Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

I Swear To Tell The Truth, The Half Truth and Nothing Like The Truth

SLP is from RSP to RSP. The line always follows the rod tip. A concave tip path will result in a tailing loop. Hauling loads the rod. True or false?

As someone once said, it depends.

All of the above statements are used every day by instructors to try to convey a concept or visualisation to a student to try to get them to perform a task. Fine and dandy for the student, especially if it works. Not so fine and dandy if the instructor actually believes it or perpetuates it as a cast in stone fact. Of course as instructors we use these half-truths as a simplification. We will sometimes tell a student who overpowers to ease off and let the rod do the work knowing full well that the rod can’t do damn all unless someone is holding it, but it gets a concept across and that’s what matters.

Let’s start with SLP. SLP from rod straight position (RSP) at the start of the stroke to RSP at the end of a stroke is not only virtually impossible (in the horizontal plane) it would result in the line piling into the rod tip and not going anywhere. In many, many years of fly casting I don’t recall it ever happening, Yes the line sometimes clips the rod tip but I have never had a full-scale collision. The horizontal tip path is ideally slightly domed (convex) and this starts right from the point we start to load the rod. The tip will deflect so is now slightly lower than it was before it acquired the weight of the line. During rotation we may have a portion of the tip path that is actually straight then we stop the rod and it unloads. Depending on our style the tip path will then be slightly curved down or remain straight if we thrust up slightly. Either way there will be some counterflex as the rod passes RSP and we also tend to lower the rod slightly so the line passes over the tip. For short casts SPL may be longer, in percentage terms of tip travel, maybe 80% or more. For long casts that percentage drops until, for very long casts, SLP may only be 50%, or less, of overall tip travel. It is even possible that for 180 style casts there is no SLP at all.

The line always follows the rod tip. Not true. A portion of the line has to, it has no choice, but the further away from the rod tip the less likely it is. It will go in the direction the rod tip sends it but it won’t follow the exact path. Those of us that do distance casting will often see the front taper and leader come through doing some very odd things that seem to defy the laws of physics, but that’s another story.

A concave tip path will result in a tailing loop. This is an out-and-out lie. The thing that caused the concave tip path in the first place is the thing that caused the tail and that thing is you. Your application of force was faulty. You either hit the stroke too hard, you put too much effort into the end of the stroke (power snap, I do dislike that term. Sorry Joan) or you finished the haul too early.

Try a little experiment. False cast thirty or forty feet of line with nice clean loops, now keep the same casting angle but reduce the power. Then cast your nice loops again and keeping the same power reduce the casting angle. Let me know what happens.

Last, but not least; The haul loads the rod. Well of course it does, you can’t defy Newton, but it is a by-product, it is not the purpose. The purpose is to directly increase linespeed. Or, we may not want to increase linespeed, just spread the work load between two hands.


July 3, 2011 - Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage, Uncategorized


  1. Do you really really want me to leave a reply on this one, or should I let it slide 😉

    Ok, just this little bit… What do you really get with a concave tippath?…. Think D loop formation, upside down loops and such before you reply…

    Have a look at Aitor’s vimeo account and see the haul loads the rod clip.. Look at what the rod is actually doing when the hauls moving the fastest..

    Oh yeah, it all depends off course 😉


    Comment by Lasse Karlsson | July 3, 2011 | Reply

  2. I was only refering to what some say is the absolute cause of a tailing loop Lasse, not useful uses of a concave tip path.
    Shouldn’t you be out somewhere nice on a lovely day like this (unless it’s not a lovely day like this where you are) with Sil and Robin (Robyn?) rather that reading this?


    Comment by Mike Heritage | July 3, 2011 | Reply

  3. Hi Mike

    Ah ok, still a concave tippath will never ever give a tail 😉

    Here in Germany it’s raining, and I’ve been working all day for the family… And I have Sil and Robyn right here next to me 🙂

    And your blog is always a read or two worth!


    Comment by Lasse Karlsson | July 3, 2011 | Reply

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