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Old 04-06-2012, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

Thanks all again.
Wjc, thanks especially for the suggestion about standing sideways. I found it difficult to assess my backcast because whenever I tried to focus on it I seemed to change my posture or something and within a couple of casts things would break down. I'm going to have to reread the rest of your post and try out your suggestions.
Mojo, 60 ft would be more than great. Just to be sure though, this is taking into consideration the 7 1/2 length too?
Well, I've got to go, I want to get out there and try out a hybrid of your recommendations while they're fresh in mind

Phil,
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

Phil,

It looks like your forum experience is working out well. I do hope you will stay with us as you grow into fly fishing, many of our most active members used the experience of the members here to learn the ropes. It's good to see the thread gather such good replies.

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Old 04-07-2012, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

There are two things needed to cast the line, note I say cast not throw, which I get the impression you are doing. One is casting arc which is the angular change of the rod during the stroke and the other is stroke length which is the distance the hand moves during the stroke. Most beginners just use casting arc using pure wrist, they do not have any stroke length. Try casting without using any wrist. Side casting is the best way to get the feel for this because it allows you to see what is happening back and front. Cast from the shoulder. You are trying to ping nice loops off the rod tip. Stop THE HAND abruptly at each end of the stroke. This allows the rod to do the only thing it can do on it's own...straighten. Once you have the feel for what you are trying to do bring the rod up a few degrees at a time and gradually turn your body 'towards the water' always working on tight loops back and front. When it all goes wrong (and it will) go back to the side and start again.

I would imagine the rod you are using is quite a soft action so will need a longer stroke length but not necassarily a wider casting arc. Be smooth.

Mike
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

^Good point from Mike.

The old "10 to 2 o'clock" analogy has ruined a lot of people's casting. The line will travel in a path shaped like the path that the tip of your rod travels in. You don't want the line going in an arc. You want the line to travel in a line up and back, and then another line going forward.

Think about the rod tip. Make it go up and back, and then make it go forward. The line will follow, and your arm and body will find the right movements to make that happen.
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Old 04-08-2012, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

Soft glass rods are easily overpowered whichh means they bend more than they need to for the length of line being cast which is going to cause the opposite of the desired result. You mentioned "When I do try and muscle the line out further...". Whenever you look at a good caster, the first thing you notice is that it looks effortless. Adding more muscle, especially to a soft rod, will cause too much bend and result in tailing loops and knots in your leader. Search Youtube for "wind knots when fly casting - cause and correction" and you can see an example of overpowering the rod causing problems.

Try not to limit your casting stroke by thinking of a clock face. You make a short stroke for a short cast and a long stroke for a long cast. Each differing length of line requires a stroke of a different length so how could they all go from 10-2? Stand with your casting side foot slightly back so that when you turn your head to watch your backcast when practicing, you will not move the rod off the straight line path. Stand with your feet together, freeze at the end of your back cast and turn back to look at it and you will see the rod tip move. Do the same with your foot back and it will not. If you do not watch your back cast when practicing, you will never know if you should repeat that stroke because it was good or change it because it was bad. Most bad forward casts are partly due to a poor back cast.

In order to throw a tight loop, which you will need to achieve distance, the rod tip has to maintain a straight line path. Here is an easy way to check to see if your rod tip is following that straight line. I assure you it is not if you are bending your wrist.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

Quote:
Originally Posted by txshane View Post
^Good point from Mike.

The old "10 to 2 o'clock" analogy has ruined a lot of people's casting. The line will travel in a path shaped like the path that the tip of your rod travels in. You don't want the line going in an arc. You want the line to travel in a line up and back, and then another line going forward.

Think about the rod tip. Make it go up and back, and then make it go forward. The line will follow, and your arm and body will find the right movements to make that happen.
I don't believe that a bit.
With a glass rod or really any rod, you can learn 10 to 2. It's not saying you're arcing the rod, you're stopping your hand at two points that almost everybody can relate to. 10 and 2. The rod tip will go beyond those points, and the caster will learn timing and the flyline will load the rod. It's a starting point in learning and not getting into bad habits. As a caster get more experience and time under his/her belt, the casting evolves. With a 10 to 2, using glass, 40' easy.
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

As I stated above, 10-2 is only for a certain length of line. You cannot tell me that during a 20ft cast and a 40ft cast the rod travels the same distance and makes a proper loop. You could do both from 10-2 but you would have to add extra power to the 40ft stroke and cause a closed loop. Different length casts have to have different length strokes. Therefore it cannot possibly be the same "time" on a clock face. Clocks or for telling the time, not for casting. If he wants to become a better caster, he will forget about times on a clock and move the rod in a straight line path of the distance required to unroll the length of line he is casting. What time is it if he casts with his rod at 45 degrees or totally sidearm. The rod tip does not care what direction it is pointing as long as the 5 principles of casting are being followed.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:59 PM
 
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

Using the face of a clock is a common way to illustrate casting but it is also very misleading for the beginner.

The two major ways the angler moves the rod is by rotation of the rod butt and by the stroke path. Lets define what those are. Rod butt rotation is what the clock face is. If we say 10 to 2, that is 4 hours or 1/3 of the 360 degrees of the clock face or 120 degrees of rod butt rotation. Way too much in my opinion for a beginner cast. Since beginners tend to have poor stops and floppy wrists, that 120 degrees become 160 or 180 and we get the windshield wiper cast.

The other factor is the stroke path. That is the movement of the rod butt handle through space. Rather than just rotating the rod around the butt cap, the rod can move back and forth, up and down, right and left. Whereas the rod butt rotation occurs in a two dimensional space with the base of a rod fixed at a point, the stroke path is the movement of the rod through a 3 dimensional space.

To illustrate the difference, look at the video at the Sexy Loops that uses a rod with the rod butt fixed to a table top. The rod is like a flexible clock hand rotating on a clock face. This is exactly the image we give to novice casters. But notice that when the rod butt is fixed, because of the shortening of the chord length of the fly rod as is flexes, every cast MUST be a tailing loop.

Click the image to open in full size.

One of the purposes of the stroke path is to move the rod in a convex path, to correct of the concave path of the rod tip as the the rod shortens due to its flex.

Why does the stroke of the rod naturally go in a convex path. Fortunately the joints we use to cast with naturally move the hand in a convex path. We cast with the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and sometimes with body rotation. Allow you arm to hang down loose and swing it - the hand swings in a convex arc. Bend your arm at the elbow and do a karate chop - your hand goes in a convex arc. Extend your fingers and flex your wrist in any direction - your finger tips go in an arc. Stick your arms out to the sides lie helicopter blades and rotate your body - your hand go in a convex arc. In fact, almost every hitting sport like tennis, golf, baseball moves the arms in an arc and so does throwing a baseball. So convex movements are natural and concave are unnatural.

The problem with the clock face is that 10 - 2 (120 degrees) or even 10 - 1 (90 degrees) is too great a rod butt rotation. I once read a study on the optimum amount of rod butt rotation for a beginners cast and if I recall correctly it was well under 90 degrees. Since beginners tend to overdo the rod butt rotation, I use 10 -12 or (60 degrees). In fact, both Gary and Jason Borger have beginners pantomime by stopping the "rod" on their foreheads do they cannot go too far. This is to emphasize the stop point for the back cast.

Here is Jason Borger demonstrating the stop for the backcast:

Click the image to open in full size.

Here's Gary's audience at this year's Pasadena fly fishing show as he demonstrates the basic cast stop point. It is not the "L" for losers but the firm stop for a winning fly cast.

Click the image to open in full size.

So teaching rod butt rotation is "but" one part of the cast. The other is to teach a easily learned foundation stroke that will move the fly rod in an convex path to compensate for the fly rod shortening. That is for another time.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:00 AM
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

Excellent info
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:48 PM
 
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Default Re: Beginner: Different technique for slow rod?

When we extend the cast, we we change both the amount of rod butt rotation and we change the shape and length of the stroke path. From my previous post, it should be clear that the more power we put in to a cast, the deeper the rod will bend and the deeper the rod bends, the shorter the rod's chord length (effective rod length - the distance from the butt of the rod to the rod tip). So the rod tip actually comes closer to the casting hand as we flex the rod. So we need to modify the shape of the stroke path to keep the rod tip moving in a Straight Line Path (SLP). Hence the convex path.

For a longer path we know that the stoke length gets longer. We have shown that it must change it's shape. Finally, the delay between the forward and back cast gets longer. So a caster must master these 4 variables of rod butt rotation, stroke length, stroke shape, and timing to make a good cast. Add the variables of wind, and fly weights, fly resistance; and is it any wonder that fly casting is difficult to master. If we told a beginner all of this, very few would want to try.

The purpose of explaining all of this is to demonstrate that learning to cast on your own can be very, very challenging. So when a beginner says such and such is happening, it is unlikely that the bad cast is due to a single flaw. A lot of things have to come together for a good cast.
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