May 7th, 2001

Loading the DH*
(*Double Haul)
By James Castwell


A graphite fly-rod does not know or care that it is straight. It does know it is round, pretty much so anyway. It is made by wrapping a cloth on a long tapered steel rod. It is rolled, cooked, sanded and finished. What goes into the cloth is what makes the biggest difference. Stuff like graphite, boron, fiberglass, titanium and bulloneyium. The ratio between the stuff in the cloth and the taper of the steel rod gives all rods their characteristics. As in fast, medium, slow and so forth.

When a rod bends (as in casting) it goes from round to oval, and one side stretches and the other side compresses. The ability and the speed which it returns to round determines how fast a rod is. If it cannot return fast to round it is considered a slow rod. This is not to say it is bad, there are many uses for such a rod. Generally speaking, the more graphite in the rod, the faster it will return to round, i.e. a faster rod.

Let's take a look at one single place in a cast. The line is rolling out on the back-cast, the rod is held firmly at about ten degrees above horizontal in preparation for a full-pull double-haul. Various casters using various rods will employ various degrees of elevation at this point. Some flat out at 180 degrees, others raising the rod up to 45 or 50 degrees. There is no real agreement on this angle. It will with all casters however produce differing results.

Now add this. Presuming your timing is exact and you start the DH while there is no load on the rod (speeding up the line) you are giving the rod less mass-weight to pull (load) against. This means you can load the rod with more thrust without overloading it.

If you start the DH after you have started the rod forward and it is already becoming loaded, you must not use as much force on the DH for fear of overloading the rod. Add to this the improbability of exact timing on repetitive casts, the exact amount of fly-line in the air at each cast, whether any line was, or was not let out into the last backcast and you can see how difficult the game of distance casting can become; or, for many, how interesting.

You can, for instance, force the DH too late, while the rod is almost vertical and easily break the rod tip. Some rods require a short, sharp DH pull, others a long easy DH pull. These will result in a change in loop shape and distance. Remember too, each of these elements change on each cast as more or less fly-line is airialized. There are also differences with different types of rods and, yes, each fly-line used on them only adds more problems. Lots of fun!

If you are new to casting, this doesn't mean squat, sorry about that. But I get some of the old-timers beating on me about stuff like this. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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