Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Pause For Thought

I was asked a question a few weeks ago. Is there a pause in a constant tension cast? My immediate answer was I don’t know, my second reaction was whats a constant tension cast?

In theory a CT cast is one where the rod and line are in constant motion so you would expect to see the rod tip traveling in an oval path constantly pulling the line in its wake. That’s not what I saw however when I watched some clips on YouTube. I saw a loop being formed and if a loop is formed the line has to have passed the rod tip. If the line has passed the rod tip it means it is no longer being pulled, if it’s no longer being pulled it means you have to wait for it to straighten before the next stroke, if you are waiting for it to straighten you must be pausing………except….. you might not be!

What is the pause, apart from being Essential? I bet if you were asked the question your answer would be something like ‘the time it takes for the loop to unroll’ which I couldn’t argue with. But let’s take it a step further. If you had a student who either kept letting the line fall to the ground between strokes or you kept hearing whipcracks you would tell him his timing was off and that’s what the pause really is, it’s a timing issue.

With that in mind we can take another look at the pause on a CT cast, especially a shortish river type cast. Is there a timing issue with a CT cast? Yes, there has to be if a loop has been formed, but it does not have to involve the waiting period you would have with a conventional overhead cast, you only need to adjust the speed you move the rod tip at. There will be a natural pause as the stroke moves from one direction to another anyway so all you have to do is adjust your hand speed to accomplish it in a way that makes the cast smooth. As far as I can see line speed and cadence is faster on a CT cast than with a conventional O/H cast, especially if you underline by several weights as I understand happens if you use the TLT technique, so it may appear that there is no pause but as far as I can see the only pure constant tension cast where the line is being pulled by the rod top would be the helicopter cast and the figure of eight that we sometimes use for students to get used to the feel of a rod with some line outside the rod tip.

There is a lot of hype and myth surrounding CT casting. One day I might get to watch a true exponent and get a better insight. Until then I can only call it as I see it, and I see a pause.


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


  1. Excellent Mike!

    Comment by Andrew Parker | November 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. Mike, look at http://vimeo.com/12031031 and also http://fcff.org/pdf/The%20Mulson%20Wind%20Flyfisher%20Version.pdf . You may see a pause here but if there is one its not obvious

    Comment by Tony | November 16, 2011 | Reply

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