i'm always curious to know others thoughts on this matter....do you think salt, musky, or just heavy wt. guys have more issues with injuries or fishing longevity due to chucking heavy lines/flies all day? i know for me, i'm more tired after a day of attempting to throw bigger flies on my 6wt.....than if i would have just carried my 8wt. they are a breeze to cast, although the rod is slightly heavier.
I don't mind throwing mid sized flies on an 8 or 9wt all day long. Flies in the 5-7" range are easy enough to cast all day long with proper double hauls.
I think that when you start getting into the musky sized flies (12-16") though, you will deal with more fatigue. Over time, however, you'll develop the muscles that you use for casting those bigger flies. The other thing to realize is that with more practice with bigger flies, especially musky flies, you'll pick up on some little tricks that will help make casting easier. For instance, I have a much higher release point on my 10/11wt cast than what I do when I cast an 8 wt. The cast generally won't be as accurate, but if I'm blind casting anyways, it's not usually a big deal. When I need a more pinpoint cast to a specific undercut, rock, or log jam, my release point lowers.
I also avoid false casts with heavy lines/flies. A 450gr sink link and a 14" double beauford are not easy flies to cast. For me personally, most of my casts need not be any longer than 30-40'. That's a distance that with one good haul, I can place without much stress on my casting arm. Avoiding false casts is probably the #1 tip I would give to anyone that wants to throw big flies.
And as always, making sure your rods/lines are sized correctly for the situation is key. With the new technology in the rods today, stepping up one or two rod wt's isn't a big deal in terms of the weight of the rod. Maybe a few ounces? And just be realistic about the size of fly and line that you can handle at your skill level. Casting 400 or 450 gr sink lines and big flies takes lots of practice, and is frustrating. If you don't have a proper technique with a 5 wt, it will just show in an exaggerated way with a heavier rod.
I can't comment on tarpon or other salt applications though since I've never had a chance to do it. But most of those flies are smaller than the flies that I use, so I would assume my advice would be transferable, although more precision is definitely required.
I wear at least a wrist brace and often an elastic elbow sleeve when I fish big flies on heavy lines. 11 and 12wt .
It's automatic at this point as I've learned from past experience that while I can get away without for a single day, if I fish that way for 2 or more days straight, I'm in pain.
What I've seen repeatedly is injuries caused by switching suddenly from a 5 or six wt on brooks etc to intensive casting with a 12 wt. It's worse with age, obviously, but even young, strong, excellent casters can get very sore.
Case in point is one of nephews who's been fly fishing since 10 or 11 yrs old and working at a remote fly only fishing camp (trout) from age 15 through college graduation. He is about 235 and was in college on a football scholarship. He was easily casting bass poppers with an 8 wt 80 feet at age 14.
He came down to help me paint and catch some tarpon. The day following the first grueling 4 hour session of blind casting to locate fish, I caught him painting left-handed and started grinning. I'd seen him unconsciously massaging his right forearm earlier that morning and, of course, rode him a little about it. It wasn't from the fish he caught either because he reels right handed.
The backcast muscle and the elbow are the most common prolems I see. None of my friends will do as I suggest (3 minuted of isometrics twice a day right before eating, for a month before coming down here), and all of them wind up with burning forearms at best.
It's like any physical endeavor - if you don't exercise the muscles you need, expect problems when you "overdo" it.
As to casting big poppers or Dahlberg divers etc with a 6 wt, yes it's a lot more work than with an 8 wt. But casting even small flies in the intermidible wind with a 12 wt is also a lot of work.
been casting rods up to and including 12 wts. and have never had a problem. But I cast practice with my rods all year long+ fish them. I'm 58 now and still going strong all day casting. If you don't keep up with the movement of casting certain muscles wil get soft...Practice.....practice.....practice.
When I musky fish, I have started wearing a brace on both elbows after some very noticeable pain in them after a day of chucking half chickens. The casting elbow was no surprise to me, but my line hand elbow was. You do a lot of stripping and in the summer especially, you better have that fly moving fast.
I have found that after a day of throwing triple articulated Musky flys what hurts the most is my hands. The stripping hand especially. I will say that I don't truly cast these flys. I fling the chicken behind me, let it touch the water, and shoot it forward with a powerful haul. I can get 40 plus foot casts with less effort.