Some Casting Notes

Recently I was at the reservoir casting to bream eating mayflies and the water was just a few inches below the top of my waders. Normally I keep my elbow pretty low and bring it back on a plane, rolling my shoulder with it to “keep it on a shelf”. Being in water that deep, I had to keep my elbows raised to keep them out of the water and it was really preventing me from using my normal casting stroke. Then I got the idea that I shouldn’t be using my normal casting stroke and instead use what Jason Borger and Joan Wulff call the “Foundation Casting Stroke”. The FCS uses a locked elbow and is straight overhead. It was perfect, all my casting troubles went away immediately. Now the FCS is not something I would use when I need long casts, but for what I was doing, which was casting about thirty to forty feet with an occasional fifty footer, it was just what I needed.

The next day I was sitting in my kayak doing the same thing, casting to bream blitzing on mayflies. I had the same issue that I experienced the day before with waders, I was holding my elbows up because in the sitting position my knees were in the way. I just started using the FCS with a locked elbow and once again, the problem was solved.

On another vein, I was reviewing notes by Herb Spannagl on the Tongariro Roll Cast because I had made some timing observations and wanted to go back and refresh myself on what Herb recommended. I was a little surprised that somehow in all my practice I had not been using Herb’s recommendation to watch the indicator or tip of the fly line when you throw the D-loop to know when to cast. My most recent epiphany was instead of waiting for point-p to move i.e. the fly line at point-p jumps out of the water, I had found that making the cast just an instant before the line became tight makes my leader layout better and I seemed to get a little more distance. But once I re-read Herb’s suggestion to watch the indicator or tip of the fly line, I began practicing to see if doing that made any difference. What I found was that it indeed works well and is probably a better way to teach beginners when to make their forward cast, but because it is simpler to explain. After playing with it a while I came back to my most recent observation and I am back to watching the rod leg of the line and just before point-p hops up out of the water I start my forward cast. This way my timing is better and I’m starting the cast just as the line becomes taught. Better tension, better cast.

But, for instructional purposes, by “simpler to explain”, telling someone to “watch the tip of the fly line and, when it moves, then cast” is way easier than explaining what the spey casters call “the white mouse” and “point-p” and then telling them “follow the white mouse and when he stops to take a pee, cast”. I can just imagine some of the images that people get in their heads. Yeah, maybe that’s been my mistake. Ya’ think?

By the way, the “white mouse taking a pee” was my way of explaining “point-p” which I have researched and researched and have found no explanation of why they call it that. So I made one up. 🙂


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