Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

And Now For Something Possibly Useful

I think I have written about this before but it has never, to my knowledge, been picked up on and discussed.

I was doing some filming a few years ago to see if there was a visible difference in casting angle between hauled and un-hauled casts to the same distance. I cast 20/30/40, up to about 100′ hauled and un-hauled. I could not see any visible difference in casting arc between the two although theoretically there should be. But that’s another story. While I was doing all this it gradually dawned on me that line fall  (the time it took the line to land from the stop) was pretty much the same regardless of how far I was casting. About three seconds. I suspect that many of us assume the further we were casting the longer the line was in the air. I did a series of casts trying to keep the line as horizontal as I could and was slightly taken aback when I realised the time frame from stop to line land was pretty similar no matter how far I was casting. Of course we can give ourselves a little bit more time by altering trajectory upwards but this will only give us another second or so. If we fired a bullet for maximum distance I understand that the trajectory would need to be about 45deg upwards. The bullet is only taking itself along so is only subject to the laws of gravity, air resistance, drag, etc. A loop has all these plus it’s trying to drag an ever-increasing mass behind it as well (as we shoot line) so a 45deg trajectory is far from the best angle of delivery, in fact I would be surprised if even 20deg was the upwards trajectory for distance. But there again this is not what I want to discuss, better brains than mine can work that one out.

What is the difference between a 20′ cast and a 120′ cast if they only have a similar time frame to get to where they are going? It can only be line speed. The problem is that to achieve maximum effective linespeed* we have to increase everything and increasing everything (stroke length, casting angle, haul speed and length) means more margin for errors in things like tracking, application of force etc. The little things that you can get away with on your fishing casts become magnified to major efficiency problems when you go for distance. Linespeed isn’t about adding brute force to the casting stroke it’s about adding speed. To get this speed we need the whole of the overall casting stroke to be effective, we need to be moving a taut line 180deg from the backcast. We need to add the haul at the moment it is going to add directly to line speed and we need to release the line at the perfect moment of maximum linespeed.

The various parts of the casting stroke now break down to exquisite peices of timing and once you release the line you only have three or four seconds to see if you got it all right.

* Maximum effective linespeed. Believe it or not linespeed can be too fast. Not so much on full lines but certainly on some weight forward lines and shooting heads. Basically loop speed is half linespeed on a unhauled cast plus whatever your haul speed is on a hauled cast. If loop speed is too fast it will turnover before you have reached maximum distance and all you have left is line momentum which almost instantly dissipates and the line collapses in an ugly pile. The opposite can happen as well, loop speed too slow…with similar results.

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February 10, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

3 Comments »

  1. Ain’t gravity a bitch!

    Comment by Tony King | February 10, 2013 | Reply

  2. Love gravity, without it, the fly would never land, and we would fall of the earth 😉

    Mike-> Are you really really sure we can have too much linespeed?

    Comment by Lasse Karlsson | February 10, 2013 | Reply

  3. Yes Tony, but not often concidered,

    I’m sure you can Lasse, in certain circumstances.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | February 10, 2013 | Reply


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