Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Down The Tube

It’s just occurred to me that I haven’t written anything useful recently. Well you never know, this might not be either.

 Recently on Sexyloops there was a comment that the Five Essentials are really only four, ”The rod tip must track in a straight line” (we call this straight line path btw, or SLP for short) is the objective and all the other ones ( Pause, Power application, No slack and Variable casting angle) are the things that must be done properly to achieve it. I don’t see it like that at all. If you don’t get the rod tip tracking straight in the first place then getting the other’s right won’t save the day, they all have to combine.

 SLP is a confusing concept because it is multi dimensional. We are not just talking about 180 deg back to front we are also talking about creating a horizontal straight line as well, which involves loading the rod appropriately for the amount of line you are casting. To add the confusion horizontal SLP is recognised as an ideal to strive for, in the hope you never quite achieve it, because if you did achieve it the line would just pile into the rod tip. In reality the tip path is always slightly domed and the difference between the top of the dome and rod straight position (RSP), where the line overtakes itself and forms the loop, plus a bit of rod rebound, ie, the bit where the rod tip goes beyond RSP and then comes back again, is the width that the loop will be. Confused? you should be sitting where I am!

 So how do you work out this concept? I try and imagine I am trying to fire a loop down a 24” diameter tube 10′ long, suspended at casting height, without the line touching the sides. Now you can see that if the vertical tracking is out then the fly leg and rod leg won’t be parallel and the fly leg will rub the inside of the tube and if the horizontal SLP is not right you won’t create a loop tight enough to squeeze through the tube.

 OK, I now accept that the Five Essentials do have an order and ”The rod tip must track in a straight line” should be number one on the list but I do not accept that the other four are subordinate to it.


October 6, 2009 - Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, forum debates | , , ,


  1. Mike

    Thanks for a really useful, concise article – I have been trying to get my head around what SLP is and had separated horizontal “SLP” from back-and-forth “tracking”. The tube analogy cuts the waffle!

    Best wishes, Andrew

    PS met you in Wild Trout Trust stand at CLA this year when it was peeing down

    Comment by Andrew | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. Making good sense here Mike. I can relate to this more than the other articles I read.

    Comment by Roger | October 8, 2009 | Reply

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