Am I Just Compensating for Underlying Problems?

viggysmalls

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I took my rod out to a nearby sports field the other morning to shake off some rust. It felt great to be casting again, but I still had some frustrating moments, and it reinforced the fact that I need to keep practicing. It was a brief carefree moment as later in the day I found out that fishing season in our area has been postponed for at least a month which has put me in a state of depression (not clinically speaking; i'll be ok).

My casts up to about 50 feet seemed dialed in. I was consistently within a few feet of the target, and, as far as I could tell, I was not struggling with tailing loops or too many other casting issues. 60 feet and beyond was a different story. Only about half of my casts could even be considered a moderate success, and many were wildly inaccurate, often with the leader bunching up and falling well short of the target.

I found myself focusing on minute details of my form, and getting frustrated when that often led to worse outcomes. As I sometimes do with a gold club, at one point I decided to say screw the over-analytics, clear your mind, and focus only on hitting target and not what my body was doing. Although it didn't fix everything, it helped a lot, and I was able to make much better casts up to about 70 feet; still not terribly consistent, but it helped.

When trying to understand what I may have been doing differently, one thing that seemed to be happening was that the rod tip was not always following a completely straight line back and forth. I was not dropping the rod-tip (i.e. it was still staying on a relatively level horizontal plane), but on my back cast I found myself ever-so-slightly pushing the tip away from me.

I guess my question is, does that sound normal? Part of me thinks this is just a way of compensating for tailing and collapsing loops.

Any other bits of advice would certainly be appreciated. Although perhaps this is something I can only really fix with an instructor who can watch me in-person.

Sorry for the long post! And thanks to anyone who made it this far!
 

silver creek

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I took my rod out to a nearby sports field the other morning to shake off some rust. It felt great to be casting again, but I still had some frustrating moments, and it reinforced the fact that I need to keep practicing. It was a brief carefree moment as later in the day I found out that fishing season in our area has been postponed for at least a month which has put me in a state of depression (not clinically speaking; i'll be ok).

My casts up to about 50 feet seemed dialed in. I was consistently within a few feet of the target, and, as far as I could tell, I was not struggling with tailing loops or too many other casting issues. 60 feet and beyond was a different story. Only about half of my casts could even be considered a moderate success, and many were wildly inaccurate, often with the leader bunching up and falling well short of the target.

I found myself focusing on minute details of my form, and getting frustrated when that often led to worse outcomes. As I sometimes do with a gold club, at one point I decided to say screw the over-analytics, clear your mind, and focus only on hitting target and not what my body was doing. Although it didn't fix everything, it helped a lot, and I was able to make much better casts up to about 70 feet; still not terribly consistent, but it helped.

When trying to understand what I may have been doing differently, one thing that seemed to be happening was that the rod tip was not always following a completely straight line back and forth. I was not dropping the rod-tip (i.e. it was still staying on a relatively level horizontal plane), but on my back cast I found myself ever-so-slightly pushing the tip away from me.

I guess my question is, does that sound normal? Part of me thinks this is just a way of compensating for tailing and collapsing loops.

Any other bits of advice would certainly be appreciated. Although perhaps this is something I can only really fix with an instructor who can watch me in-person.

Sorry for the long post! And thanks to anyone who made it this far!
I am not sure what "on my back cast I found myself ever-so-slightly pushing the tip away from me" means. Can you describe this more clearly.

For example on my back cast I found myself ever-so-slightly pushing the tip away from me AFTER the stop could mean the PROPER move of a TRANSLATIONAL "rod drift" which leads to a longer forward rod stroke.

A video would be nice if you can provide one.

Here is are posts on drift and creep

https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/...ack-cast-pic-heavy-2.html?posted=1#post980020

https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/...ack-cast-pic-heavy-2.html?posted=1#post980192
 

fishing hobo

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Sounds like a tracking issue. Your back cast and forward cast should be the polar opposite ie 180 degrees. I found that by having even mild deviation of the tip in the back cast followed by a foreard cast less than180degrees in the opposite dirction casued the line to curve in the distal end of the line. Go to a football pitch to cast along the line.
 

trev

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I don't think I have ever seen a rod tip travel in a straight line, I also think that if it did, the fly would hit the tiptop every time, I'm probably wrong though and just don't know what straight line means.
However if anyone is to analyze your cast it has to be by observation and video lets both you and the experts see what you are doing rather than what you suspect you may be doing.
 

Ard

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If you read casting threads here then you know I don't try to diagnose things very often. That's because there are folks here way better at that than I, but..... Whenever they say "but" you know what's coming right?

Whenever I read a description like you wrote I think the same thing. I find myself wondering whether most of the casting / fishing you do falls within the 50 feet or less range. If that's the case and you have trained your muscles, timing, every aspect of the cast for that range it will be hard to add an additional 10 or 15 foot of line into the cast. There's the additional weight of the line as well as a much needed change in timing and power in the casting motions.

A very large part of difficulties in long casts may be related to the number of false casts one needs to set up the forward cast. More false casts equals more back casts. This is where some problems arise, the back cast. We can see the forward casts as they near their terminal length and unfurl but this is not so with the back cast. You mention a loss of accuracy and leader landing in a pile..... Like I said, there are people here way better than I am at this but it sounds to me like a simple problem. Sight unseen I think you are starting the forward stroke before the back cast has fully unfurled. That will (notice I used an absolute term there) that will result in a loss of load - loss of power - loss of accuracy control and I'll stop at that.

When casting longer distances I learned to shoot long lengths of line into the first back cast - make one false forward cast to which I also shoot line - then only one more back cast with no line allowed to slip into this second false back cast. The forward cast is then released, whether or not you allow line to be added / shot into the forward cast is an in the moment decision we have to make.

How many false casts are you making?
 

silver creek

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I don't think I have ever seen a rod tip travel in a straight line, I also think that if it did, the fly would hit the tiptop every time, I'm probably wrong though and just don't know what straight line means.
However if anyone is to analyze your cast it has to be by observation and video lets both you and the experts see what you are doing rather than what you suspect you may be doing.
The illustration below is from Jason Borger's book on fly casting. It illustrates the late wrist "flick" just before the stop. This "flick' accelerates the rod tip AND moves it out of the fly lines SLP. The size of the flick determines the size of the loop.




Without the flick the fly line could hit the rod tip OR lead to a tailing loop. In fact, a way to cast a tailing loop is to purposely push the rod tip UP at the stop.


Orvis Guide to Better Fly Casting: A Problem-Solving Approach by Al Kyte

Orvis Guide to Better Fly Casting: A Problem-Solving Approach - Al Kyte - Google Books


Click on the link above and Go up to PG 24:





PG 26:



Here is a Tim Rajeff video which explains the wrist flick:

YouTube

Look at this second video by Tim Rajeff. He uses a wet paintbrush exercise at about 2:40 into the video below demonstrating flicking water off the paint brush with a wrist flick.

YouTube

You can read more in these posts:

http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/forum/stop-wrist-t46729.html?p=384634#post384634



 

dillon

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Can you double haul? I find it essential skill when casting for distance. It also allows me to shoot line, so I don’t have to carry so much line in the air.
 

viggysmalls

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Thanks for all the responses.

I am not sure what "on my back cast I found myself ever-so-slightly pushing the tip away from me" means. Can you describe this more clearly.
Silver- thanks for the info in your second post. I am somewhat familiar with the wrist flick component of a cast, but your post helped me better understand it and has given me something to look into further before my next casting session.

To try and describe what I was observing more clearly, it was not "drift" as I understand it. My forward cast was moving in (I think) a straight line to a stop, but then on the back cast the tip would follow a line that was curving slightly away from me, but still on the same horizontal plane. Think of the rod tip drawing a sort of half canoe shape that is cut right down the keel from stern to bow, with the keel line being my forward stroke and the back stroke following the starboard gunwale.


How many false casts are you making?
Ard- your advice is also well taken. And it is funny you should ask about my false casting. When I was "over-analyzing" my casts, I was making multiple false casts (often at least 3 and sometimes 4-5) and trying hard to make everything perfect. When I stopped over-thinking the cast and worried only about hitting the target, the number of false casts definitely dropped to only one or two, and with a bit more line shooting on the final forward stroke.
 

viggysmalls

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Can you double haul? I find it essential skill when casting for distance. It also allows me to shoot line, so I don’t have to carry so much line in the air.
This is probably another element to both the problem and solution. The short answer is yes. Athough not really necessary to achieve these distances, I can double haul consistently well for casts of about 50' and less, which is helpful in achieving higher line speed. With longer casts, I start to struggle a bit with my double haul. I find the double haul movement for a longer cast requires more precision, with a longer haul, and more line to manage and shoot, making the whole thing more difficult. Needless to say, I think this is also something to continue working on.
 

trev

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Doesn't maintaining the rod tip a straight line require moving the rod butt up through most of the stroke as the rod bends under loading at exactly the same rate as the bend shortens the rod?
Lowering it at the ends of each stroke as the rod lengthens?
I think all the casting instruction refers to wrist, hand and elbow tracking and presumes the rod to be straight and unflexing?
Several instructions I've read talk about maintaining the hand or elbow as on a shelf, which if the hand is moved level, should cause the rod tip to dip through most of the stroke.
Yet most often when I watch casting the rod tip travels in a pronounced arc as indeed the hand will if the elbow is held stationary. This arc becomes more pronounced as the stroke lengthens.
Tim Rajeff and his brother's stroke style seem almost at odds with each other. I don't watch many videos but this is possibly my favorite Rajeff video- YouTube
 

Ard

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Ard- your advice is also well taken. And it is funny you should ask about my false casting. When I was "over-analyzing" my casts, I was making multiple false casts (often at least 3 and sometimes 4-5) and trying hard to make everything perfect. When I stopped over-thinking the cast and worried only about hitting the target, the number of false casts definitely dropped to only one or two, and with a bit more line shooting on the final forward stroke.
I often stay out of these discussions for fear of providing an opinion which may be in direct conflict with that of others more knowledgeable on casting than I may be. Now it's time for another 'but', when an issue is described in the way yours was I seem to always think the same thought. With all the sources available in this time I believe people may over think their issues. I have been doing fly casting every year for 50 years, admittedly I pretty much sucked for the first ten but I eventually got things together. In those 40 years since the reformation I've had my struggles pretty much like many others have today. Chalk it up to a bad day, biorhythms off whatever........ Difference was that I had to sort things myself and because of that experience I have become opinionated to some extent.

Even now if I were to seek a change between a very controlled 50 foot delivery up to a 70 foot delivery there may be some glitches needing to be worked out before I can expect a good result. The single most important thing I learned when reforming myself as a caster was to look behind me at the back cast. To see it become totally straightened out and ........ to realize that I could feel a very perceivable tug or jolt in the rod that signals the terminal point of each back cast. It's that tug that helps me to adjust timing. Still it is limiting the false casts that allows simpler fishing I think. Back in the day we false cast a lot to ping the water out of / off our dry flies. Then came modern desiccants and the need to shake off the water was eliminated. I can say that that was a big help in my dry fly years :)
 

fishing hobo

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Thanks for all the responses.



Silver- thanks for the info in your second post. I am somewhat familiar with the wrist flick component of a cast, but your post helped me better understand it and has given me something to look into further before my next casting session.

To try and describe what I was observing more clearly, it was not "drift" as I understand it. My forward cast was moving in (I think) a straight line to a stop, but then on the back cast the tip would follow a line that was curving slightly away from me, but still on the same horizontal plane. Think of the rod tip drawing a sort of half canoe shape that is cut right down the keel from stern to bow, with the keel line being my forward stroke and the back stroke following the starboard gunwale.




Ard- your advice is also well taken. And it is funny you should ask about my false casting. When I was "over-analyzing" my casts, I was making multiple false casts (often at least 3 and sometimes 4-5) and trying hard to make everything perfect. When I stopped over-thinking the cast and worried only about hitting the target, the number of false casts definitely dropped to only one or two, and with a bit more line shooting on the final forward stroke.
What you describe is a tracking error. When I was practicing for the FFI exam I had that issue when practicing for 75ft. Not infrequently I got whipped by my fly line as it came forward and hooked to the right.
 

silver creek

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Silver- thanks for the info in your second post. I am somewhat familiar with the wrist flick component of a cast, but your post helped me better understand it and has given me something to look into further before my next casting session.

To try and describe what I was observing more clearly, it was not "drift" as I understand it. My forward cast was moving in (I think) a straight line to a stop, but then on the back cast the tip would follow a line that was curving slightly away from me, but still on the same horizontal plane. Think of the rod tip drawing a sort of half canoe shape that is cut right down the keel from stern to bow, with the keel line being my forward stroke and the back stroke following the starboard gunwale.
If I were to guess, I think you may have been looking at your backcast.

Looking at the backcast forces you to rotate your head to the side of your casting arm as you look back. This cause you to rotate your upper body as well and this will cause the rod tip tip to track in an arc. Looking from above, for a right handed caster, the rod tip will be an arc convex to the right. When you rotate back for the forward cast, the rod tip will follow the arc back forward and the rod tip at the stop will be traveling slightly toward the left.

Your forward stroke will NOT follow the keel. It will follow the starboard gunwale if you are rotating your head to look at your backcast because of the unconscious body rotation.

Basically, your forward casting stoke will around around slightly to the right (the starboard gunwale) and the fly will land slightly to the left. Because the forward stroke around slightly to the right; at the stop, the tip is arcing slightly from right to left.
 
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e caster

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There is proper way to look at your back cast - one that does not screw things up. It is not often taught, and it is a skill that takes effort get comfortable with. Competition distance casters do it; not all competition casters look at the their back casts, certainly not all the time. In general, most casters need not look. There is a time and place for it such as with a rear obstruction while fishing, and when distance casting: Timing & Trajectory.

Ok, enough yakking - here is the How-to:

Before casting:
1. Pick a rear target ahead of time.
2. Set stance that allows view of target when head is turned.

Casting - best to get in your groove with some simple false casting for a few strokes and then work on change:
3. Turn head first, observe target, then make casting stroke towards target < read that again > Turn head, observe target, then make casting stroke towards target. They are separate moves, linear so to speak, one then the other.

Pantomiming the moves sans rod, prior to casting is a worthwhile step in the process.

Craig
 
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e caster

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addendum:

I am not disagreeing with Silver. He described a fault that is quite common with those trying to advance.

CB
 
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dynaflow

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Ard said "to realize that I could feel a very perceivable tug or jolt in the rod that signals the terminal point of each back cast."
Also good to practice this using manageable backcasts and with your eyes shut.This heightens your engagement with the rod by excluding visual stimuli.
 

viggysmalls

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Thanks again for the replies. I will see if I can convince my S.O. to come with me the next time I go out and she can film (I can see her puzzled look now). That sounds like the best option to get some actual specific feedback (other than hiring a certified instructor, which I think would probably be the ultimate solution).

But there is still a lot of useful info here to consider as I continue to practice. I think putting more concentration into my back-cast is a good idea. Whether that be learning how to properly look at it, or focusing on "feeling the tug".

I also think what Silver has described is probably what I am experiencing, and as another said, I do think it is a type of tracking error.
 

Ard

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I always thought the saying "The tug is the drug" was stupid but I do believe that learning to feel that subtle tug or jolt as a back cast hits the terminus was useful.
 
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