Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Ask Me Another

Say someone asked you what is the most important element in a casting stroke what would you reply? My answer has been, and probably still would be, appropriate power application. The trouble is I suspect the expert answer would be straight line tip path. SLP, the way to tight loops. I have spent years trying to perfect beautiful tight loops. We all want those, don’t we? Do you know, I had to re-learn how to cast wide loops and I really struggled for an hour or two. Non loops, no problem. The trouble is a non loop isn’t a wide loop. A non loop does not have well-defined rod and fly leg, a wide loop does. We do need to be able to cast wide loops sometimes, casting a team of flies or casting a sink tip, for instance. Where is SLP in those instances? We still need to apply the appropriate power though. SLP has always been an ideal we never quite want to achieve. Not that I have ever got close now I think about it. Perfect SLP would be the fly leg sliding along the rod leg, I ain’t ever seen that trick. The nearest I have ever got is the line running into the tip.

So, we don’t always want SLP but I can’t think of a situation where we don’t need to apply appropriate power. We can even get away without a pause, if we use an eliptical stroke.

Slack, we don’t want that do we. Ah, now there’s a thought, perhaps the most important element is maintaining line tension, it’s difficult to make a decent cast if there is slack in the system, it would even mess up power application.

There you go, by a process of elimination we arrive at the answer. The most important element in the casting stroke is the elimination of slack.

Thanks for listening.


February 21, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Hi Mike

    Didn’t know that slack was a part of the casting stroke 🙂

    And how do you get a straight fly leg in a wide loop 😉

    Looking forward to see you here!


    Comment by Lasse Karlsson | February 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. Slack isn’t. Maintaining tension is, or at least is a prerequisite for a good cast.

    Good point about the fly leg though, I will ponder it.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | February 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. i’m quite sure i understand what Lasse isn’t saying 🙂 but i’m with Mike on this one, controlling slack is no. 1
    the rest in realistic fishing terms is luxury or situation specific.


    Comment by marc fauvet | February 22, 2011 | Reply

  4. “We can even get away without a pause, if we use an eliptical stroke.”
    i’ve never bought that Mike. carry a longer line, 15-20m and you’ll see why !
    even with short casts the pause is there during the drifting transition from inclined rod tip position to vertical.


    Comment by marc fauvet | March 12, 2011 | Reply

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