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Old 07-16-2010, 07:10 PM
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Default Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

Hello folks.

Newbie to the site here, and a newbie to fly fishing. Been "Spinning" since I was old enough to hold a rod, but this fly business is new to me.

I've been browsing the forum and different sites, reading as much as I can absord and watching as many videos as I can, but there's still one thing I haven't seen answered.

When making the transition from backward motion to forward, is it just a timing thing where you just "learn" when to start forward, or is it a "Feel" thing where you feel the line, when all the way back, start to load the rod, then accelerate forward to the "quick stop"??

This is the thing I'm having the most problem with. There are times I can easily get the line to lay softly on the water and a second or so later see where the fly lands. There are other times when I feel like I have a leg for a right arm, and have done everything from catching a trophy branch behind me, to hooking myself in the back of my vest, to having the line land in a nice neat coil 10 ft in front of me.

I keep trying to tell myself "smoother, no need for over-powering the rod", kind of like a good golf swing, but it's how my brain is supposed to know when to start the forward cast.

For what it's worth, I practice on the front lawn for an hour with a fly that has the barb cut off, then move to a still pond 5 minutes from my house (which has some lovely 12" Brookies and a few wonderful German Browns) to put my newly practiced skills to the test. I have a mark put on the line at 22 ft, so with the 8 ft leader, I'm not trying to do too much at once and pretend I can lay the fly by that lilly pad 50 ft out.

Any hints or links would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in adbance.

Jamie.
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Old 07-16-2010, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

Hi, Jamie, welcome to the forum. There'll undoubtedly be more expert voices responding on your question, but as someone who is not a particularly-skilled fly-caster but has viewed a bunch of good videos and taken FFF fly-casting lessons through the Beginner and Intermediate levels, with a Double Haul class thrown in for good measure, perhaps I can relate a bit better to an ambitious beginner like yourself.

Before you "wait" for the "tug" you get on the back-cast, be actually looking at your back cast. A common problem of beginners is beginning the forward cast before the back cast has had time to roll out and load the rod. An easier way to practice this is by horizontal false-casting in front of your open stance; that gives you an opportunity to actually see what's happening in a comfortable stance (which looking back at a back-cast often is not).

Hope that helps, until the better casters chime in.
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

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Originally Posted by Fly2Fish View Post

Before you "wait" for the "tug" you get on the back-cast, be actually looking at your back cast. A common problem of beginners is beginning the forward cast before the back cast has had time to roll out and load the rod. An easier way to practice this is by horizontal false-casting in front of your open stance; that gives you an opportunity to actually see what's happening in a comfortable stance (which looking back at a back-cast often is not).
X2. This is precisely what you want to do. The feel will come. I'm not a particularly skilled caster and it helps me to occasionally look back to be sure the line's unfurling. I tend to get quick and this is a simple way to correct.
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

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Originally Posted by Fly2Fish View Post
SNIP<<< An easier way to practice this is by horizontal false-casting in front of your open stance; that gives you an opportunity to actually see what's happening in a comfortable stance (which looking back at a back-cast often is not).>>>>SNIP
Thanks for your responses and advice.

One question on the above, when you say "Horizontal", you mean back and forth left to right, I'll assume?

I know looking at the back-cast isn't comfortable, but I thought maybe that was just me, and when I do look back, I tend to end up with the fly wayyyyyyyy right on the forward cast.

Thanks again.

Jamie.
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

Good advice from fly2fish. I would also click the link "The Five Essentials" on this page, read them and watch the animations.

For some reason, it has become anathema to watch the backcast for the majority of fly fishermen - though even a casual look at world-class distance casting competitions will reveal that - without a single exception - every one watches his backcast once he has the carry he wants, before the final forward cast.

Steve Rajeff, probably the best distance fly caster in the world, won his first American all-round championship at age 16 in 1972 and was still looking at his backcasts when he won the last big fly-distance only championship in Denver in 2009. He had also won the American Casting Association's All Around National Championship for 34 consecutive years.

Incidentally, a few years back, at a promotional show, Steve bet Freddy Couples he could cast a golf ball further than Freddie could drive one - one try each. Fredie drove a ball a measured 333 yards. Steve then cast a golf ball with his surf rod - a measured 337 yards.

My point is, that if the world's best fly casters watch their backcasts without exception when competing for money, prizes and fame, it must help them more than "feel". When fishing, or casting in accuracy events, none of them watch their backcasts of course.

But I would strongly reccommend that newcomers to fly casting do as fly2fish has recommended.

Cheers,
Jim
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:00 AM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

Yes, when making short - most trout casts - you want your back cast to completely unroll, especially if you're casting two flies and/or an indicator.

When making long casts - many saltwater casts - you want to begin your forward cast before the cast unrolls. The fly line will be in the shape of a sideways candy cane.

To do this you'll have to look behind you, without rotating your shoulders farther back, and watch your fly line unroll. This is what all tournament casters do.

If you don't do this the fly line will start to fall with slack in it and you'll probably end up hitting yourself with the fly. Even worse, when the fly unrolls it might bounce and add a lot of slack to the line.

Randy
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

Quote:
when I do look back, I tend to end up with the fly wayyyyyyyy right on the forward cast.
Stand with your feet parallel to a straight line (sidewalk edge, out of bounds line on a ball field if one is close by) and cast along that line (across the front of your body) with the rod held horizontal (parallel to the ground). This will make it easy to see what you are doing without having your shoulders or neck screw up your tracking.

If there is a real line there, it will keep your line straight from backcast to forward cast (180 degrees). Breaking the 180 degree rule results in either tails or wide loops.

Randy,
What you are talking about is called "slide loading" and something that most people who double haul and fish a lot usually wind up doing instinctively with time. But I don't think it is a good idea to get newcomers, who have yet to develop a backcast, thinking about starting the forward cast earlier. Most start it way too early as it is. I think the first step is learning to get the backcast to straighten out fully. Once they accomplish that, they will be able to feel the rod loading on the backcast. The next step is to anticipate that loading and advance the timing on the forward cast.

But I think you are getting too advanced for a newcomer.

Cheers,
Jim

Last edited by wjc; 07-18-2010 at 09:45 AM. Reason: cross posting- additions in red
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

Jamie welcome to the forum. Although it may be hard to believe now as you're learning, it will become second nature after a while part feel part experience

It might help a bit to open up your stance a bit so you can actually see the line straighten out on the backcast.

If you hear crack the whip sounds it means you're not waiting long enough for the line to straighten out.

And generally the more line you're carrying in the air, the longer you have to wait for the backcast to straighten out behind you.

Try to resist the urge to start cheating forward while your line straightens out behind you--- it will shorten the stroke that's under load with the fly line and your cast may run out of gas (the line might pile up in front of you). If you notice this happens a lot try actually drifting back just a bit with your arm after your sudden stop on the backcast. In many cases this helps you get a smooth acceleration with the rod under load from the fly line on the forward stroke.

Again, as Lefty Kreh says, don't try to "rip your underwear" trying to power your way to distance. Try instead to work on your timing--- a good inspiration is watching Joan Wulff cast she's a woman in her 80's, maybe 100 lbs soaking wet and she casts effortlessly just using timing, smooth acceleration and sudden stops.

Good luck!
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

Yes, you're right about beginning casting, though when I started saltwater fly fishing I had to go through a lot of grief, and getting hit by the fly, before I figured out what was going on.

Randy
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Question Re: Transition from Back to Forward cast

Randy,

I remember those days.

Cheers,
Jim
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