Drag. What does it mean to you? A forward movement of the rod? Are you moving the line? Is there an angular change? Is it a separate motion or is it a blending motion? Is drag synonymous with creep? Would you accuse someone of creeping if the first motion of the stroke was drag?
And you thought fly casting was simple. There is a school of thought that any movement in the direction of the cast that is insufficient to form a loop is creep. I know, and you know, that you added drag deliberately. You told me. ‘Mike’, you said, ’I am going to drag the rod forward about a foot before I start to apply a rotational force to the rod butt’. I have to tell you I was quite impressed. However, according to the ‘insufficient to form a loop’ brigade I would now have to inform you that you have just told me you are going to deliberately creep. A contradiction in terms because, up to now, creep has always been something you did without realising you were doing it. We have now removed creep from the fault column and added it to the motion column. Creep isn’t a fault any more, it’s just a motion, even though 99% of the time we try to eradicate it if we spot it. Drag, meanwhile, has been tainted by looking similar and is now stood accused of the heinous crime of being creep in disguise. I am here to defend drag and save it from that ignominy.
I regard fly casting to be about fluidity, the blending of one motion into another to produce a fly cast. Creep is the antithesis of fluid motion. It’s hesitant, it’s uncontrolled, it’s unintentional and it robs you of something (available casting angle).
Drag is one of the good guys. It smooths out line acquisition. It gets the line moving. It loads the rod. It irons out wrinkles. It allows a smooth transition into rotational acceleration. It allows fluidity. It reduces the chance of introducing a power spike at the start of rotation. Drag may not, on its own, produce a loop. It just helps, in the right circumstances, to produce better ones.
Drag is another useful tool, like drift or double hauling.
I rest my case.
PS. At the recent Newark show I was filmed casting with commentry by Charles Jardine. I’m sorry it’s not the best casting you are likely to see but I was frozen stiff.