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The Fly Cast Discuss fly casting with the expert, ask for help, learn to cast farther, increase your accuracy, troubleshoot your cast.

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Old 09-25-2012, 08:51 PM
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Default Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

I'm sure this is probably a typical beginner flaw but I have trouble feeling the rod load in the back cast. I really can't detect that subtle tug so end up of either watching the line (which takes the eyes off the target) or having to guess on the timing. As a result, distance is severly compromised or I get the spaghetti mess on the water.

I'm using medium or medium-fast rods with Rio Grand line. My guide hooked on a heavy stonefly nymph as the lead fly on a recent trip which helped but I'm looking for any advice on getting the problem shored up. Problem is especially pronounced when casting back upstream after a drift.


I want to be able to blast a fly out there 45 feet and have the line land on the watrer straight as a laser beam with no curly-Q.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:19 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

Having no experience teaching casting whatsoever and being a beginner myself......this is the advice that I can offer. Pick up a copy of Joan Wulffs casting video. She does a fantastic job of explaining concepts and techniques.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:49 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

Most beginners have a tendancy to bend their wrist on the back cast which brings the rod horizontal to the ground. The further back the rod goes, the less you will feel the load.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:30 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

Try standing at an angle, so you can look back and see your backcast straighten.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:59 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

I wouldn't call it a beginner problem gents. I've had a fly rod in my hand a lot of years and sometimes I have a hard time with feeling that back cast load - which to me is the most important part of the cast because it's where I screw it up. It's timing and the use of a haul for me. It's also a function of how long it's been since I've cast a rod. I fished this past weekend for the first time in two months and my casts were all over the board. Some excellent, some tailing loops, some lousy. Practice is key if you can. I don't practice casting at all, and when I have long periods between fishing, my casting suffers tremendously.

Cheers,
Mike.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

The feel comes with time. There could be several issues that are causing you to not have it yet, but two that I struggled with at first stand out in my mind.

1. As someone said, a lot of newbies don't come to that solid stop on the back and forward casts. When this happens, you lose energy in the line and as a result, you may not feel that load on your back cast.

My solution to this was to deliberately try and shorten my casting stroke to a level that felt almost silly. When I went back and looked, the stroke wasn't short...it was right.

2. Timing - I struggled with this for a long time and still occasionally do. If you are anticipating the load too soon and as a result coming forward too soon, you will not feel the load.

My solution to this was to watch the tip of the rod. I didn't worry about actually watching the line itself, just the tip of the rod. This allowed me to understand what was happening to the rod and line in relation to what I was/wasn't feeling in my hand.

These are just things that really helped me when I was figuring this whole thing out. Hopefully they will help you as well!
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:18 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

There's no shame in watching your back cast. Here's a world champion at work:
Once you get the feel of a good back cast down pat you can more easily get away with not watching your back cast. I feel it becomes not only a 'feel' for the back cast but also a timing thing only engrained through repeated success.

If your fore and back cast are 180 degrees apart from each other as they should be, your target should be within your grasp.

Other hints not mentioned...
* Line speed. Generally you have to have that line moving quick enough to bend or load the rod to feel that load. As mentioned, it won't happen with a soft, dull or nonexistent stop.
* The more line you can carry effectively the more load you can get on the rod without relying on speed... you still have to stop the rod though!
* Short cast, short stroke. Long cast, longer stroke.
* Try uplining a line weight or two until you get the feel.
* Some rods make it real challenging to feel anything at all really. They are either rated way off of their optimum line weight or they are limp noodles or so full of resin or crappy lay-ups that they just don't transmit much feel at all.

Enjoy the voyage.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

A lot of good advice has already been posted, let me add a comment regarding
" spagetti" on the water at the end of your casts.
You MIGHT be lowering the rod tip too soon.
Stop the forward cast sooner, while the rod tip is still in the air, rather than lowering it
to finish the cast. As the line, leader straighten hold the higher tip position until they are on the water then finish the cast by slowly lowering the tip. IMHO, there is no right or wrong way to cast, keep working on it until you are comfortable and confident in yours. Then you can focus on a more important aspect, putting the fly where the fish are. Good luck, relax and enjoy it.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

Lots of good advice there.

All I can offer is the famous quote from Norman Macleans father who said of fly fishing, "It is an art that is performed on a four-count rhythm between ten and two o'clock."

If you are conscious of the four count rhythm your cast will improve. Its like a dance count, one, two- pause-three, four. One, two, rod at 1:00 pause, three four cast out. my cast improved tremendously when I made the count in my head with appropriate pause between counts.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: Having trouble feeling the load in the backcast

Quote:
Originally Posted by brookfieldangler View Post

1. As someone said, a lot of newbies don't come to that solid stop on the back and forward casts. When this happens, you lose energy in the line and as a result, you may not feel that load on your back cast.
+ 1 on the above.

To load a rod you need a HARD stop. Jason and Gary Borger make this point by bringing their hand up to their forehead when pantomiming the backcast. They "bonk" their forehead to emphasize the hard stop at the proper rod angle.

It also prevents the backward flop of the wrist. So a hard stop and the proper rod angle are key to loading the rod and preventing a windshield wiper back cast.

Backcast stop.

Click the image to open in full size.

Forward cast stop.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here is the basic cast, it is a short smooth stroke ending in a hard stop.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here are two exercises to force a hard stop at the proper rod angle

Stand with your back to a wall and use a stick as your rod, you will force a hard stop and prevent the floppy wrist on the back cast.

Then use a paint brush dipped in water as your "rod" and move 3 feet from a wall. Try to flick that water back so it hits the wall behind you just above the level of your head. That will also force a hard stop at the proper angle.

For the forward stop, use the paint brush to flick the water at the wall at about eye level.
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Last edited by silver creek; 09-26-2012 at 05:01 PM.
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