Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

The Enigmatic Loop

How does a loop work? What are the forces involved? What is a loop? You would think it they fairly straight forward questions. I have always had it in the back of my mind that someone, somewhere knew the answer. I just hadn’t heard it. It comes as a bit of a surprise to find out that in fact no-one knows how the bloody thing works. All very disconcerting for someone who bases his casting instruction around creating the things. However during the process of trying to find out how a loop works I have discovered a lot of things that aren’t involved in how they work. Centrifugal force for one. Apparently it doesn’t even exist. As far as I understand it the expression is just used to give a description of something revolving around a fixed object (like whirling a ball around and around attached to a piece of string while holding the string). The force involved in that is actually centripetal and there are no centripetal forces in a loop (so I understand). Apparently it’s not a wave either, verified twice, independently, within a matter of minutes  last weekend. It is a kind of wave. What kind  of wave it is was apparently unexplainable. Then there are the things that are actually involved like momentum, tension, drag and gravity, but not the conservation of momentum (or energy for that matter) because that (or those) are offset by drag and gravity and would also depend on which way you were casting in relation to any wind. Then there is the conundrum; is the fly leg pushing into the loop? Is the fly leg being pulled into the loop? Is there some sort of equilibrium?

All this leaves me in a bit of a quandary because, for me, the very essence of fly casting is creating a loop. I demonstrate how the loop is the fly delivery system. I eulogise on how beautiful they are, how dynamic they can be, that the rod is just a tool for launching loops. I now discover that that the whole thing is mysterious , ethereal, perhaps even magical. Certainly not the almost sentient, dynamic, living, breathing entity that I have been spouting off about to my students in an effort to get them to understand how vital they are.

Perhaps if I ever did discover how a loop works I will be so disappointed at the simplicity of it or overwhelmed by the complexity of it that I will give it all up.

So, if anyone tells you they understand how a loop works take it with a pinch of salt.


June 11, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Don’t ya love a mystery, always thought(hoped) it more art than science

    Comment by Tony King | June 11, 2013 | Reply

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