The Perfect Cast - Part 6

The tip of the rod is what controls the fly line. The line just follows the rod tip so
to speak. Ideally, when the line clears the water and becomes airborne, you will
accelerate the back cast and then abruptly stop providing enough energy to
straighten out the line behind you. Just as the loop unrolls and the line becomes
straight, you will accelerate the forward cast providing enough energy to unroll
and straighten the line out in front of you and then again, for a split second
abruptly stop..In a slowed motion you allow the straightened line to fall to the
When you first begin the back cast by picking the line up off the water, the drag
and weight of the line should bend or “load” the rod. When you begin your
forward cast the acceleration and weight of the line will again “load” or bend the
rod in the opposite direction. When a rod is “loaded”, it in effect becomes, a
spring. It is this loading and unloading of the rod that assist in casting the line. If
it were not for this fact, you may just as well use a very stiff rod that does not
bend at all. You could use a “broom stick” to cast fly line and it will work to some
degree. If fact, you do not even have to use a rod at all to cast a fly line. You
can do it with your arms. The fly rod just makes it easier to cast farther and more
accurately. Again, the point is, is that it is the loading and unloading of a fly rod
that sends that line gracefully unrolling a good distance across the water.  
These are just basic principles of casting that many of you have probably heard
many times.
Often, when we are making a short cast, we fail to load the rod. We turn the cast
into a sloppy cast that spooks the fish when the line is picked up on the back
cast or spooks them when the line hits the water on the forward cast. Even
though you are only making a short cast, you still need to go through the
procedures necessary to load and unload the rod.
When you make a relatively long cast, the loop formed on the back cast and the
forward cast, if made properly, is in a relatively small plane. This narrow loop is
called a “tight loop". If you had of allowed the rod to come back to far on the
back cast, go to far forward on the forward cast before stopping it abruptly, or
both, the loop formed would have been in a wide plane or open loop. This is not
good for making a long cast. If you are making long cast you want to cast tight
loops. One key objective in keeping a tight loop is to bend the rod progressively
through the casting strokes to keep the tip of the rod traveling straight. Fast tip
rods help accomplish this. If the rod tip travels in a big wide arc, you will have a
big, wide loop. You will be casting farther casting tight loops than if you cast
open or wide loops.
What does the tight loop have to do with fishing for trout in the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park? In most situations it has nothing to do with it. I'll explain
that next.

Coming up:
More on the Perfect Cast

Copyright 2008 James Marsh