I want to talk about drift. Let’s define how I understand drift. Drift is any repositioning of the rod during the pause. During the pause. Very important that bit, it’s done while the loop is unrolling. Drift, in and of itself has absolutely no effect on the line, it is essentially powerless. The most common form of drift is up and back to open up the casting angle and, possibly, lengthen the casting stroke. But drift is actually multi directional. You may choose to deliberately reposition the rod tip down (I do, on some distance casts). You may choose to drift the rod to one side or other. You may choose to drift the rod forwards. You choose the form of drift you need to suit the cast you are making or the conditions you are casting in. However, do you always need to drift? Some of us have drift inbuilt into our casts, much like hauling, and we drift regardless of whether we actually need to or not. I heard one or two comments from MCI’s in Denmark last weekend that some candidates were drifting unnecessarily. I’m not sure any failed their tests because of unnecessary drift but if they were borderline I don’t suppose it helped their cause any.
This isn’t a knee jerk reaction on my part. My knee was jerked several weeks ago during a lengthy thread on Sexyloops. It’s amazing how 99% of a thread passes over your head but a side comment made during the debate can make you sit up and pay attention. The side comment went along the lines that most people drift unnecessarily. I went into the field to find out for myself and, guess what? Whoever made the comment was right. If we are false casting to extend line and each stroke is carrying more line than the last one there may be a need to drift to take into account the wider casting angle required due to the extra line we have shot. Do we need to drift if we are casting relatively similar lengths of line continuously for several cycles (such as accuracy sighting casts, or some of the tasks in the CCI or MCI tests). No, we don’t. I can do the 55 feet element in the MCI without drift, and it looks quite cool.
I may be being a bit over sensitive, I have my MCI test coming up and don’t need to have a perceived fault like that getting in the way. I also don’t want to be accused of creeping if I was to deliberately use forward drift for some reason either.
Talking of creep, and it appears to be the hot topic at the moment, how do you cure it? The answer has been ‘teach drift’. I’m now not so sure that’s the right approach, at least not initially. If a pupil is a reasonably competent caster I would point out the creep, explain what it is doing to their stroke and just ask them to try to stop doing it. Teaching drift would be the second line of attack if it became apparent that their muscle memory was so ingrained they couldn’t help them selves from creeping.
Drift is a good tool in certain situations, but like all good tools, it should only be used when needed.