July 14th, 2003

By James Castwell

Ok, you guys who can make perfect loops, front and back, with fifty feet of fly line, hit the back button and go read something that will be important to you. Those who can not, stick around. If you can cast with a video camera on you and not have it bother you at all, this is not for you. At big fly-casting outings you can step right up and lay out flawless casts after casts, you for sure got the wrong column here. This is for the other ninety-nine percent of us who can't.

How can using less effort when you cast possibly allow the line to go farther? Or, the same distance with less effort. Here's how it could work for you. This is one of the major problems facing many who have just learned to cast and now want to gain a bit more distance.

I think we have all been conditioned to 'try harder' when something is not going as we want it to, probably natural that we should apply that to fly-casting as well. But, when 'trying harder' is mixed in with improper timing, bad things can happen. A 'bigger hammer' is not always the right choice.

First off, take a hard look at your fly line as it goes out in front of you. Are there any up-and-down waves in it? There are? Guess what, you put them there. These are caused by the tip of the rod whipping down at the stop, kind of over-bending on the stop. This will make those waves in your line. So what, you ask? They slow things down, the front loop is open and moves slower, the line does not go through the guides as fast and the cast does not go as far.

Seriously, this problem is more prevalent with big strong guys than with ladies. That figures of course, the girls can not stop the rod as hard, they are just not as strong. Applying too much iron-fisted force on the stop is not a good thing. The stop must be dampened. A good way to demonstrate this is to put your rod together but no line out, none. It is alright to have the reel on, but do not pull off any line.

Hold the rod horizontal in front of you. Smartly whip the rod down toward the ground. When it comes bact to horizontal try to make it stop dead, no wiggles. It will take you a few times to get this right, but that is what I mean by dampening the stop. Here is where a good rod will outperform a poor one. It is much easier to stop a good one than a bad rod. The poor rod will really want to keep going when you try to stop it, the good one will behave your commands.

When you have got a good idea of all of this, string it up and make a few short casts and watch the line for waves. If you have any, dampen the stops and use less effort, make the cast smooth. If you already are using the double-haul, grip the fly line under your fore-finger of the rod hand and cast only with one hand. Make sure you can form perfectly smooth casts with one hand before you extend any line.

As you add line to your cast, only do so in small increments, a foot or two, always making sure you are not getting a whip-over of the tip or waves in the line. If you do, bring in some line until you can again control the cast and start over. A solid but dampened stop with a smooth delivery during the cast will give you the added distance you want and will increase your accuracy and control of presentation. All those things for just dampening a stop, well worth learning.

Next week, how to make better back-casts. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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