Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

The Devil Rides Out

To Infinity and Beyond is the big picture, those are the basic things you need to master on your way to casting long. However, the devil is in the detail and that’s what this piece is about. The little things that when added together go to producing a near perfect cast. I say ‘near perfect’ because it is very difficult to get it 100% right, even the top guys may only get it right one in ten shots. I may be lucky to get it right one in a thousand, if that, but I would imagine I get close to 90% right most of the time and my 90% is around 120′ with a five weight.

Let’s start with stance. I use an open stance, that’s to say my left foot is in front of my right (I am right-handed). Now, I have seen some adopt this stance but still face towards where they are casting, ie, their feet point towards the target so the body is actually in a closed stance. Turn your feet to about 45 deg and you will find you can now track the rod in a straight line from pickup to stop. If your feet are pointing straight to target you will find that the hand moves in a curve around your shoulder on the way to the stop the stop, this curve can be accentuated by a bit of body rotation from the hips as well. What this does is throw the loop off to the side of the rod tip and open it up, especially if, as I often see, the rod tip goes right around the caster and it ends up on their off side. If we are casting with the breeze from behind this will present a wide area of line to the air and kill the back cast. Just what you don’t want, even in a slight breeze, or ever, come to that. Now go back to the exercises I gave you on Infinity and see if it is now easier to track the rod straight and pop a nice loop on the backcast.

Next up is the body. There are some big muscles in there so let’s use them. Start with slightly bent knees, this will create the willow rather than the oak. You will be able to move with the cast. You can put your weight on your front foot and transfer it to the back foot for the back cast and you can push off the back foot onto the front foot for your forward cast. It will allow you to bend forward for the pickup and sway back as you move towards the stop. I sway more than most, I suspect it started as a way of getting my body out of the way of my hand as it pulled through in a (hopefully) straight line. This has developed into my particular style so try to copy it if you like but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work for you, develop your own.       This body movement will add quite some length to your casting stroke, I have never measured how much it adds to my stroke length because it will vary depending on what I am doing but I suspect it is somewhere in the region of four or five feet when I am balls out going for distance, which would make my overall stroke length (hand movement from back to front) close to ten feet. If you, as some do, add a step in there as well, your stroke length will increase even more.

Some of you may prefer a closed stance, with the right foot in front if you are right-handed. I have dabbled with this because some of the best of the best use it. Be prepared to fall over now and then, I did. One benefit is tracking, closed stance can certainly straighten it up. Once I had the feel of straight tracking I switched back to open stance with better tracking because I wasn’t supple enough to make closed stance work for me. One way to help make it work is to ‘step’ during the stroke. You pick up from a closed stance, step back during the stroke into an open stance and step back into a closed stance during the forward stroke. Again, this doesn’t really work for me, it adds too many variables that can go wrong, but there again I don’t hit 130′ on a regular basis which one closed stance stepper I know does.

Boy, these little details add up to a lot of writing and we haven’t got to the arm, hand and rod yet. More to come.

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July 16, 2011 - Posted by | Distance casting, fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage, Uncategorized

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