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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 02-18-2009, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Normal casting distance for a 5 weight

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Originally Posted by peregrines View Post
Tbacala-

Whereabouts are you? There should be some water around even if it doesn't hold trout.

It sounds like your casting is pretty good. If you can, follow up on Big Cliff's suggestion and "fish" some moving water around you. Just make sure it's legal, and the stream isn't closed for the season. Try picking out targets, casting some dries to seams in current, casting in front of and behind rocks etc. and trying to get a good drift by mending line. You'll notice that the longer the cast, the more likely the line will be going across different current speeds, making it harder to get a good drift--- one of the reasons that 20' casts catch so many fish-- it's much easier to control 20' of line on moving water than 60', and waaaay easier than 90'.

You can also try throwing some nymphs and bouncing them along the bottom, and casting and retrieving weighted flies like woolly buggers. See if you can upstream cast and mend line so you can feel them ticking along the bottom as you follow them with your rod tip. Cast at an angle across and downstream and let it swing below you in the current. It'll give you a good feel for what it'll be like on a trout stream, and you may even pick up some panfish or bass which will be pretty cool.

Practicing on a stream will also help in other ways-- for one thing it'll introduce you to trees on your backcast, and teach you to look behind you. You can also work on a "roll cast" for times when you don't have any room behind you- it's a hard cast to practice on land since it relies on the fly line's resistance to the water to load the rod.

Mark
Better description of how to do it here. Thanks to Peregrines for the detail and pointing out that "seasons" must be observed in some places. Easy to forget about here in Texico.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2009, 11:04 PM
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Thanks for the information that all of you have shared. There isn't any moving water in my area so any practice that I do on the water is on ponds and still rivers. However, most of my practice is of the backyard variety. Since learning that my casting distance is "respectable", I've really been concentrating on accuracy in the 30-45 foot range. Of course, during every practice session, I work on long cast at least a few times.

I've "discovered" that accuracy requires every bit as much attention to timing as does distance casting. Overall, I think I've begun to turn the corner and can usually put my fly (actually a piece of red ribbon) very close to target most of the time.

I do practice such things as mending, s-casts (wiggle casts), and curve casts but can't say that I've mastered them. Curve casts in particular are very rarely done well...that is especially true for curve casts to the right.

It is obvious to me that technique if the key to good casting, no matter what the distance is or what type of cast is being attempted. With that in mind, I am still at a point where I have to concentrate on every aspect of every cast in order to get it right. I'm looking forward to the day that my technique will be ingrained to the point that it becomes automatic.
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:29 AM
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Default Re: Normal casting distance for a 5 weight

I like casting long.

Watching Steve Rajeff put it out there 121+' with one of his new G Loomis 5 wt. rods gets me psyshed up for fishing! I generally measure the value of 5 wt. and 6 wt. rods by the amount of backing that I can see at the end of a cast. On snow (we've had way too much of that this year!), on grass (wishful thinking in mid-February) and on the water (just a couple of more weeks for me - yes, I am really ready); it's all the same. And I think I'll always be that way. I know that it really doesn't make me a better fisherman, it just alters the way that I fish.

Everyone fishes for their own reasons. Some like the hunt, some the techinical challenge, some the commaraderie of their fishing buddies, some the solitude, some the environmental beauty; fortunately, there's almost an endless list of good reasons to go fishing. But for most, it's a blend of multiple reasons; a single reason being more important on one day and another being more important on the next.

I agree with the other posters that most stream or river-caught fish are landed in the <45' range. This is the range where you have the most control over the fly line; the best feel for what the fish is doing, the best rod tip control, the best ability to sense what's happening to your fly underwater (if fishing wets or nypmhs) or on top (if fishing dries), etc. I fish a lot of freestone streams and a 45' cast will generally get me to the other side in short order. So, that's fine for me; for that purpose.

But, I don't fish across. I always fish the diagonals and that's where the extra distance; some might call it the "ego feet", can help. You never know exactly where you're going to see a rise. But, once I see one I always want to get to it as quickly as I can and 45-60' isn't always going to get the job done.

A lot of posters have commented that accuracy is more important than distance and I would agree with that; up to a point. It's true that, at least in my case, accuracy becomes more of a challenge as the casting distance lengthens. But this does not mean that distance casting and accuracy are mutually exclusive; it simply means that you have to work harder and practice casting more in order to be able to incorporate accuracy into your long distance casting. If you watch Rajeff casting 121+' on Frank's link to the 2009 Best of the West competition, you'll note that he's not only putting the fly line out there a great distance (with SA's Sharkskin), he's also putting it out there in pretty much the same narrow corridor on all 3 casts; perhaps within a 5 ft. "tube" measured from side to side. That's pretty good accuracy at that distance! So, it can be done. Difficult, yes, and I certainly can't come anywhere near that kind of accuracy at 100+', but I'm working on it!

I agree with some of the other posters who have pointed out that on salt, the ability to cast long is a definite plus. If you can sight a school of bonefish at 100+ feet and drop the fly into their path, then, in my experience, you stand a much better chance of a hook-up than you do if you have to wait for the school to get within 45 ft. of you.

And I also agee that being able to cast long helps a lot when the wind pipes up. It's not a conincidence that tight loops and casting long go hand in hand. Wind or no wind, if you want to get the line way out there, you're gong to need a tight loop and you're going to have to let the rod do the work. I've seen very few people who can muscle a line out over 70-80' with an open loop.

So, from my standpoint, there's no downside to becoming good at casting long. And after reading back over the above points, it may actually make me a better fisherman. Time and the tally will tell.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Normal casting distance for a 5 weight

We've had the pleasure to watch the finals for the BOTW for quite a while now.
Steve Rejeff, Rick Hartman, Jim Gunderson & Lance Egan (local casting heros) along with quite a few friends that make the finals. The interesting thing is which rods are chosen. It's mainly the Sage TCR or Loomis in the past, now it's the TCX and I'll be willing to bet the Eastfork for most of the competition. (Fast rods for long distances)
Steve is an amazing caster- like Pocono said, not only can he chuck the line out, but his accuracy is phenomenal. If anyone is in SLC on Sunday for the finals it's a real treat to watch these guys. Completely different casting style than conventional fly fishing for accuracy. To qualify, you have to throw at least 80'. It's real easy to cast that distance for me- until you have a couple hundred people (mostly fly fishers) watching every move you make. It's a real experience.
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: Normal casting distance for a 5 weight

Mojo,

If you're competing on Sunday, then good luck!

I remember about a year ago I was working with Allan Johnson on casting accuracy and distance (Allan is a former ACA casting champion). He had me so focused on the target that for a minute, all there was was the target.

We were at a small pond; several people had milled around to watch the two of us casting. The edge of the pond; where the targets were set up was covered with goose feathers and poop (I know, not a particularly enticing visual, but overall, it was fine for me). So, when you looked out over the lawn, it was easy to see the feather and the other stuff; in other words, it didn't look very smooth and it was far from homogenous.

About half way into casting at targets 30, 35, 40 45 and 50 feet away, all of a sudden the ground changed color on me. Seriously. I was casting to a pink hula hoop target and the lawn went to a blue-green, competely homogenous color and the only thing in it was that pink ring! I stopped, looked at Allan and said: "you'll never guess what just happened to me!" He smiled and said: "It happens all the time when you're concentrating." You simply blank out everything else and all there is, is the target.

So, if you are competing; then good luck concentrating. If you can get there, the crowd will disappear and your distance casting will be as good as it can be.

Na-nu, Na-nu!
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:27 PM
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Default Re: Normal casting distance for a 5 weight

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Originally Posted by Pocono View Post
So, if you are competing; then good luck concentrating. If you can get there, the crowd will disappear and your distance casting will be as good as it can be.

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It looks like you've come a long way, Pocono!
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Another take on that focusing is when everything in the cast is so automatic that it just happens and all else around you doesn't matter. Doesn't matter that is until you break off a fly and have to retie and your fingers turn to Jello!
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: Normal casting distance for a 5 weight

Jackster,

Thanks for keeping tabs on that. Yes, I've discovered that casting long and accurately is a journey, not a destination. Once you can get the line out there a good distance, everything else is an incremental improvement; and the increments never end. Which, to be truthful, keeps it challenging and probably makes it more fun in the long run.

I'm working on what you said, but I'm far from there yet.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:49 AM
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Default Re: Normal casting distance for a 5 weight

Pocono, now it seems i hit a series of walls. Just can't seem to get that extra 5' consistently or get rid of that slight 'swoop' on the back cast then all of a sudden, that hurdle is gone and another pops up!
That's what makes it fun and challenging I guess!
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