Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Stroke V Arc

Casting arc or casting angle. What do you call it? I used to call it arc, got persuaded it should be angle, now I tend to interchange them. Whatever you call it is just the angular change of the rod from the start of the stroke to the end of the stroke. The rotational bit. The arc is quite frequently talked about. We talk about variable casting arc, which means learning to vary the angular change  depending on various things like the action of the rod or the amount of line we have aeralised, or the force we need to apply to cope with conditions like a head or tail wind. The mantra is the more line/force the wider the arc needs to be. Widening the casting arc is often the instruction to a client who casts tailing loops. This is a bit misleading because you can get the same result just by lengthening the casting stroke and not widening the casting arc. So lets talk about the casting stroke.

The casting stroke is the distance the hand moves from the start of the stroke to when the hand stops the rod butt. This movement can be quite stylistic. It can be a downward chopping action, a fairly horizontal movement or a down-up swooping movement or a combination. Choppers tend to have shorter strokes than those of us that translate horizontally, possibly because there is more stroke length available horizontally than there is vertically. I’m not sure. I only know I tail more often with a vertical stroke than I do with a horizontal one.

Anyway, casting stroke tends to be the poor relative in a discussion about fly casting, A bit like poor old Mr Woogy (see Chas and Dave). The fact is that without really thinking about it most of us lengthen our stroke as we widen the casting arc, or I’m pretty sure we do. One beginner fault is all arc and no stroke length, which gives the classic non loop. As we get them to introduce some stroke length we can see proper loops begin to form and as they learn to use the correct arc with the correct stroke length (and put in a stop, of course) we start to see some really nice loops.

I use the casting stroke for several things; To start the acceleration slowly and smoothly. To allow me to drag ( the rod is moved in the direction of the cast with no angular change) the rod prior to rotation. I adjust stroke length more than I adjust casting arc to alter loop width, especially when trying to tighten my loops. I lengthen stroke length to ease out tails.

Now, I may have it arse about-face with the way I adjust loop width but I find it much more simple to adjust stroke length than casting arc. The overriding benefit is that a longer stroke helps eliminate the power spike that probably caused the tip path to buckle that gave you the tailing loop in the first place.

In the end you use both casting arc and stroke length in an overall casting stroke. They shouldn’t be separated, except when discussing them. One is pretty useless without the other so don’t forget to look at your stroke length when your casting goes to pot.


November 28, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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