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Old 06-03-2012, 11:51 AM
wjc wjc is offline
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Default Re: Casting Into Thin Air


Very good post!

Back in the day when time passed slowly, fish were plentiful, fly fishermen scarce, and personal responsibilities were few, I spent a whole lot of time in a tent or hammock next to prime rivers, ponds and lakes. But spent even more standing in cold water waving a bamboo stick in my hand.

One of the techniques I developed for trout that seemed to be asleep in a lie was to immitate a "hatch" of spinners landing on the surface. What I would do is cast so that only the fly, and as little leader as possible would land on the water, then I would go into another backcast immediately and do it again. I would not leave the fly on the water long enough for hardly any tippet (and no fly line at all) to land.

I would cast repeatedly like this just within the fish's viewing zone but far enough away that the fly couldn't be scrutinized closely and was a bit too far away for the fish to leave his lie and go for it. Eventually, I'd move the fly right on the fringe of his estimated feeding area and then into it. This technique sometimes actually worked, and smaller fish would often take the fly in the air before it landed once it got within range.

I was describing this technique to a very accomplished and well-known fly fisherman and casting instructor not many years ago and he said " you mean a series of "tuck casts"." I had no idea anyone else did it, much less there was an actual name for the technique.

What I would do is hold the rod very high and cast with a slightly downward trajectory. As the loop unrolls, I would do a quick "pullback" with the rod followed immediately by a forward "drift" following the line with the rod tip. The pullback causes the fly to roll over at 90 degrees to the line in mid-air and land on the water before either the line or the leader. The forward drift was an easy method for me to add control to the speed of the turnover. EDIT And > very importantly< gets the rod tip into position for the next effective backcast (following the pullback which places the rod too vertical for an easy, controlled backcast).

At that time, I was using the old SA AirCell line which had the least density of any line on the market at the time, and consequently the most wind resistance. I don’t know if they’ve changed the formula or not, but it can be done with any line. Part of the trick to make this really work well was to balance the hook wire size (and consequently its weight) with the hackle wind resistance so the fly would land before the tippet.

It is a very fun way to cast as well as sharpen up your timing, play with loop diameter and trajectories, and fine tune the amount of force you use on the cast, pullback and so on.

Since I discovered the name for it, I’ve done some searches and found a very good video of what happens in that cast. It is a casting video and the cast comes at 1:17 in the video and again at about 1:24. He is doing it at a distance using a pretty dense floating line with very tight loops, so the amount of force he is using is more that what would be required in most river fishing scenarios where I used to use it. But you can easily see that, had he wanted to, he could have gone immediately into another backcast before much leader had landed.

The caster is an immensely talented fly caster and this is the best casting video I’ve seen as well as one with superb videography for those of you who haven’t seen it. It is well worth watching even if you don't fly cast for its artistry. It has been put up on this board before and likely this won't be the last time.

Replay the 1:17 cast several time while looking at the caster (if you can force yourself not to watch the line) and you will see the pullback I spoke of. You can also stop the video and will eventually see it as well if you try it enough.

Sorry for the long post.

__________________ Cheers, Jim

Last edited by wjc; 06-03-2012 at 12:14 PM. Reason: RED - self explanatory
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