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Old 10-11-2017, 04:44 PM
silver creek silver creek is offline
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Default Fly Casting Creep and Drift

I was replying to a fly casting post another BB and part of the discussion was about rod creep and rod drift during the cast. It occurred to me that there has not been a comprehensive discussion of rod creep and rod drift since wjc raised the issue back in 2011. Creep and drift have always been tangential to other posts.

Here is wjc's original post is below. Some of the images are blank since photobucket blew up so those of you that posted images, I hope you have moved them to other sites and will update your posts so we can see them.


I think it is time to revisit the issue. I will start by noting that when we cast fly line, what is most important is what the rod tip does. We always need to remember that regardless of how we choose to cast, whether by the elbow forward method taught to me by Gary Borger or the low elbow method that Lefty Kreh teaches, what moves and stops the fly line is the rod tip.

We move the rod tip in TWO ways - TRANSLATION and ROTATION. The stroke path of our casting hand during and after the cast is translation. The flexing and un-flexing of our wrist during and after the cast is rotation. ROTATION changes the ANGLE of the rod on the clock face, and therefore, moves the rod tip much more than the rod butt. TRANSLATION MOVES the entire fly rod the same distance forward or backward. I was privileged to help edit Gary's next book, The Perfect Cast I. In it Gary shows wrist casting - flicking the wrist back and forth moves the rod tip mainly by rotation. When we make longer casts we add the forearm (elbow joint) and the whole arm (shoulder joint) to mainly translate (move) the rod along a stroke path. Obviously, bending and unbend the elbow and rotating the whole arn around the shoulder joint also adds some rotation as well.

Click the image to open in full size.

The reason I cover translation and rotation and the parts the our joints play in casting is that BOTH rod CREEP and rod DRIFT are movements that we can perform by TRANSLATION and ROTATION. If you read the introductory post by wjc above, he shows a "perfect example of creep" but the example is limited to only rotation. Creep can be only rotation, only translation or both rotation and translation. In other words, the same ways we move the rod tip to cast are the same ways we move the rod tip to CREEP or to DRIFT. So remember BOTH translation and rotation and not just one or the other.

Now that we have our definitions down pat, what is creep and what is drift?

Rod creep is the unintentional movement of the rod tip TOWARD the direction of THE NEXT CAST PRIOR to the actual casting motion. What rod creep does is to decrease the available rod stroke distance for the next cast. Since the caster loses stroke distance, he then increases acceleration too early in the rod stroke and this leads to a tailing loop. This is called a "creep and jab." The rod creep leads to "jabbing" the rod which leads to the tailing loop.

Performance Fly Casting: An Illustrated Guide - Jon B. Cave - Google Books

Click the image to open in full size.

How to fly Fish:: Avoiding Rod Creep - YouTube

For long casts, one can do the opposite of creep and that is to drift the rod after the rod stop of the preceding cast. Drift is the movement of the fly rod tip TOWARD the direction of THE PRECEDING CAST. Note that creep and drift are in opposite directions. Creep is in the direction of the next cast and drift is in the direction of the preceding cast. So DRIFT INCREASES the available rod stroke distance of the next cast.

Just as we can creep by translation and rotation, we can drift by translation and rotation. We can translate by maintaining the same rod angle and moving the casting hand in the direction of the last cast. I think this is the most common way to drift the rod. Rotational drift is angling the fly rod so the rod tip moves toward the direction of the previous cast. Expert fly casters drift using both techniques of translation and rotation. The technique of angular drifting is most obvious when you see Lefty Kreh cast.

Note the two illustrations of rod drift below, and reexamine that illustration of rod creep above and you will see that there has been both translation and rotational rod creep.

Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

Below is a slow motion elbow forward cast by Cris Korich. Cris Korich is an ACA Hall of Fame member, 34 times on All American Team, co-holder of Men's Dry Fly Accuracy Record (score 100), co-holder of Men's Bass Bug Accuracy (score 100) and co-holder of Men's 1/4 oz Plug Accuracy Record (score 100).

The slow motion cast below by Chris also is an excellent example of drifting the rod on the backcast to gain a greater forward rod stroke. Watch very closely at 4 seconds and 27 seconds for the stop on the backcast. At 5 seconds and 28 seconds, Chris DRIFTS the fly rod with both translation (moving the hand, and therefore the rod back) and rotation (tilting the rod tip back).

Fly Casting Jedi - Slow motion 50 ft. fly casting technique of Chris Korich - YouTube

For more reading, here are a few articles on Rod Creep and Rod Drift.

Bruce Richards "Tailing Loops and Wind Knots" - Rod Creep http://www.flyfishersinternational.o...20Richards.pdf

Al Kyte - "Catch My Drift" http://www.flyfishersinternational.o....Al%20Kyte.pdf


"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

Last edited by silver creek; 10-11-2017 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:34 AM
toothybugs toothybugs is offline
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Default Re: Fly Casting Creep and Drift

Now that will most certainly prove useful.
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:32 PM
pnc pnc is offline
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Default Re: Fly Casting Creep and Drift

Thread title made me think........ new sneaky cast for
Hope I get .........(had to think), creep & drift right.
Creep can be back or forward. Moving rod in opposite direction before line unrolls. An extreme case like starting forward cast before loop lf backcast is behind you. Will land pile of lin on or near you. Same with backcast when false casting. To soon disaster.
On the edge but still to soon. And fly changing direction almost instantly will sound like crack of whip. Believe directional change is faster than speed of sound. Hence the crack.
Slowing down stroke timing. Even all. owing some drift to backcast should help.
I find the word drift misleading. Maybe a better way of describing what is called creep. Drift or following line is to a degree part of every cast or false cast. I use it and slow start for longer last look around. But line should not be falling on backcast. To long before forward cast. Instant tailing problem. So the amount of drift will vary from one to another. But is somewhat necessary to unroll line.
On the surface creep is no good and some degree of drift is. But as with drift being used. Creep can be used in an effective manor also. Opposite that of drift. I've grabed at line , hauled on it, about everything to put on brakes in middle of cast. Imparting creep before cast is made is easier. Slow start to cast. accelerating to stop. Any pause in motion neglects prior as rod starts to unload. Then loads again to throw line. Shortening stroke & load. And line thrown. As could be wanted at any moment.
Anything other than fast tip action will probably need line haul on second part of stroke. A little more skill involved. But still easy to shorten cast while in the middle of it.

.......... pc
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Old 10-14-2017, 03:12 AM
Hirdy Hirdy is offline
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Default Re: Fly Casting Creep and Drift


Remember that creep is:
  1. Unintentional
  2. Slow enough not to propel the line, and
  3. Almost always a fault
  4. Can occur at any time prior to the initiation of the cast, not just when the line is unrolling.

If you intentionally reduce the size of the casting arc, that's not classified as creep. If you mean it, it's not creep (unless you're showing someone what creep is and why it's a bad thing.) Starting the cast early and inducing a whip-crack is not creep. It's a timing error. Creep occurs before the cast is initiated.

There are very few situations where creep is beneficial. The fact that it's unintentional by definition means it's usually a fault. The time I might use a creeping action is after a strong back cast into a tail wind (which itself required a long casting arc) but the subsequent forward cast needs less power due the tail wind. I need to reduce the casting arc prior to that forward stroke or I'll get a wide loop.

The term drift is not misleading. It has a definition in fly casting and it's already known. It is no more misleading than terms like "casting arc", "rotation" or "translation". That you are already using drift on most casts doesn't mean you need a different term for it. It just means you now have a name for what you're doing.

Drift is:
  1. Almost always intentional
  2. Desriable when aiming to increase casting distance
  3. a good cure for creep.

One of the best ways to prevent creep in a student is to show them drift and ask them to do it.

In advanced casters, drift is used to increase the size of the casting stroke, which is required to cast longer lines. One situation where I use it is after shooting line into my back cast (which required a relatively small casting arc) and the next forward cast is suddenly carrying much more line. Drift is required to provide the required larger casting arc.

Good casters drift often.

Bad casters creep often.

IFFF Certified Casting Instructor

(Formerly known as Kalgrm)
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Old 10-15-2017, 12:25 AM
shadowwalker shadowwalker is online now
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Default Re: Fly Casting Creep and Drift

Creep and drift, it must be Halloween I recognize the language, goblins creep and ghosties drift. I just can't resist getting a chuckle of the way people try to verbalize unnecessary misinterpretations of conceptions they themselves have yet to grasp the root causation of. Teach to your students intellect, they brought all the understanding they will need, if you grasp and present the information correctly. Learn to define by understanding, teach to the person, not the equipment. Stop telling the rod what not to do, it can't hear you. Rods will not "Do the work for you." they do not "Speed up and stop." Rods have no idea weather "Power snaps" are a breakfast cereal or a rock and roll group. Ive never had a student express to me they had "bad habits" relating to fly rod performance more than once. There are no "bad habits", just gaps in their understand, habits are a choice, you know better, but choose to do any way. No one ever came to me and needed my help to make fly roding harder and less comfortable. When you begin to understand the importance when helping to advance ones interest and understanding to learn of them to hear with your eyes and see with your ears. With each new opportunity, If you are not first the student, you are never as effective the teacher.
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