Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

And In Conclusion

Ah well. Try as I might I cannot put off the evil hour. This is the concluding part of three parter on how to cast 100′.

The problem for me is that there is no one way to do it. We are not clones. Even if you pick one just particular style there are numerous variations. Add to that the different styles you have a multitude of possibilities and I don’t know them all.

If there is one thing that is constant about my posts is the constant reminder that we are all different physically which means we all have different ways of doing things. However. I have seen a lot of very good distance casters and there are some things that they all do, the common denominators if you like, so let’s have a look some of them.

I have never met a good distance caster who doesn’t watch their back cast. If you don’t watch it you are only ever going to see half the picture. Perhaps I should have said all distance casters have great back casts and the reason it is great is because they watch it. There is a link between the eye and the body that always improves the back cast. Without the visual reference the loops will nearly always be wider.  You would think that after watching thousands and thousands of back casts while you practice your body knows what to do and you can now stop watching, I almost guarantee your un watched back cast will be shite. In one of my much earlier posts I created the sixth Essential ”use your bloody eyes”. I still think they are one of, if not the, most important aspect of learning distance casting.

Next up is progressive. We all like progressive rods but only the best casters have progressive actions. They have a smoothness we can see, and envy. The end of the stroke may be explosive but the build up, though rapid in some cases, is still progressive. A smooth acceleration to a stop. You need to acquire the full weight of the line and smoothly accelerate. You do not just bang the rod forward as fast as you can regardless. This relates back to the back cast. If it is taut you will feel the heaviness in the tip as you acquire the line. If your back cast is not taut you won’t feel anything and half your stroke length may be lost in acquiring the line. With a taut line you will be moving the end of the fly line immediately and if you are moving the end of the line you are moving all of it. This means the whole of the stroke is effective and actually allows you to be progressive rather than snatchy.

The haul. Ideally the end of the haul should co-inside with rod straight (loop formation). This takes exquisite timing and is difficult to achieve. In most cases the haul actually carries on into counter flex and even back to RSP2. I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it, we are talking nano seconds. But, the haul should never finish before loop formation, ie, during the unloading phase of the rod. You will immediately lose line tension, the rod will unload prematurely and you will probably throw a tailing loop. It’s better to finish the haul slightly late rather than slightly early. You can see from this that the point where we start to haul is important. The longer the stroke and the further we are casting the later the haul will start so as to make sure that the hauling hand reaches the point of extreme travel and line release as near to loop formation as we can get it. The haul is also as progressive as the casting stroke.

There are lots of little tweaks that you can do to achieve a good cast but the majority of these add up to your personal style. I’m not here to alter your style. I just want you to concentrate on technique. This piece has taken so long to write because originally I was going to write about all my personal little casting tweaks and visualizations but I decided that it’s easy to become mired in the minutia and lose the big picture.

Clean your line, throw a good back cast and smoothly accelerate to a stop/ haul and release. It really is that simple.

POST SCRIPT; Here is a clip of Lasse Karlsson doing something I think is pretty amazing http://vimeo.com/26927235 He is the master of exquisite timing and seems able to vary his haul and release almost microscopically. As you will read in his comments he disagrees with me about finishing the haul early (or release) But I don’t see an early release in his clips. The last segment is, to my eye, perfect release timing.

Anyway, just enjoy watching probably the most elegant caster I have ever seen.


October 22, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. As usual bloody brilliant!!!

    Except : “But, the haul should never finish before loop formation, ie, during the unloading phase of the rod. You will immediately lose line tension, the rod will unload prematurely and you will probably throw a tailing loop.”

    I’m willing to debate that in depth over a beer next time Mike 😉


    Comment by Lasse Karlsson | October 22, 2011 | Reply

  2. That is a fantastic clip Lasse. I will admit to a bit of lazy writing…perhaps. I really should have said not release the line before RSP. If we release too early then I think what I wrote is correct.
    I wish I had the ability to minutely alter the timing of my haul like you show in the clip. Perhaps another one with early release??

    Comment by Mike Heritage | October 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. But Mike, I get my best casts distance wise from releasing before RSP1 😎

    I’d say that releasing at a point where the tip can still rise would cause the trouble 🙂

    Will get on some footage with bigger spread in the releases, really earlly and really late are the next ones, just waiting for a day with sun, no wind and an hour of free time in the afternoon….


    Comment by Lasse Karlsson | October 22, 2011 | Reply

  4. I hate to interupt a good discussion – so I won’t, do you mind if I sit and learn. Cheers Mike.


    Comment by nirogers | October 22, 2011 | Reply

  5. Help yourself Nigel, we’re all here to learn.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | October 22, 2011 | Reply

  6. Hi Mike,

    I think that this is a good example of ending the haul way before RSP without any problem with tailing loops:

    The question is wether the rod tip rises over the upcoming line or not, and that depends on the angle between horizontal and rod butt.

    Good post, as usual.

    Comment by Aitor | October 23, 2011 | Reply

  7. Thanks for the clip Aitor. I guess if the line is not released then tension is maintained although the rod will unload faster because of the haul increased line speed. What happens on the forward stroke if the line is released before RSP? I agree the rod angle will make a difference.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | October 23, 2011 | Reply

  8. MIke,
    There is a very interesting (although quite techie) article on sexyloops that is relevant to your blogpost. I believe it has been there for some time, and the links to the cast videos no longer work, but it does a very good job of applying science to a cast and explaining what is going on. The article is ‘The Rod & The Cast’ by Grunde Løvoll and Jason Borger

    Comment by David Fisher | November 6, 2011 | Reply

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