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Old 07-13-2010, 05:00 PM
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Default Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

I've been practicing in the yard on and off for a few weeks with my 6wt setup. I'm practicing by using 20 ft of line out of the tip, then moving to 30 ft. I notice a couple things that are happening in my cast:

1) I'm almost positive I'm putting way too much muscle into each half of the cast. 20' is pretty simple to move through the air with minimal effort, but 30' is requiring a lot of work to keep from collapsing. It seems like I'm "pushing" the rod through the air, elbow out from body, to get the line to move nicely. I think this pushing might be from fear of breaking the wrist, so I'm keeping it pretty much "braced" for lack of a better term. I notice that some casting methods use the wrist as a bit of a hinge to aid in accelerating to a stop.

2) When I transition from false casts to actually making the presentation, none of my working line coming out of the reel wants to be drawn through the guides, despite seemingly having a good stop. Also, even with the line pinched to the cork, I can't get a nice stretched-out line casted out. It just kind of flops down.

I'm going to switch from my super-cheap bass pro clearance sale line (bought in a little plastic bag twist tied for under 5 bucks) to a lightly used Cortland my dad sent me. I might just be having line problems, but I really think it's operator error.

So- how much line should I be working with in practice? I can't imagine slinging much more than 30' back behind me! Also, it seems like I've read practically every beginner article on the internet, but maybe there's some practice method or tip I'm missing? I can roll cast farther than I can overhead
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

I am far from an expert. But I noticed when I changed my line from the cheap stuff to a better line I was able to cast easier and get the line to shoot. I will let the Gurus handle the other issues.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

It is really difficult to try and diagnose casting problems online but I will agree with seajay. The last place to save money is the fly line, I always get the best they make, it will make your life a whole lot easier. That said you might want to take a look at Tim Landwehr's three casting videos on YouTube, he is an excellent instructor:

Larry
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

Everyone has their own style, I learned back when they said to hold a book or an egg under your arm while casting. It's all in the wrist, not the shoulder. How is your supply of books and eggs?
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

I, for one, have to respectfully disagree w/ mcnerney.... <<< different approaches>>> Personally I've never spent more than 35 or 40 bux for line--- I view the stuff as something that will get stepped on, nicked on rocks, caught in brush/ trees, etc.

I have no doubt that a nice line will be noticed by an accomplished caster, but for me-- well you get the point.....

At any rate, It sounds like you have a form issue to me-- no amount of snot, or oil, or grease will make a line shoot without proper form.

If you have the means, I'd say look into casting instructions-- No one here can tell you what the problem is-- but a casting instructor could get your cast sorted in no time.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwitt618 View Post
1) I'm almost positive I'm putting way too much muscle into each half of the cast. 20' is pretty simple to move through the air with minimal effort, but 30' is requiring a lot of work to keep from collapsing. It seems like I'm "pushing" the rod through the air, elbow out from body, to get the line to move nicely. I think this pushing might be from fear of breaking the wrist, so I'm keeping it pretty much "braced" for lack of a better term. I notice that some casting methods use the wrist as a bit of a hinge to aid in accelerating to a stop.
Interesting that you mentioned that. The shop casting instructor, Brett, and I taught a group casting clinic last Saturday morning. Like every clinic, the best student was the woman. Her loops were tighter than everyone else's because she concentrated on technique rather than power. She was able to get a single haul cast with a 45 foot shoot after the clinic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwitt618 View Post
2) When I transition from false casts to actually making the presentation, none of my working line coming out of the reel wants to be drawn through the guides, despite seemingly having a good stop. Also, even with the line pinched to the cork, I can't get a nice stretched-out line casted out. It just kind of flops down.
It is hard to tell you what is wrong without seeing what you are doing. I'm going to play the percentages here. My best guess is that you are breaking your wrist on the backcast. That will cost you a lot of line speed. Your stop point on your backcast should have your casting arm pointing straight up without your wrist breaking. The line will flex the rod back to load it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwitt618 View Post
I'm going to switch from my super-cheap bass pro clearance sale line (bought in a little plastic bag twist tied for under 5 bucks) to a lightly used Cortland my dad sent me. I might just be having line problems, but I really think it's operator error.
It's operator error.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwitt618 View Post
So- how much line should I be working with in practice? I can't imagine slinging much more than 30' back behind me! Also, it seems like I've read practically every beginner article on the internet, but maybe there's some practice method or tip I'm missing? I can roll cast farther than I can overhead
You shouldn't need to work with 30 feet of line unless you plan on shooting it.

All the internet articles and videos are nice resources. But they can't compare to having proper instruction. It helps to have someone there to critique your technique. My shop instructor, Brett, and I get together once and awhile and watch each other cast. We always find something to knit pick on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raindogt View Post
At any rate, It sounds like you have a form issue to me-- no amount of snot, or oil, or grease will make a line shoot without proper form.

If you have the means, I'd say look into casting instructions-- No one here can tell you what the problem is-- but a casting instructor could get your cast sorted in no time.
How about that. Raindogt and I are in agreement.

MP
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwitt618 View Post
I've been practicing in the yard on and off for a few weeks with my 6wt setup. I'm practicing by using 20 ft of line out of the tip, then moving to 30 ft. I notice a couple things that are happening in my cast:

1) I'm almost positive I'm putting way too much muscle into each half of the cast. 20' is pretty simple to move through the air with minimal effort, but 30' is requiring a lot of work to keep from collapsing. It seems like I'm "pushing" the rod through the air, elbow out from body, to get the line to move nicely. I think this pushing might be from fear of breaking the wrist, so I'm keeping it pretty much "braced" for lack of a better term. I notice that some casting methods use the wrist as a bit of a hinge to aid in accelerating to a stop.

2) When I transition from false casts to actually making the presentation, none of my working line coming out of the reel wants to be drawn through the guides, despite seemingly having a good stop. Also, even with the line pinched to the cork, I can't get a nice stretched-out line casted out. It just kind of flops down.

I'm going to switch from my super-cheap bass pro clearance sale line (bought in a little plastic bag twist tied for under 5 bucks) to a lightly used Cortland my dad sent me. I might just be having line problems, but I really think it's operator error.

So- how much line should I be working with in practice? I can't imagine slinging much more than 30' back behind me! Also, it seems like I've read practically every beginner article on the internet, but maybe there's some practice method or tip I'm missing? I can roll cast farther than I can overhead

Where do you live? It sounds from your equipment that you dont have alot of extra money to spend on this hobby. Nothing wrong with that, I am in the same boat. Tell us what city you are in, and we might be able to give you some reference for free casting instruction/ fly club with people that will mentor you.

I was taught to flyfish by my dad, so I was a real duffer. Male beginners tend to cast like they are throwing a baseball, or as simon Gawesworth says a bear standing on his hind legs and clawing at something.

The problem with your practicing is: Imperfect practice leads to imperfection.
Most people have way too long of a casting stroke for what they need, for 20 -30 feet go back to about 1 on the clock face, and go forward to about 11.
Smoothly accelerate and briskly STOP! You might want to say STOP!!

With the help of the right person, you should easily be able to cast 35 feet without hauling. With a double haul you should easily be able to cast 60 feet.
So what city and state do you live in?

---------- Post added at 09:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:21 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoscaPescador View Post
Interesting that you mentioned that. The shop casting instructor, Brett, and I taught a group casting clinic last Saturday morning. Like every clinic, the best student was the woman. Her loops were tighter than everyone else's because she concentrated on technique rather than power. She was able to get a single haul cast with a 45 foot shoot after the clinic.



It is hard to tell you what is wrong without seeing what you are doing. I'm going to play the percentages here. My best guess is that you are breaking your wrist on the backcast. That will cost you a lot of line speed. Your stop point on your backcast should have your casting arm pointing straight up without your wrist breaking. The line will flex the rod back to load it up.



It's operator error.



You shouldn't need to work with 30 feet of line unless you plan on shooting it.

All the internet articles and videos are nice resources. But they can't compare to having proper instruction. It helps to have someone there to critique your technique. My shop instructor, Brett, and I get together once and awhile and watch each other cast. We always find something to knit pick on.



How about that. Raindogt and I are in agreement.

MP
Absolutely. Beginners will do two things,
1) practice bad form and reinforce that bad form into muscle memory
2) Spend a ton of money on fly lines and new rods hoping that that new Orvis Helios will magically enable them to cast better.
You can give someone with bad form, a big wallup of a casting arc a $800 fly rod and $100 fly line, and MAYBE they will cast 5 to 10 feet more.
Or they could spend $120 for 4 1 hour lessons, and cast 30 feet farther with their $100 rod and $20 fly line.

Spend $30 -$40 a hour and get professional lessons. Or if you think that is too much money (even tho I have never had a paid for lesson, when I think back at how much I paid on gear hoping it would improve my cast, or "practicing" casting only reinforcing my bad techniques, it is quite the bargain)
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

Larry,

Thanks for putting up that video, it is a very good one for beginning fly casters. Mel Krieger's videos are also very good.

Hardyreels,

With all respect, because I know you are a good caster, I think this advice is the worst you could possibly give to someone new to casting:
Quote:
It's all in the wrist, not the shoulder
As the fellow in the video above said,
Quote:
It's all in the forearm, not the wrist.
By that, he is talking about the arm movement only, not the rest of the principles involving the cast. But the basic forearm movement and stop are the principle building blocks for the cast.

Wrist snap will come into the picture later - after the caster has learned the fundamentals and has started to develop his own style. Almost any wrist movement whatsoever in new casters - especially if using the thumb on top grip - will result in collapsed backcasts or no loop on the backcast at all.

One thing I would suggest to you Jwitt, is to strap the rod butt to your forearm with a rag or velcro or something and to use a stroke like you are trying to flick paint off a paint brush or to throw water out of a cup behind you on an upward trajectory.

Cheers,
Jim

Last edited by wjc; 07-14-2010 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

Thanks for all the advice and discussion!

I'm very near St Louis, MO in Belleville, IL. I became keenly interested in fly fishing after canoeing 36 miles of the North Fork of the White River in southern MO in June. Beautiful river that showed less recreational pressure than any of the other Ozark rivers I've canoed. I saw a big trout holding behind a rock, and I knew then that I had to come back and catch him. The vegetarians on the trip even said they'd try some fresh trout next time Research told me that sections of the NF are red and blue ribbon trout areas, and the outfitter told me their Rainbow population has been self-sustaining since the 1960's.

I fished the White a decade ago with my dad, using eggs, but I like tricking fish with man-made stuff. He's in TX now, so he sent me his reel, fly box, and a couple other odds and ends to get me started. He's restoring his old bamboo rod, but you know how those projects can take a long time, so I grabbed a 6wt Hobbs Creek from bass pro.

~~~


After reading a few comments here last evening, I went out to the yard. Here are my findings:

1) I could tell the difference in feel between my super-cheap line and his Cortland 333. I suddenly started 'cracking the whip' again with the 333 for some reason. I was also able to get a straighter line forward in the grass for some reason. That being said, performance difference was minimal.

2) When I stretched my line out to clean it, I took my caliper to it to make sure it was installed properly on the reel, and found the WF section where it should be (it was unmarked and coiled in its baggie when I got it)

3) I experimented with the wrist a bit. I'd seen different approaches to the wrist in youtube clips, so I used mine as a "hinge" of sorts at the ends of casting strokes. It seemed to improve my forard casts' "stretching out" a bit, but landed my backcast in the grass.

4) For the reason cited in #3, I've been "pushing" the rod forward and back to keep the line in the air. This is very tiring, and I know I don't need to muscle the rod like that.



So it really sounds like pro instruction is in order.

And yes, I'm fairly strapped for cash, so spending it in the right manner is important. Hey, at least I can't try to throw money at the problem!
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: Beginner ?'s - too much muscle in cast

Hi jwitt618,

As has been stated it is hard to help with out seeing you cast. That is why lessons are so useful. Here are my thoughts based on your comments.

1. With only 20 ' of line out your are probably not loading the rod correctly. This will make a difference as you progress. It limits how much energy you can transfer to the fly line.

2. I think you are moving the rod too fast and doing a constant pressure cast with no acceleration and abrupt stop. Your loops are probably wide open and with the long line out it just falls to the ground at the end of your cast.

3. To get more energy transfered to the fly line you must make the cast with an accelerated stroke and abrupt stop. This will tighten your loop and will assist the unrolling of the loop and transferring energy to the leader. When you get the acceleration and abrupt stop working you will see a loop forming in the fly line and unrolling.

When I talk about acceleration and abrupt stop I don't mean it is a powerful stroke. If you watch the video you will note the acceleration and abrupt stop is not very noticeable. But you can see the nice loops forming and this is what I think you are missing in your cast. If you are not getting loops as I suspect, you need to concentrate on the acceleration and abrupt stop aspect of your cast.

You can practice this anytime you are sitting and not doing anything. Using just your arm and hand in position like you are making a cast. Start a slow acceleration and then speed up and make an abrupt stop. Do this forward and reward and make sure you can see you hand accelerating towards the end of the movement and then the abrupt stop. You will be surprised how this practice will help with your casting.

If you see yourself in any of this information then it might help you. If I am way off then I am sorry and this probably won't help.

Frank
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