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New Fly Guy - Self Casting Clinic
Monday, February 5, 2007

Nothing like a little visual reality to bring you back to earth...

After getting my fly starter kit for Christmas, I've been able to get out and practice a bit on the few warm days.  After the last practice, I was feeling pretty good about getting a handle on casting.  The fly was not snagging my ear or putting my eye out, it appeared to be going out all the way and not landing in a clump of line, and I was not hearing the sonic boom on the back cast.

With the warm weather a weekend or so back, I decided to venture down to the Lake Ridge Park where I could actually practice on water - everything I have read or viewed to date indicates that water is actually different from grass - - who would have thought?

I had to dodge huge mounds of goose and bird poop to work my way to the end of the dock.  Once positioned, I practiced for a while, getting the hang of the additional tension the water would load onto the line and then set up my digital camera in the movie mode to take a shot of my technique.  When I looked at the results, I was horrified and delighted at the same time.

As you can see above, I am making the rookie mistake of most spinfishers who switch to flies.  I am allowing my wrist to break on the back cast with the rod ending up almost parallel to the ground.  The symptom I noticed, but did not connect until I looked at the video was that the fly would splash into the water on the backcast.  Easy to see why here - the last motion of the rod forces the line down towards the water instead of creating a loop that shoots straight back.

Video - Bad Cast
Video - "Good" Cast

This example is a bit better.  There will be some transition past vertical, but probably should not be as much as here.  On this series of casts, I did not notice that the fly smacked the water to my rear, but I do think I was breaking my wrist even in this shot.  I read on the Orvis beginner site, that the backcast should stop when the fly leaves the water - regardless of angle.  The reason is that the rod quits taking on a load when the surface tension is broken.  Makes sense - I'll have to try that next time out as I also control the wrist action.

As bad as I am on the back cast, it looks like the forecast is coming together.  The Lefty tape clearly described that the end of the cast should be like throwing a dart - not a downward motion.  In addtion, the target is not the water, rather the water at eye level.  It looked like I was working that aspect of the cast fine here, but wonder if I am putting too much effort into the completion.  My leg lifts and I am pushing the rod hard to the front - actually inducing a bit of fatigue in the casting arm.

All this will get sorted out as I continue to work this and actually get a lesson when the weather warms up.

 Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore

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