drift without the rest of the above usually results in a tailing loop.

Edited by numbskull

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Uncle stu.

 

Drift is important. But we have to get enough line speed into that back cast to get it out straight.

 

If it is a sin in single hand fly casting the probs get bigger with TH over head.

 

you don’t get that line out straight you are  going nowhere fast on your delivery cast.

 

initially if you adopt an open stance  you can turn your head and watch your back cast. 

 

Coming forward too soon is just as bad.

 

oly

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7 hours ago, Bigfish25 said:

Numbskiull Thanks for the comments and link. The main reason i need to get my casting in order is I'm making my first fishing trip to the Cape. I'll be there the last week of May and will be staying at Nickerson Park. Hopefully the weather  and fish will cooperate. 

Ok coming to the Cape in spring it’s possible in some places to get way with a very average cast. But a good one was never a bad idea and life will be easier and a whole lot more fun.

 

If you are serious about wanting to fish salt water from the shore with a single hand rod then a DH a good one is going to be key.

 

There are guys who think differently. But at one time some people thought the world was flat. 

 

Quickest wat to get a  good cast is buy some casting lessons. You have 45 years of crap to get rid off. Tough job and with just videos to help almost in my view impossible.

 

Good luck with the quest. It is not that hard.

 

mikey

 

 

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I don't feel so bad now.   The fly shop I frequent usually holds a spring tune up for casting.  For years the casting instructor used me as an example of what not to do when casting.  I've been fly fishing for about 20 years now.  I've taken casting lessons and have had instruction from some excellent casters in non-class situations.  Problem is I had almost 40 years of using a spinning rod and the muscle memory is hard to break,  especially since I do break out the spinning gear a couple of times a year.  I'm accurate out to about 50 feet, but it gets ugly once I get past 60 feet.  Since a lot of my fishing is fresh water, I very seldom have to cast that far and even fishing from the shore or the jetty most of the fish I've caught have come within the range of my cast.  What's interesting is that I've had enough lessons and instruction that I could teach you what you need to do to become a decent caster, but it's a do as I say not as I do situation.  Couldn't help you with the DH never learned it.  Can do a single haul and I have my fly rods set up with guides that make it easier to shoot line with them.  At this point I'm not going to change.  I enjoy being on the water and catching fish I'm not going fret about not getting a job as a shadow caster in a movie.  Good luck with it.

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5 hours ago, Uncle Stu said:

Thanks Esa--Ok so I want the line to straighten behind me. Do you know of a video online for this drift bit? Lucky from me, I have good water in my neighborhood for practice. 

 

Sorry everyone, this thread is going all over the place, with tips on one hand as well as two hand casting!

 

 

Stu,

 

Take a look at this article.  It's written by a world class Spey casting instructor, Robert Gillespie, who teaches the TH overhead cast as a building block for TH Spey casting.  The diagram breaking the cast down into its components, including drift, is the best I've seen.  Of course, you don't want to bring all those "swing thoughts" to the beach.  But it's a great reference tool.  I agree with Mike, a few lessons would likely help.  An instructor can see things you can't.  Or video yourself.  Some instructors now do remote video analysis.

 

Mark

 

http://www.robertgillespie.net/page5/page0/page0.html

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