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silver creek 06-22-2011 03:55 PM

Bending the wrist and tailing loops
In reading the Casting FAQ on Can I Bend My Wrist While Fly Casting?, I understand this statement:

"Wrist bending often contributes to wide, inefficient loops."

But I don't understand this one:

"Wrist bending often contributes to tailing loops."

Since a wide open loop is the opposite of a closed to tailing loop, how can the same fault "often" lead to opposite results? I tried to PM the author to ask but I could not, so I am posting here.

Ard 06-22-2011 04:06 PM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops

I believe that I bend my wrist when casting and there are no problems at all. You will develop casting styles for different situations and those styles will be the way you cast. I have light rods that I can cast while clamping a book against my body with my elbow. The entire cast is done using wrist and forearm, there are no tailing loops. I can make tight loop casts like this or open loop whichever I want. Listening to casting advice is a good thing to do when you are having difficulties but if you are satisfied with the presentations you are getting then I would work on what you've got and sharpen it from there. Some of the things I have read are like telling me that depending on which shoe I'm wearing when peddling my bike, that shoe will affect my speed. I am quite sure there is a cycling pro who will assure me that this is true. :shades:

Are you currently having a problem?


silver creek 06-22-2011 05:30 PM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops
I am not having any problem casting. I am having a problem understanding how bending the wrist "often" causes a tailing loop.

My understanding is that bending the wrist creates a "windshield" wiper effect with the rod tip going in a rounder arc, producing a more convex rod tip path, which causes more of an open loop. The only way I know that bending the wrist can "cause" a closed loop is if the caster bends the wrist on the backcast to produce an open loop directed downward on the backcast and then directs the forward cast without bending the wrist with a SLP forward and overhead to a normal stop.

Similarly, delaying the forward cast after a normal back cast can let the fly line fall below the rod tip path of the forward cast, causing a closed or tailing loop.

Both can cause a tailing loop because the low line position on the backcast starts the fly line from below the SLP of the forward cast. So the path of the trailing fly line crosses over the path of the standing line that is connected to the rod tip once the loop is formed by the stop.

However, a caster that flops the wrist on the backcast will almost always do the same on the forward cast. This leads to open loops on both the back and forward casts and not closed loops.

It seemed illogical to me to say that the same casting motion of breaking the wrist can "often" cause both open loops and closed loops which we know are the opposite of each other. We know that the most frequent cause of a closed loop is shocking (bending) the rod with a sudden application of acceleration and rather than too much wrist motion.

I am open to new ideas so when I don't understand a casting post, I wonder if I am missing something that I didn't know. Hence, I asked for an explanation of what I don't understand.

Ard 06-22-2011 05:41 PM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops
I guess that some things will just go without being understood. I control the loop size with the length of stroke and speed. I think if you get too caught up in the hair splitting on the casting subject people tend to become more of casters than fishermen. Being proficient at the cast is good but over focusing on the cast takes away time that could be better spent.

These are personal opinion and choices I write here and not aimed at you or anyone in particular. I don't have a video camera so I stay away from the deep water when it comes to discussing casting ability. Trying to diagram a cast using only words can become a dissertation.

wjc 06-22-2011 06:46 PM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops

I don't know what the author was thinking either, but all I can guess is this: that a lot of wrist in the backcast can result in a wide loop which doesn't ever straighten because the fly leg momentum is not directed backwards. If no forward cast were attempted, the line would fall in a pile cast.

But with an attempted forward cast after such a backcast, when most of the slack in the line is taken out, then the rod is shocked all at once from the load, the rod bends but the caster can't accelerate enough to keep it bent, so it starts unloading too soon - creating the concave tip path you mentioned and consequent tailing loop.

How common this is I don't know, since most people with windshield wiper backcasts have much the same for the forward cast. Jackster would know, as he has a lot of experience as a casting instructor.

The audience which that article was intended for was newcomers, so I think the author was trying to impress the importance of a stop without wrist movement.


Pocono 06-22-2011 07:25 PM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops
Hi Silver,

There's not a disconnect between the statement that wrist bend can cause open loops and the statement that wrist bend can cause tailing loops. Open loops don't prevent tailing loops; although they can cut down on them.

The mechanics of the casting stroke are what is important.

Wrist bend at the end of either the forward or back cast can, definitely, open up your loops, because the path that the rod tip is following is changing from both a forward and back perspective and an up and down perspective. It's the relative up and down perspective the gives you the open loop. Remember, the line will follow the rod tip; it goes where the rod tip points.

A tailing loop develops when two things happen; 1. the plane of the rod tip drops (gets lower; which a wrist bend at the end of your casting stroke will definitely do for you) and 2. you delay your casting stroke (you're late starting either your forward or back cast.). Both of these things can give you a tailing loop; but they usually happen together; you lower the plane of your rod tip and you're late on your casting stroke.

The right timing on your casting stroke can make up for a change in your rod tip height; because the momentum created by proper timing takes the tailing loop out of your stroke before it becomes a problem (you don't notice it). If you accelerate your stroke smoothly from the start to the end; speeding up as you go, tailing loops will very seldomly appear. If you accelerate abruptly (with a jerk) and maintain or decease the speed of your stroke as you proceed, you will find the tailing loop and the tangles that it creates with your leader/line.

An open loop is not the opposite of a tailing loop; they're two separate effects, both derived from the mechanics of your casting stroke.


mbphotos54 06-22-2011 09:06 PM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops
I have been reading all these tailing loop threads as I can, and taking it all in. I like that some of this group isnt wooried about having a perfect cast, but more concerned with fishing, My big thing I notice as some one very new to this( today was first day on water with hooked fly) and today I was able to get line out ok, and make decent presentations, but at the end of the session I had a big knot in the leader, now i think this was caused by a missed fish strike that ended up piling the line up, but If I can limit my getting knots and keep some distance, ill be happy with my less then movie quality cast. thanks fellas for the great info, Im soaking in as much as i can.

rangerrich99 06-22-2011 11:25 PM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops
As I am still learning to cast properly (I have only been flyfishing for about 3 years), take this with a grain of salt.

Last year I noticed while casting on a day when I wasn't catching a lot of fish that I got tailing loops when I stopped my forearm early in the forward stroke and then allowed my wrist to tip or rock forward. Since that day, I've made a concerted effort to eliminate this tipping motion in my shorter casts, and this seems to have cured my tailing loop issues in these situations.

This year, I finally learned to double haul with some consistency, but I've noticed more knots in my tippets again, consistently within 4-6 inches of the fly. After reading some of the posts in this thread, I believe that I probably am waiting too long on my back cast to start my forward cast, resulting in line drop and then tailing loops.

Of course, I've noticed that regardless of how I cast, my wrist bends to some degree on every cast. But I think after watching some videos, that at least for me, my problems with tailing loops come when I allow that tipping motion (the rod actually gets to horizontal of even pointed slightly downward at the end of a stroke).

As to opening a loop, I've been working on that as well, and I get my best results when I allow the rod tip to drift down about 6 inches, after my rod stop. My problem is, that this is an extra thing to do while double hauling; kind of like patting your head, rubbing your tummy, and crossing/uncrossing your toes all at the same time. needless to say, I don't always get it right.

wjc 06-23-2011 08:27 AM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops

After reading some of the posts in this thread, I believe that I probably am waiting too long on my back cast to start my forward cast
Ranger, I think it is probably more likely that you are starting the forward haul too soon. Try delaying it as long as possible on the forward cast, so that it doesn't end until just after the forward stop. And try stopping a little lower on your forward stroke.

You might have to pantomime that without a rod to overcome muscle memory.


---------- Post added at 07:27 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:33 AM ----------


A tailing loop develops when two things happen; 1. the plane of the rod tip drops (gets lower; which a wrist bend at the end of your casting stroke will definitely do for you) and 2. you delay your casting stroke (you're late starting either your forward or back cast.). Both of these things can give you a tailing loop; but they usually happen together; you lower the plane of your rod tip and you're late on your casting stroke.

Actually, that's not quite right. Let's say you are making a cast perfectly horizintal to the ground. If you were to draw a straight line above your head parallel with the ground, what the rod tip does beyond 2:30 and 10:30 has not that much to do with the cast - and will not in itself cause tailing loops.

In order to get a tailing loop the tip must both bend and unbend within that 2;30 -10;30 arc. It's path, if drawn in relation to the horizontal line would hold some water somewhere within it.

What actually causes the rod to bend and unbend within the casting arc can have a huge variety of causes.

Slack in the line is one of them. But what causes slack in the line?

1) Starting the forward cast too soon (particularly with a wide loop that has not unrolled) is one of them because that wide loop is the equivalent of slack. The more I think about it, this is probably one of the most common causes of tailing loops.

2) Starting the forward cast way too late after a super backcast (usually while shooting line into the backcast) with a very tight loop. After the line unrolls, it stretches and springs back, ( sometimes even after bending the rod back) creating slack in the line. This is not very common because people with that kind of backcast usually have the reverse timing down.

3) Or waiting too long before the forward cast on a high backcast and allowing a large sag to form in the line between the tip and the fly. This could also cause a tail and is the one whch you are probably referring to, Pocono, which I hadn't really thought about.

Other causes of tailing loops include, hauling too early, rotating the rod too fast and too early, and an abrupt application of force. These are usually lumped under the heading of "improper application of force'.

Using too short a casting arc, using a high trajectory back cast with a high trajectory forward cast.

The best way to get a good forward cast is to work on your backcast.


rangerrich99 06-24-2011 07:31 PM

Re: Bending the wrist and tailing loops
Thanks Jim, I'll give that a shot.

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