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  1. Default Cracking the whip

    So I just started with fly fishing this past weekend (on a cheap Pflueger combo, which may be part of the problem but I digress). In practicing, I have been whipping flies right off the line (cracking the whip). I know this is wrong, but I can't tell specifically what I am doing wrong to have this happen (switching to the back/forward cast too early/too late/too sudden/etc). Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Cracking the whip

    I think what you are experiencing is caused by not delaying the forward cast long enough for the back cast to complete. You might try turning your head and watching the back cast, as it completes, then start the forward cast.

    Hopefully one of the casting experts on this forum will see your question and provide better advice.

    I'd highly recommend getting a little casting help from your local fly shop. You will be amazed at how fast you will improve with some hands on help from a professional.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Cracking the whip

    Larry has nailed it.

    As the casts get longer, the delay between the backcast and forward cast must be longer. A newbie keeps the same timing and as you try to cast a bit further on the forward cast, you start too soon. The crack you hear is exactly like the crack of a bull whip.

    As Larry says, you can put you right foot back (for a right handed caster) and this 45 degree stance will allow you to see your backcast. Another way to see you backcast is to cast side arm.

    Both will work. Since you don't have the muscle memory give you timing cues, you need visual cues to tell you how long the delay should be.

    As you practice repeat the back and forward casts without changing the distance to reinforce your muscle memory on how it feel to cast that amount of line. We want your body to learn what degree of rod bend and rod resistance = what amount of delay. Then extend line and practice at that length so your body learns to equate that amount of rod reel to that amount of delay.


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

  4. Default Re: Cracking the whip

    Thanks guys. I think I understand. After more reading and video watching, I think I am starting to get the right motions and timing. Practice, practice, practice.

  5. Likes fredaevans liked this post
  6. #5

    Default Re: Cracking the whip

    I had the same problem (I'm a newbie, too, so I'm NOT relaying experience!). A friend, with a lot of experience, gave me much the same advice as you're seeing here. I went from losing 6-8 flies in a couple of hours, to none, after only a couple of outings, paying attention to the timing. Of course, I still lose flies to trees, snags, etc.

    The "whip-crack" puts an incredible amount of stress on the tippet (so my physicist friend says). Much more than fighting a fish!

    Tight lines!

  7. #6

    Default Re: Cracking the whip

    I know that's a problem I had a long time ago when I first started fishing. It's just a matter of reminding yourself to slow things down.

    Sometime try a little experiment and throw out a back cast and just watch it. It's up in the air for a surprisingly long time. Once you get a feel for it, you find out there is no big hurry required to make a forward cast.

    The more you know, the less you need.

    Tenkara Fly Fishing

    Tenkara Fly Fishing Blog

    "People tend to get the politicians and the fishing tackle they deserve" - John Gierach, Fishing Bamboo

  8. #7

    Default Re: Cracking the whip

    I'm a newb/inexperienced FF'r as well, and I have to remind myself every time I pick up a fly rod "to slow down", slow everything down in the casting motion, both the back cast and the forward cast. You have to "wait for it, wait for it" so to speak.

  9. Default Re: Cracking the whip

    Im a newb as well. Just took a fly fishing class for the first time just yesterday and the instructor went over how to avoid the "$2 snap". A quick little trick he told us was to say "Sacramento" before we begin our forward cast. It gives you a rough estimate of how much time it takes to load your rod during the backcast. After you get that down, youll be able to feel the pull of the fully loaded rod and youll know when to forward cast more accurately.

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  11. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Eastern Iowa

    Default Re: Cracking the whip

    I was snapping off a few my first month. Especially when fishing with tall brush behind me and causeing me to ush even more. The guys have already told you the real problem, but there a couple minor things you can do to help while learning. Make sure you are using decent quality tippet that isn't old. I also did a one size plus up on tippet size temporarily. 5X or smaller is just not very forgiving.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Cracking the whip

    forgive me for bumping an old thread here but i can't resist.
    get out in a large open area get the line out in front of you on the ground. Make the back cast an stop....... let the line fall on the ground.... make the forward motion and as you do feel the line loading the rod, the line does not move forward as fast as the rod so the tip bends back. when you come to a compleat stop on the front cast the line will zip forward and you will feel the line load the rod tip again, you will feel it pull the rod tip forward before the line drops to the ground.
    With the line in front make that deliberate back cast again and make sure you come to a deliberate stop and this time just take note of that feeling of the line passing you by and the loading of your rod towards the rear.
    just keep doing this exercise 20 times. you will feel the loading on both the start of your cast and while you are waiting for that line to finish and load your rod again.
    later you will feel that backward loading of that rod and that should be your trigger that it is the right time to make your forward motion in your cast.
    you won't believe how long a time that really is and in the excitement of a stream you will find yourself rushing that stop period a lot and you will loose the power to make a clean straight cast. just remember that the whole key to fly casting is letting that rod load.

  13. Likes harryhh liked this post
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