Mike Oliver

Whole Fly Line Challenge.

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352 posts in this topic

25 mins ago, VeeRay56 said:

Yes, I do know the strip set. I use it all the time. In the incident I spoke of, the moving water put too much slack in the line and the STRIP SET was ineffective. 

But at least you had a fish come to the fly and thus a chance that maybe you wouldn't have had with a cast of 75' ...

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19 hours ago, numbskull said:

From an earlier post: Distance and turnover into hard wind is all about carry, line speed, and trajectory (not loop size) and nothing generates line speed like learning to cast without a hard stop....forwards and backwards. 

 

It is all a Catch-22.  The success of your backcast depends on the success of your forward cast and the success of your forward cast depends on the success of your back cast.  That said, most of us have developed some proficiency with the forward cast because we can see it.  Working to improve the back cast then is critical for breaking the cycle.  You want that thing to be zinging back behind you with a tight loop and lots of line speed.  It will straighten high and pull hard on your line hand.  This tension helps keep it from falling and keeps it stretched out straight.  Starting delivery from this position eliminates the unconscious need to rush your delivery stroke.    Learning to make a straight energized backcast provided a huge step forward in my casting.............and at all distances (although for short stuff it obviously needs less energy).    It is so important that I don't try to deliver a fly unless I can feel that tension in my line hand all through the pause and I start forward just as it begins to dissipate .

 

One last thing that often passes under the radar.  It deals with trajectory.  It is a mistake to only think of trajectory as where you are aiming 1/2 your cast. There is a 180 degree rule.  It means that if your front cast is low and you try to throw your backcast parallel with the ground it is going to arc and result in a weak open loop.  Likewise, if your back cast is low and you try to throw it parallel forward (or more often a bit down at a target in the water) it is going to result in another big open loop. Working to get your forward and backcast trajectories matched so the line positions at the end of each are 180 degrees apart (and passing through the rod tip at the moment of the stop) is important and solves a lot of casting problems. 

    

 

18 hours ago, Mike Oliver said:

Sorry my post landed just after numbskul’s.

180 rule is Straight line rod path. But we can tilt it. The old cheese wedge.

Good stuff here. Casting on a field is helpful but nothing like casting over water. Being mindful of that and preparing for the variables like wind and water movement (waves, current) is essential to understand and identify when these conditions cause a cast to deteriorate. The hard stop is what I've been working on along with straight line forward and back. Also, the wrist snapped in the correct positions and at the correct times can help the stop in these conditions as well. I'm now using this thread as a guide for practice.

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Posted (edited)

On 20/04/2022 at 2:06 PM, Peter Patricelli said:

Here are two videos in which Excalibur , brought to Cape Cod almost a decade ago, plays a role.

 

https://flyfishingfotography.smugmug.com/Fishing/Cape-Cod-2011/i-wSrg2sS/A

 

In this video, note a much younger Mike O.  And Herb is in the background as well.

 

https://flyfishingfotography.smugmug.com/Fishing/Cape-Cod-2011/i-CHds2vf/A

 

Good to see JohnM 'Iron Manning' it in his shorts as usual. Too hardcore for me! 

 

 

Edited by JRT

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1 hour ago, Suave said:

But at least you had a fish come to the fly and thus a chance that maybe you wouldn't have had with a cast of 75' ...

I'll take the strike and heartache if I miss, over no strike at all.

 

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23 hours ago, numbskull said:

Hi Mark

Been there and done that.....and how.

Based on my similar experience my guess is that what is likely killing your loops is not rod speed but rather a weak backcast.  It is probably under powered and sags.  As you start forward the end of the line, because it is not straight, gets pulled downward even while the line closer to the rod tip is being pulled forward and upward.  The momentum added to the line in this position drives it into the ground or water behind you.  In a field with fluff you may not even notice but in the water, with less height to work with, it kills the cast obviously.  Being unconsciously aware of this we try to avoid it by starting forward too soon (before the line can fall as the thinking goes).  But this speeding up often starts the delivery too soon before the line has unrolled.  That doesn't work because the tension you add to the line with rod movement just accelerates the still unrolling loop behind you rather than serve to move the end of the line forward.  The result is that you use up casting arc doing nothing.  If you hit it hard to compensate you can tail.  If you prolong rotation to compensate you put a big downward force into your delivery and get a big arcing fly leg/open loop.  Hauling too soon in a desperate attempt to regain tension (i.e., 'load') makes either tendency worse. 

 

It is all a Catch-22.  The success of your backcast depends on the success of your forward cast and the success of your forward cast depends on the success of your back cast.  That said, most of us have developed some proficiency with the forward cast because we can see it.  Working to improve the back cast then is critical for breaking the cycle.  You want that thing to be zinging back behind you with a tight loop and lots of line speed.  It will straighten high and pull hard on your line hand.  This tension helps keep it from falling and keeps it stretched out straight.  Starting delivery from this position eliminates the unconscious need to rush your delivery stroke.    Learning to make a straight energized backcast provided a huge step forward in my casting.............and at all distances (although for short stuff it obviously needs less energy).    It is so important that I don't try to deliver a fly unless I can feel that tension in my line hand all through the pause and I start forward just as it begins to dissipate .

 

One last thing that often passes under the radar.  It deals with trajectory.  It is a mistake to only think of trajectory as where you are aiming 1/2 your cast. There is a 180 degree rule.  It means that if your front cast is low and you try to throw your backcast parallel with the ground it is going to arc and result in a weak open loop.  Likewise, if your back cast is low and you try to throw it parallel forward (or more often a bit down at a target in the water) it is going to result in another big open loop. Working to get your forward and backcast trajectories matched so the line positions at the end of each are 180 degrees apart (and passing through the rod tip at the moment of the stop) is important and solves a lot of casting problems. 

    


This X10. If you can’t shoot line on your back cast, its not right. Whenever I get out of synch, I go to the sideways 180 and watch the line land at both ends. Easy to practice rhythm and how little force you need and where the edge of shocking the tip is.

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Posted (edited)

Ok we are moving off topic but It is still relevant stuff.

 

I have never ever subscribed to this I can’t set a hook at long range. Ok if at long range and there is a ton of slack fair enough your cooked.

I fish a great deal at long range on still waters can’t say it has ever been a problem setting the hook. In the salt I don’t have issues setting 2/0 sharp hooks at ranges exceeding 90 feet. This is TH. Often no need to set. Talking Stripers here. Other times just keep on retrieving line after take until all comes tight.

Modern lines have little stretch.. longer range just adapt but it does not take much change. I honestly think we dream up problems that just do not exist.

If there was an issue is it better to get the take and then do our utmost to convert to a hookset.

I struggle with the mind set of surrender  before at least reaching for our rifles.

 

mikey

Edited by Mike Oliver

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23 hours ago, slip n slide said:

the notion of numerical line designation is utter and antiquated nonsense that should be banished to the trash bins of ignominy forever,grains are all that matter

Yes agree. Mind the poor sop still needs to match the line to the rod. So we also need realistic grain weight ratings inscribed on fly rods. This is subjective and just another can of worms which is already open.

If you just say to a new guy this line weighs X number of grains it will be pretty much meaningless. He/ she needs the full picture.

The industry if it’s big enough to qualify for that noun has not addressed this issue and it really is bollocks. Some companies make both rods and lines so are in pole position to sort this. Gain a competitive advantage. But they have not done so.

mike

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Posted (edited)

Something I'v found issue with is maintaining required distances for specific areas I fish when deep wading.  It's always been a balance between keeping a high rod throughout the cast and generating enough line speed to achieve distance on the presentation.    Curious what specifically could benefit me in situations such as waist to chest deep casting?

 

Edited by DeepBlue85

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Posted (edited)

" Curious what specifically could benefit me in situations such as waist to chest deep casting."

 

Well, first and foremost, it goes without saying......good technique, flat line, loop control.  You know you have arrived, casting-wise, when you can fearlessly wade out until your stripping basket is pushing on your chin, and never even think of your backcast touching the water.  The throw has to be.....upright, flat, fast, perfect.  But then, that is your goal (or should be) for ALL casting.

 

Lots of things to be said about this one.  First off, consider your "casting space", which I would define as the distance/depth between the top of your loaded rod......the highest plane that the flat fore and back cast are going to be thrown on......and the water.  All beginners and most intermediate casters are going to be more effective at getting a fly "out there...somehow", standing on the casting deck of a boat.....high off the water.  LOTS of casting space to be imperfect in.  That is NOT what you are asking, but makes you understand the simple physics.  There are very specific things you can do to wade deep(er) and maximize your casting space for your less than perfect strokes.

 

The easiest is rod length....and to some degree taper.  A 9' rod is going to have at LEAST an extra 1/2  foot more casting space than an 8' rod.  Sooo....using a 10 or more foot rod simply, inarguably buys you even more room for imperfection.  Beyond that and you are in two-handed rod/casting territory, which is obviously a perfectly acceptable choice for many.

 

I once was given a 4' "Abercrombie and Fitch" specialty rod.....and fished with it for several years.  It was an interesting. revealing experiment....and taught me A LOT about casting.  ESPECIALLY when wading out deeper.

 

A faster rod action, having the top of the flexion at full loading further toward the tip of the rod WILL be marginally higher than a slower action rod, all other things being equal.

 

The next factor I would suggest is not immediately obvious: line choice.  The magic of a fly-cast is that the line seems to defy gravity (in both fore and back casts) as the loop unfolds).  But in truth that is more apparent than real.  Yes, the unfurling loop is PULLING against the line attached to the high static rod tip, holding that motionless line up there, but that pull is unchanging as more and more line is stretched between,.......and then stops altogether as the loop extends into the front taper and leader.  Inevitably, the line starts to drop.  You save it by starting the pull in the opposite direction, and that pull is initially somewhat upward from the level the line has dropped to.  The height of the line being carried will be re-established as it passes over the caster's hand....and the whole magic starts again on the other side.  You see it all the time on your foreward false cast, especially with an on-shoulder wind. That fly is coming AT your face, then (hopefully) zooms upward.  Or, conversely, the fly catches in your hat or shoulder from the back cast.

 

The LOW point in the sequence, which has to fit in that shallow "casting space"..... you don't want it to hit the water, is about half way between you and the end of the line, both fore and aft.

 

OK, so where am I going with this?  There are only three ways to reduce that inevitable line drop.  The first is minor....aim your backcast slightly higher so that the drop, terminated by your pull in the opposite direction, is ended at a higher point.  Six inches matters.  The second is huge.....increase the line speed of your cast.  Drop (due to gravity is time dependent, the pull of gravity being constant).  faster cycle....less drop.  Punch it.  It takes more strength and energy to throw a faster, flatter cast.

 

The last factor is probably going to be somewhat controversial....on this forum.  Since TIME out there as the loop is unfurling. and for the (now dropping fast) terminal leader and fly to negotiate the distance until it starts to rise approaching you....IS.....the critical factor (more time = more drop), then consider using A LINE DESIGN THAT REQUIRES LESS "CARRY"....until the shoot.  In other words....a shorter, as opposed to longer, head design.

 

The ultimate standard for a "short" head these days (some youngsters think it is new and radical) is the old, once traditional and ONLY head length of 30'.  Think about it.  You are wading out there to your armpits trying to reach that school of breaking fish.  You can't even let your arms down without getting your elbows wet.  Do you want to be false casting (carrying) 30' of line before you can pull the trigger on a double haul and perfectly efficient shoot......or do you want to be false casting (carrying) 42 feet of line.....without anything hitting the water behind you.....before you can pull the trigger for a truly efficient shoot?

 

To those that can do it.....and then have the arm strength and perfect technique/efficiency to do it hours at a time......I salute them.  Been there.  Don't need it.  Don't want it.  I suggest that my point is valid:  for someone at a skill level to be ASKING this question in the first place, an intermediate caster, wading deep, their casting imperfections and drop will fit more easily into that casting depth.....with a shorter head. 

 

Oh, and finally, keep your leader on the shorter side and your fly less, or even UN weighted.  A long leader and heavy clouser IS going to hit the water.....or YOU.

  

Edited by Peter Patricelli

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Peter Patricelli said:

" Curious what specifically could benefit me in situations such as waist to chest deep casting."

 

Well, first and foremost, it goes without saying......good technique, flat line, loop control.  You know you have arrived, casting-wise, when you can fearlessly wade out until your stripping basket is pushing on your chin, and never even think of your backcast touching the water.  The throw has to be.....upright, flat, fast, perfect.  But then, that is your goal (or should be) for ALL casting.

 

Lots of things to be said about this one.  First off, consider your "casting space", which I would define as the distance/depth between the top of your loaded rod......the highest plane that the flat fore and back cast are going to be thrown on......and the water.  All beginners and most intermediate casters are going to be more effective at getting a fly "out there...somehow", standing on the casting deck of a boat.....high off the water.  LOTS of casting space to be imperfect in.  That is NOT what you are asking, but makes you understand the simple physics.  There are very specific things you can do to wade deep(er) and maximize your casting space for your less than perfect strokes.

 

The easiest is rod length....and to some degree taper.  A 9' rod is going to have at LEAST an extra 1/2  foot more casting space than an 8' rod.  Sooo....using a 10 or more foot rod simply, inarguably buys you even more room for imperfection.  Beyond that and you are in two-handed rod/casting territory, which is obviously a perfectly acceptable choice for many.

 

I once was given a 4' "Abercrombie and Fitch" specialty rod.....and fished with it for several years.  It was an interesting. revealing experiment....and taught me A LOT about casting.  ESPECIALLY when wading out deeper.

 

A faster rod action, having the top of the flexion at full loading further toward the tip of the rod WILL be marginally higher than a slower action rod, all other things being equal.

 

The next factor I would suggest is not immediately obvious: line choice.  The magic of a fly-cast is that the line seems to defy gravity (in both fore and back casts) as the loop unfolds).  But in truth that is more apparent than real.  Yes, the unfurling loop is PULLING against the line attached to the high static rod tip, holding that motionless line up there, but that pull is unchanging as more and more line is stretched between,.......and then stops altogether as the loop extends into the front taper and leader.  Inevitably, the line starts to drop.  You save it by starting the pull in the opposite direction, and that pull is initially somewhat upward from the level the line has dropped to.  The height of the line being carried will be re-established as it passes over the caster's hand....and the whole magic starts again on the other side.  You see it all the time on your foreward false cast, especially with an on-shoulder wind. That fly is coming AT your face, then (hopefully) zooms upward.  Or, conversely, the fly catches in your hat or shoulder from the back cast.

 

The LOW point in the sequence, which has to fit in that shallow "casting space"..... you don't want it to hit the water, is about half way between you and the end of the line, both fore and aft.

 

OK, so where am I going with this?  There are only three ways to reduce that inevitable line drop.  The first is minor....aim your backcast slightly higher so that the drop, terminated by your pull in the opposite direction, is ended at a higher point.  Six inches matters.  The second is huge.....increase the line speed of your cast.  Drop (due to gravity is time dependent, the pull of gravity being constant).  faster cycle....less drop.  Punch it.  It takes more strength and energy to throw a faster, flatter cast.

 

The last factor is probably going to be somewhat controversial....on this forum.  Since TIME out there as the loop is unfurling. and for the (now dropping fast) terminal leader and fly to negotiate the distance until it starts to rise approaching you....IS.....the critical factor (more time = more drop), then consider using A LINE DESIGN THAT REQUIRES LESS "CARRY"....until the shoot.  In other words....a shorter, as opposed to longer, head design.

 

The ultimate standard for a "short" head these days (some youngsters think it is new and radical) is the old, once traditional and ONLY head length of 30'.  Think about it.  You are wading out there to your armpits trying to reach that school of breaking fish.  You can't even let your arms down without getting your elbows wet.  Do you want to be false casting (carrying) 30' of line before you can pull the trigger on a double haul and perfectly efficient shoot......or do you want to be false casting (carrying) 42 feet of line.....without anything hitting the water behind you.....before you can pull the trigger for a truly efficient shoot?

 

To those that can do it.....and then have the arm strength and perfect technique/efficiency to do it hours at a time......I salute them.  Been there.  Don't need it.  Don't want it.  I suggest that my point is valid:  for someone at a skill level to be ASKING this question in the first place, an intermediate caster, wading deep, their casting imperfections and drop will fit more easily into that casting depth.....with a shorter head. 

 

Oh, and finally, keep your leader on the shorter side and your fly less, or even UN weighted.  A long leader and heavy clouser IS going to hit the water.....or YOU.

  

Excellent breakdown on that, the adjustments involving line speed help greatly but as you said, do require more energy to execute.

 

Something I'll add is the stripping basket I'm using.  Its about twice the  deapth of an orvis and handles more line coiled nicely to shoot further with less line in the air, a shorter headed line would probably be a great match.  I use airflo ridge lines and I try avoiding experimentation these days but I can see where a shorter head could excel for the purpose of deep wading.  I'd say I get about 50 plus feet in waist high water consistently, really nice breakdown thank you.

Edited by DeepBlue85

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Posted (edited)

The extra energy required for a nice speedy sock it to them back cast is not going to hurt an adult or even junior Male, Also it’s a fun thing to do.

Where I am slightly at odds with Peter is the ten foot rod. Guys struggling with this problem will struggle even more with a ten foot stick, especially in higher line weights 8 wt and up. They will likely have their  wrists open up thanks to the extra leverage against them. This will equate to larger loops and a fly line likely to slap the water fore and aft. Harder to accelerate a longer rod. Technique is almost everything but in these situations attitude is very important to. It is no good having this quaint notion that fly fishing is a gentle art. In written words the back cast especially is ,Cap pow. Aggression with form is massive.

You have to want this. Limp wristers need not apply.

Much as I detest short heads this is a situation where they do have purpose for some. But we still have to move them quickly and with intent. Deep wading I love it. If you can still wear a line tray then you aint wading really deep and there should be no issues.

LOL.

 

 

Mike
 

PS. Think about the fly you are using if you are going for high energy back casts as if  you have a big eyed heavy Clouser on you will make the situation worse. At the end of a flat back cast delivered with high energy it’s going to kick and go downwards.

Now if the Caster has extreme Skill they can maybe able to throw an oval cast still. We can try drift to that will help iron out a bumpy back cast. Drift don’t work if back cast is weak.

Edited by Mike Oliver

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Posted (edited)

20 hours ago, Peter Patricelli said:

aim your backcast slightly higher so that the drop, terminated by your pull in the opposite direction, is ended at a higher point.  Six inches matters. 

  

 

Last night I made conscious effort to adjust my back cast In this way and was shocked at the impact this small detail had.  This was it, and I thought how obvious it was after the first cast.  It did a few things for me, it re-aligned my entire stroke and corrected what may have been some unconcious arc leaking into my cadence when prior, I had been working harder to keep my line off the water the more line I had out.  Another thing was I found I had to worry less about creating a ton of line speed just for keeping the fly off the water which helped controll line kick, but when I really got hauling, the line speed translated to way better distance vs height off the water alone.  Finally, because I essentially needed to use weighted flys, any line kick on my back cast had more room avoiding contact with the water and also gave me some time to reposition my forward cast at an upward angle, resulting in distance and some nice tight loops.  I found also I could start my haul slightly later in the stroke applying more force, it generated quite a bit of power in the rod and shot my line hard off the reel a few times.  If anything, casting in deep water exposed flaws in my cast that maybe had gone undetected in more conventional situations, when I normaly wouldnt wade chest deep with a flyrod, the position of fish in the area gave me no choice and ultimately resulted in a learning experience I bellieve will translate to the rest of my fly fishing.  

 

Its unbelievable and satisfying to see how one minor adjustment can correct or assist in almost every other aspect of the cast.  Thank you once again for that great advice. 

 

 

 

Edited by DeepBlue85

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What an awesome eye opening discussion. What an incredible sport this is. Never get tired of learning and trying to get better always. Thanks all around !

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