The Ugly Cast;

Ard

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I was reading a post from a guy who was expressing concern about the cast collapsing a bit as it reached the terminus. His post ask whether people thought the running line was part of the problem. In his case he was throwing a Skagit with mono running line behind it. Contrary to what you may think I'm familiar with Skagit heads and casting and have not ever thought the running line had anything to do with whether I made a good cast or a poor one. Of course if it gets tangled that will stop the action but otherwise they all seem to fly.

The poster mentioned that his tip and leader fell sometimes in a pile and he felt this was poor presentation.

Generally my comments on topics such as this are not overly popular but here goes. It has already been ask but there was no answer as of yet. How far or long of a cast are we talking about here?

Many years ago I made shooting heads and fired them off with flat mono running line. Flat because it had less memory than standard lines. It was a nightmare to manage and that fad wore out in 2 seasons. I use integrated Spey lines with fused vinyl coated running lines following the heads. Several of these lines are rather short head types like the Super Scandi 47 foot heads I've gotten from Steve G. which are 600 grain lines. With a line like that on a 13'6" Sage One rod I can comfortably fish at distances between 60 and 80 feet while getting good turn over and having some level of control over the floating line. Longer casts are possible but when using weighted tube flies and Z-12 on the head the effort must be dialed up and turnover may suffer. With proper management of the running line it is possible to shoot out as much as 25 or 30 feet behind the heads. All things considered when I figure rod length, leader length, head length and running line I'd say I reach out pretty far.

Regarding turnover; unless you are fishing dry flies I have never allowed the fact that some casts are not as pretty as others to be a bother to me. In essence I have acquiesced to the point that when fishing wet flies like tubes or any steelhead / salmon fly having the fly and leader land in a heap can be beneficial. Beneficial how one may ask? A benefit in that as the line begins drifting on the current soon after landing the fly is not under tension, not being pulled along by the natural arc that forms in the line between the fisher and point of impact of the fly. During that short interval of time between my fly landing and the line exerting tension on it due to the arc my fly has gained valuable time in which to sink.

Think of this perhaps, unless you were to hold the rod tip down so that it touches the bottom there is always a difference in elevation between the tip and the bottom. Your fly, sink tip and line will be in a constant quest to rise to the same elevation as the rod tip which is the anchor point of that line. The arc pulled into the line acts as the elevator and the fly slowly climbs through the water until it reaches whatever height is obtainable factoring the amount of weight we have at the very tip of the line.

Does that make sense? Hoping some are seeing what I've tried to describe; lets return to those casts that don't turn all the way out like the ones on videos. More depth regardless of what head, what running line you use is almost always a good thing. Many people who have fished with me may have heard me say that "if it lands in the river it's a good cast". That's how I fish, some of the nicest fish I've ever caught hit a fly delivered by a cast that for all intent was ugly. My affinity for heads between 45 and 55 feet is related to my need to feel in control so I'm willing to sacrifice some things including 110 foot casts for more control over the fly.

Regarding the truly ugly cast; I believe one of the worst habits a fly caster can develop whether dry fly or streamer fishing is to be so bothered by a cast that lands badly that you immediately rip it back up to try again. On dry fly water this seems common sense to let it drift far away from where you intended before picking it up. I'm presuming that you have cast to where you expected a result so let it float away from that spot before doing anything. When throwing streamers the only time I would say you can safely rip a cast right up and try again would be in very choppy water conditions. Here we're thinking that the surface is already so rough that a little more disturbance can't do too much harm. Otherwise I think it's a bad thing.

Today's fly fisher & Spey casters can view videos, so many beautiful casts that you may think they are all perfect except your own. Remember that those videos are edited down to the presentation and if they are about casting then only the cream of the crop make the cut. We can't all be like Jack LaLane and we won't always make great casts. While you must be able to cast in order to fish please don't become so focused on the casting that you aren't fishing smart. If it lands in the river it's a good cast.
 

spm

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Well said, Ard. I regularly fish ugly casts. It wasn't always so. I would, as you say, rip it up immediately and recast it. After several fish caught on ugly casts, I finally saw the light.

Jack LaLane? Wow, you must be older than I thought.

Thanks,
steve
 

spm

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Hard to get anything past you Steve, remember the body suit he always wore?
Oh, yeah. I remember watching him on television. I was very young, of course. Remember his white German Shepherds?

steve
 

flav

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I was reading a post from a guy who was expressing concern about the cast collapsing a bit as it reached the terminus. His post ask whether people thought the running line was part of the problem. In his case he was throwing a Skagit with mono running line behind it. Contrary to what you may think I'm familiar with Skagit heads and casting and have not ever thought the running line had anything to do with whether I made a good cast or a poor one.
I definitely feel mono running line, especially if it's too light, can lead to casts that collapse. I've heard experts like Ed Ward mention it too. That's one of the reasons I prefer coated running lines, I sacrifice a little distance but I get casts that turn over and lay out straight because the heavier runner has more friction and holds the head back and it turns over more positively.
 

ddb

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The real ugly casts are the ones that tumble at your feet or go zinging off into the bracken. The others in question here are like the only women left at closing time. All in the mind of the perceiver.

ddb
 

cb

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I was reading a post from a guy who was expressing concern about the cast collapsing a bit as it reached the terminus. His post ask whether people thought the running line was part of the problem. In his case he was throwing a Skagit with mono running line behind it. Contrary to what you may think I'm familiar with Skagit heads and casting and have not ever thought the running line had anything to do with whether I made a good cast or a poor one. Of course if it gets tangled that will stop the action but otherwise they all seem to fly.

The poster mentioned that his tip and leader fell sometimes in a pile and he felt this was poor presentation.........
Great answer Ard. Ugly can be good! Look at curve casts - we desperately try to cast straight as beginners - then as we advance we learn how to curve them!! :)

Back to the question though - a poor turnover in the tip is, in my experience, is a classic sign of too much upper arm - i.e. a throwing action. This is such a common fault in double handed casting and even now after 30 years I find myself doing it! (of course other things can cause this too - but start there!)

Another clue to a throwing action is a "whoosh" if you can hear anything on your forward cast you are pushing! Silence is golden.

Cheers

Colin
 

Ard

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Oddly enough I just mentioned you yesterday while working with a new caster all day. What brought your name and location to the stage was as I talked about noises that indicate something amiss in the casting. Slurping alerting you that the anchor was stuck resulting in a dead cast...…. followed by 'Proofing' which is your que that the anchor was weak and the fly has whipped up off the water resulting in the very audible Poof sound and last but now least the loud Swish a rod can make when the stroke is way too long.

That third one is your "throwing" action. Too much travel of the rod and the sound is your notice of what's happening.

I focused on quiet and easy casting and the fellow understood what I was driving toward. By days end we had six different rods rigged and he was a quantum leap ahead of the early morning start.

Great point Colin.
 

proheli

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If it lands in the river it's a good cast.
As a fairly new flyfisherman, but one who has watched countless YouTube videos, listened to many many podcasts, and spent quite a few hours on fishing forums, all in an attempt to learn about fishing, I can tell you that sometimes little phrases people say come across like actual philosophy. I must admit, after all of that studying I can actually cast and get a drag free drift sometimes. :)

For my money you’ve got yourself a good piece of wisdom there, some sage advice, or at least a meaningdul bumper sticker. :)

I don’t remember who I got it from, but here was a surprisingly good piece of advice (I’m sure I could find the gentleman on YouTube) but regarding nymphing for trout, he said, 6 inches deeper in the water column is the difference between a bad day and a great day. A couple of times I’ve simply added a split shot and started catching fish when no one else was.

Anyway, I really like your phrase.
 
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duker

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"If it lands in the river it's a good cast." Amen, brother. You should trademark that and put it on stickers.

I think with spey casting especially the beginner always tries a bit too hard when it comes to the casting. We can't forget about the fishing--learning how to properly lay down the fly is a must, but you also have to know what to do once it's in the water. And you have to fish out all of your casts, good or bad. The fish can't tell what your cast looks like, and as better anglers than I have said, bad casts catch fish.

S.
 

Ard

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I have a few other original Ardster quotes that I never write on the internet for fear of one day finding that they've been coopted into someone's book. Couple are pretty good, just remember you heard that one here first buddy :)
 

Ard

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I have a few other original Ardster quotes that I never write on the internet for fear of one day finding that they've been coopted into someone's book. Couple are pretty good, just remember you heard that one here first buddy :)
 

runningfish

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I fish all my bad casts. I'll do what I can to fix it. Anything that can give the fly more water time even only for a half swing or for a dangling time.

I agree with Duker that beginners tend to try too hard in double hand. Youtube Kool Aid is heavenly flavored, the distance is over glorified, the fancy casting techniques are redundant, and the gears are overwhelming. At the end of the day, you only need to know one casting techniques for each sides of the river.
 

flav

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You really should have 4 casts, a cast off your upstream shoulder and a cast off your downstream shoulder on river right, and the same for river left. What cast you use all depends on wind direction. Whichever way the wind is blowing you need to place your anchor on the downwind side of your body so the wind doesn't blow your line into your body during the cast. If you put your anchor upwind of you there's a good chance you'll hook yourself, and it's going to hurt. This is the first rule of spey casting, always anchor off your downwind shoulder.
 

ia_trouter

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I think I understand what Hans is saying in the context of his youtube comment. It's pretty easy to be dazzled by the stud casters on youtube and start believing you need to know 6 or more casts to spey fish effectively. As you guys said, get a cast off both shoulders and you catch plenty of fish and not your earlobe. :) And a beginner is better suited to start there IMO. (I'm still a beginner BTW). Get out on the real life water and get the line all screwed up, too close to you on the wrong side of the wind and current. Figure out how to efficiently get out of that mess without stripping all the line back in and you're golden. Or am I the only one that's ever happened to?
 
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spm

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I think I understand what Hans is saying in the context of his youtube comment. It's pretty easy to be dazzled by the stud casters on youtube and start believing you need to know 6 or casts to fish effectively. As you guys said, get a cast off both shoulders and you catch plenty of fish and not your earlobe. :) And a beginner is better suited to start there IMO. (I'm still a beginner BTW). Get out on the real life water and get the line all screwed up, too close to you on the wrong side of the wind and current. Figure out how to efficiently get out of that mess without stripping all the line back in and you're golden. Or am I the only one that's ever happened to?
No you're not, Dewayne. With apologies to HeeHaw, some days, if it weren't for bad casts, I'd have no casts at all. "Gloom, dispair, and agony on me".

steve
 
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