No Creeps Allowed

I can understand a person’s reluctance to take suggestions in changing their overhead cast. In my computer programming career, we had a saying that a programmer has a 50/50 chance of making a change to a complicated program without introducing a new bug. I am the same way about my overhead cast because it is amazing how many movements are in an overhead cast, all happening in the blink of an eye. Once you feel like you’ve “got it”, the idea of changing anything comes with the fear that it might upset the apple cart.

After a lot of modifications, my overhead cast is far and away different from how I was casting for the majority of my life. After making so many changes it seemed there was little room for any more, but as it turns out, there was.

In a practice session recently, I made a solid stop on a strong back cast and as I loosened my grip, which is an open V-grip, the inertia of the line as it straightened pulled on the rod making it fall down in my hand just a little. The subsequent forward cast looked especially good. It snapped to me that the slight drop of the rod in my grip after the stop provided a drift which might have made a difference. I started consciously making the same move and immediately I could see a difference in the resulting casts. The loops were prettier, the leader layout was straight.

It’s really nothing more than adding a short, rotational drift after the stop on the back cast, so it’s not a change that jeopardizes any other part of my cast. Drifting on the back cast is nothing new but this is a rotational drift (angling the rod back) as opposed to a translational (moving the rod hand back). I’m not using any additional movement to make the drift, I just let it happen and there’s no opportunity for the rod to get out of plane. I often play around with distance casting and I have always used translational drift for long casts. The problem with translational drift is that in the process of moving the rod back, (Lefty called it the “stab”) I often manage to get slightly off in tracking.

Since I am using a V-grip there is no thumb in the way to prevent the rod from drifting on its own. A thumb-over grip would stop the rod, meaning the caster would have to bend the wrist to move the rod back. The whole reason I avoid the thumb-over in the first place is the natural twisting of the wrist that can occur on a long stroke. I had a hinging issue in the past using a thumb-over grip and resolved it by going to the V-grip.

So the drift improved my cast, but what I don’t understand is exactly what part of Bill Gammel’s Five Essentials got better? SLP? Pause? Timing? Power? Arc? Not having a video to review or an instructor to watch, I don’t really know but I suspect it could be a little of all of it.

I do know that adding a drift will eliminate creep (not the kind adored by MSM), which is rod rotation during the pause in the direction of the next cast. It is a very common casting error. Creep usually requires someone watching to catch it, due to fact that the caster himself can’t always be watching the rod tip. I can only assume that I have been creeping unconsciously. In this case, it was the practice that identified the error.

Last weekend I took my new drift to the field for some redfish. First off I will admit my casting tended to suck on the short casts. But whenever I had medium-to-long shots, where my rod could load properly, I was making good casts with nice straight layouts. When sight-casting to redfish it is important to have the line lay down nice and straight because you can move the fly immediately rather than having to pull out the slack. You have to get their attention with movement and if they pounce on the fly when they hear it land, you need the slack out to set the hook. Seconds count when the fish are moving.

Guide Miles holding one of my fish

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