Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by R00k, Jan 8, 2014.
So easy to say from the fly fishing mecca of Montana
I am far from an expert but, if you are looking for something to do... on the lawn, remember the 10am forward position of the rod and the 2pm position (closer to 1pm) on the back cast. Forget where you want to cast forward to, entirely. Back cast and watch your line go back. I mean stare at it going back, literally. There should be a substantive pause between the back cast stopping motion of the rod and the forward movement. That pause allows the line to extend out. Start with a short amount of line, maybe 20 feet. Get a feel and visibly assure your line is fully extended on the rear motion and THEN move the rod forward. Again, pay no attention to where it will land going forward (at this point). The key is to closely watch your line and how it extends, not worrying about your target. As you use more line the delay to let the line out will be longer. It's a matter of practice. You will get a feel for that pause. Once that feel is known, then worry about forward direction. If you load the rod and pause on the back cast, letting the line extend, and then moving forward... you will not have knots or "snaps" like a whip. Start with a short line and extend it out as you become more proficient. Then you can start considering the details of the forward motion and rod freeze at 10am.
There will be folks who disagree with this suggestion and that's ok. As noted, I am not a expert. Seeking out a local teacher is an excellent idea.
Regardless, a bad joke: a tourist needing directions in New York stops an old man on the street and asks "how to I get to Carnegie Hall?". The old man replies "practice, practice, practice...."
I can't pimp out this LINK enough.
I think looking at the fly line on the back cast is a great idea. It is easier if you put the foot on the same side of your casting hand back at a 45 degree angle. So for a right handed caster, left foot forward and right foot back.
What looking at the back cast does, however, is to cause the body to rotate between the forward and back cast. When a caster does that, they often do not take the fly rod straight back and straight forward in a straight line. They have the rod tilted a bit to the side and the rod swings in an arc and this causes the cast to curve a bit.
So it is great to look learn the timing, but once you get the correct timing, face forward and do not look at your backcast.
My second comment is on using the clock face as is commonly done. Some beginners interpret this literally as having to rotate the the rod handle as if it was fixed on a clock face. See the typical illustration below.
The correct illustration is that there is a rod stroke with a rod rotation. The rod handle just does not rotate but the entire fly rod moves forward and backward through space with most of the rod rotation occurring late in the stroke, just before the stop. The late rod rotation is like flicking an apple off a pencil or paint off of a paint brush. That flick is the late rod rotation.
If you do just rotate the rod with a fixed handle, you cannot compensate shortening of the fly rod that brings the rod tip closer to the casting hand. You get a concave path of the fly rod tip and that results in a tailing loop. Note that the path of the rod stroke above is CONVEX UP to compensate for the CONCAVE down path that rod shortening causes.
See the concave rod tip path and the tailing loop you get with a fixed rod rotation.
If you rotate the rod slowly, you get windshield wiper cast and wide loop as seen as the first common casting error below:
Shit, with all the info here I might try to improve on what I call casting. But I might not also. I can get my line out with very little false casting now. I guess with age everything improves.
I don't even know why I put this bit of info here. Maybe it's just my .02 cents worth.
I thought u were just on here for post counts. When i read your comments in threads, i think, yep , just adding to his post count.
I've been casting a fly for over five decades, and I still occasionally develop 'wind knots' when I'm pushing to cast to a more distant target...precisely for the reasons noted above. Of course, it always happens when I'm just out of comfortable casting range of a big trout slurping bugs at his feeding station.
Flycasting is a bit like golf; you will eventually become pretty proficient if you work at it, have somebody knowledgeable enough to watch you, and critique your technique....but like golf, you'll sometimes manage a 'Tiger Woods' cast, and wonder how the hell you managed to pull that one off.
This is the only way I can talk to people. I live in a house with only women. I go nuts talking to myself.
I almost went fishing yesterday, But the wind was blowing so damn hard I was afraid I was going to end up with a bunch of wind knots.
I am a big believer in having someone watch/coach me when I am having a problem with any coordination-type activity. Last summer I had a less than sterling day casting on the Yakima. The next morning a casting instructor who was in our group took a couple of us out on the lawn and straightened out problems that each of us were having.
It is really easy to think that one is doing something right just because it feels comfortable.
As many above have stated; practice, practice, practice. Having never had a lesson, I cannot tell you if they are helpful or not. That being said, I think enough people have posted here that they are, so if you have the means, go for it. I am sure it speeds up the learning curve a bit. If not, get on the water and just start flinging. It will be messy at first, you will get knots, you will get tangles, you will get files caught on limbs and grass and rocks and etc, etc, etc. However, eventually it will just start to happen and you will develop a feel and that is what you need. A rhythm and touch that happens and feels natural. Like riding a bike; you had to learn at some point but as an adult, it feels as natural as walking for most of us. I myself am learning Spey casting. After many years flyfishing, a month ago I moved back to the Seattle area after living on the east coast, MT, ID, and most recently CO. I had lived here for a short time from 2007-2009 but did not really chase steelhead. Anyway, now I am back and catching a steelhead on a swung fly is priority número uno. To date, I have been out to the Hoh river 3 times in search of my first steelhead. Even though the water was low and reports were horrible, I went not necessarily to catch a fish but to learn how to spey cast the switch rod I bought. First time out horrible (but hooked up!), second time pretty horrible (nothing!)), third time pretty horrible (nothing again!) but signs of progress. Point being, I am a very good single handed caster from and accuracy and distance standpoint and a terrible Spey caster to date. I will fix that by getting on the water whenever I have time and practicing and getting a feel for my rod (sore elbow be damned!). At some point, it will just click and feel natural. Get out on the water and start casting. You will likely be the worst caster in sight the first few times out but don't be embarrassed. We all were at some point. Plus, more than likely you'll get free tips from fly guys around you. I struck up a conversation with a guy on the Hoh who gave me a number of great tips after I told him I was new to Spey casting. We are a helpful bunch for the most part! So, cast, cast, cast! Eventually, it will all fall in place. Good luck!
Practice won't help you become better at anything. Perfect practice will. Seek out a certified instructor. Chances are they can make some minor tweaks and cause radical improvement.
Free advice is often as valuable as it is low in cost. A few will have the technical ability, critical eye and means to break down tasks and assign drills to take you to the next level - most will not.
Its like a golf swing, better to practice a good swing then to develop bad habits of a bad swing. Both get the ball into play, one usually ends up around par and the other with triple bogeys.
I disagree that practice is only useful when done after learning from a certified casting instructor. I have never had a lesson and I would put my casting abilities up against any everyday fly fisherman. Guides who fish everyday and professional casters, no. Any others, absolutely. Telling new folks that they have to get instruction from certified casting instructors in order to be successful just keeps new folks out of the sport. I am 100% self taught and a very productive fly fisherman. I cannot remember the last time I was skunked fishing for trout (steelhead are mother matter). All that being said, as I mentioned above, if you have the means get instruction. It will speed up your learning curve for sure. If not, just get out the water and practice. Experiment with what feels right and practice that. At the end of the day, the purpose of this sport is to catch fish. Without a casting lesson, you will eventually get there if you work on it enough. Either with instruction or not.
I have no idea what your ability is or your experience. My statements come from decades as a ski instructor and a WW kayak instructor trainer educator. I started to go down the path of FFF certification, but don't agree with their teaching methodology.
Basically, if you have never had instruction or been exposed to high level coaching and competition "You don't know what you don't know". Obtaining that level of knowledge doesn't necessarily have to be from someone with certification, but could also be from a competitive casting coach or a guide who knows how to teach - and being able to cast, being able to accurately assess what is going on with someone's movements, and being able to communicate and correct those movements with appropriate drills are all very different skills. In my direct experience if the person in question booked a couple of casting lessons and then moved on to perfect practice they would progress more in one year than three on their own. In boating and skiing - since those motions are so counter initiative the self-taught rarely reach beyond a low level intermediate ability.
In my mind the goal is not to catch fish. If that is your goal then you have probably been fly fishing multiple years, and not multiple decades. In my mind the goal is to enjoy the environment and all that goes with it - including the rhythmical motion of casting and the satisfaction of how a loaded rod makes casting effortless. Given that I think that saving years trying to figure it out for one's self with a relatively modest investment in instruction is money well spent.
I will say it one more time; getting instruction will certainly speed up the learning curve. Learn more in 1 year with instruction versus 3 on your own is a broad statement to make. It is all dependent on natural ability (yes, that comes into casting) and time spent casting. All things being equal, someone who receives instruction will pick it up quicker, agree 100%. However, instruction is not a requirement in order to become a good or even above average caster. Dou you get instruction on every hobby you pick up? Outside of the competititive sports I have played in my life, I have never gotten instruction in any of mine and I have a very a active lifestyle. To me, a big part of any hobby is figuring out how to do it.
Regarding my flyfishing history- you are right, not multiple decades, coming up on two though. I have been fishing for multiple decades though (I am in my mid thirties). I too love the beauty of casting, getting in a rhythm and being in beautiful places. However, those things are not what gets me out of bed at 3 am on a Saturday morning. It is also not what drove me to fish all winter long in well below freezing temperature at altitude, every weekend, all winter in CO and even MT. The shot at catching good fish made me do those things. There are some beautiful sterile alpine lakes where you can get all the things you listed with no shot at catching fish. However, my guess is you would not venture out there just for the feeling of casting and solitude. In the end we are fishing, right.
Anyway, my comments are not meant to be argumentative. My only point is get out and do it, as often as you can. If you can and want to pay for instruction, by all means do it! I am not against instruction at all. My only point is it can be learned on ones own if need be. Getting back to the point of this thread, you know how many wind knots I untangled when I first got started? Too many to count! Eventually I figured it out though. Did it take time, yeah. But to your point, all the time was spent in some o the most beautiful places in the country so it was well worth it!