Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Please Release Me, Let me Go

Now, here’s something I bet some of you have never thought about. I certainly hadn’t until a month or two ago. When do you release the line? I have played around with late rotation, late haul, hauling through the stroke, rotating through the stroke etc, but never with when I let the line go. I just did.

 It was brought to my attention by Rudi Ferris on thread on ‘loops. He has banged on for years that the best head casters don’t release at RSP but slightly before. I told you I was a slow learner. Why it hit home in that particular thread I don’t know. Anyway, I meant to try it out on my T38 but time constraints and a typical British summer meant I did not get round to trying it. Blow me a week or two a thread started about ‘cast and release’ which was exactly what Rudi had been on about but with full lines rather than heads. The weather has changed, for the better, so, I have been out and tried it.

 The concept is that you release the line without stopping the rod, or rather, the rod stop is not the important bit because you let the line go at about the time you would have stopped the rod. You can in fact keep rotating the rod to horizontal and makes virtually no difference. This is ‘normal’ casting not balls out distance. I have always had a problem with short belly weight forwards. I tend to throw a tail on the delivery. I have never really adjusted to them because I was centered on distance, and distance means carry, which short belly lines are not designed to do. Cast and release seems to have sorted this tailing problem out, and not at the cost of distance.

 Lets see if I can explain how I see it working; short shooting heads have always been prone to collapsing because they turn over too quickly and can land in a messy heap. I have this problem with the T38. The ideal is for there to be hardly any turn over, you cast a loop shape that gradually turns over as drag in the rod leg increases. In this way the line can travel further before the head turns over and collapses. One way to achieve this is to have quite a bit of overhang, say ten feet or so, so that the rebound of the rod tip after the stop is into the running line and has no effect on the main line. Another way is to try and release the line exactly at RSP, a tall order, for most of us. Now we have a third option, don’t stop the rod, just let go of the line at the right moment. It’s a sort of half volley concept.

 I haven’t tried it with the T38 yet but I have with a short belly WF, and it works. I tried to film a slo mo today, I haven’t reviewed it yet but if it is any good I will add a link. I hope it explains it better than I just did.

 And here it is. I have to say the release feels earlier than it looks http://vimeo.com/14616895


September 1, 2010 - Posted by | fly casting, forum debates, Mike Heritage


  1. Hi Mike,

    I like your style – both casting and sartorial! These slow-mo films fascinate me, there’s always something interesting to look at. I know you posted this to discuss release timing but I have another question if you don’t mind. Do you think the position of the line on the floor has an impact on the cast? I note in your video that shortly after the release the line appears to be forward of the first guide – this has to increase drag (perhaps tis aids loop propagation?). I know you weren’t hitting it for distance in this instance, but if you were would you pay any attention to where you put the line? I’d like to see how the line flowed if it was coming from behind you i.e. where your hauling hand finishes.

    By the way – what are you using to capture these vids? – the quality is very good.

    All the best.

    Comment by James Evans | September 3, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi James,nice to hear from you.
    First the camera is a Casio Exilim EX-FH20. It has a high speed film function which I find very useful. Film quality goes down quite a bit if you use the zoom though. The downside is battery life, it’s rubbish. It uses rechargable AAs so you need to carry quite a few.

    I have played around with lots of things to try and stop the line looping beyond the stripper ring, even going down on one knee so there is not so much line to flap about. Another way is to form an O between finger and thumb but for pure distance it just creates another source of friction and reduces distance. Something that does work, provided the wind isn’t too strong, is to take a step or two back from the casting point when you retrieve line so that it is behind you when you cast. Of course part of the problem is that we choose to cast with the wind from behind for distance so the line being shot is likely to get blown forwards anyway. The annoying bit is when the loose line loops around the rod and ring and stops the shoot. It always happens on a goodun.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | September 3, 2010 | Reply

  3. hi Mike !
    the casting and blah-blah’s great but what i really enjoy about your blog is the scantly-clad womenfolk that are on the Flickr Photos section. thanks !

    Comment by marc fauvet | September 7, 2010 | Reply

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