October 20th, 2003

Exciting Stuff
By James Castwell

For sure it is that, at least these days it is. If you are reading this well after October of 2003 it may not be, but right now the big buzz is about the 'Common Cents' rod grading system. Are we on the edge of a breakthrough? Who knows. Certainly not me, but many seem to think that fly rod identification has at least made a step forward. For several years many have fumbled with which fly line to use on which fly rod. Understandably so, I will admit.

The beginning fly fisher can not cast worth a hoot. The dealer wants him to be able to at least get some line on the water and is tempted to overline the rod to help that along a bit. One company even went so far as to make a rod that was 'tip-heavy' to help make it easier for the new guy. Those rods proved poor when one learned to cast. A rod will probably work better with the line marked on the rod most of the time.

In truth, most us of could do a better job of casting. We all have a few little things that may not be the most 'energy-efficient' or whatever you want to call them. Are we casting wrong? Heck no. Tell a guy who has just made a thirty foot cast to a riser and got him that he did it wrong; but be wearing track shoes of you do. Most folks do not stop exactly at the right or even the same place on each cast. That changes things but so what? If you are comfortable and happy, go for it.

Let's say you are using a nine foot rod rated as a 6wt and a 6wt line. You have only fifteen feet of line out. That would be about the same weight as a three weight line right? Can you make a good cast with the rod with only that much line out? Sure you can. You only bring into play the tip of the rod. No arm movement, casting only with your wrist and effectively putting the fulcrum near the center of the rod, about half way up, about a five or four foot rod. The rod only starts to bend there and the power is only applied near the top.

Now let out another fifteen feet, perfect match, right? The thirty feet of line is balanced to the rod now. But now you start bending your elbow making the rod ten feet long by moving the fulcrum down past the reel. You can see how things can get out of hand here. The line does seem to perform well though at this distance, nine foot or ten footer not withstanding.

Now, you need a sixty-foot cast. Oh dear, what ever shall you do? You need to add something; power, speed, muscle, prayer? Most of us add the double-haul. It gets things moving independent of the rod, kind of adds line speed without the rod having to do the work. Done right it seems to work pretty well.

We add something else too. We lengthen the rod, this time a lot. We move the fulcrum way down almost to the ground. We open our shoulder and reach back and employ all sorts of gyrations. We virtually have a thirteen foot rod, maybe more. The amazing trick is that we can change the length during the cast, we all do it, just not the same amount or at the same time. You didn't know that? Sure, it is called 'Style!' When you turn your wrist forward on the front stroke, do you do it at the start of the stroke or halfway though, more near vertical? That changes things. Like I said, a lot.

Now you may think we have drifted far afield here, but, remember, this is lines and rods and which are correct for each other. Differing conditions will to some degree dictate that. Short casts on a two-hop stream will not need thirty feet of line, perhaps a line a tad heavier might be in order, or just flex the tip of the rod. Longer casts? Going light may not do it, not enough mass to carry a big bass bug out to sixty feet. Stick with the six weight line and add the DH.

In wrapping this up I will say that if you give a rod and line matched by the 'CC' to six experienced casters I would bet they would all agree that they match. Give the same set-up to six new casters and they will not all agree. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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