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> > Questions on casting, Page 2

OldredbarnOctober 16th, 2013, 2:56 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600

I was kind of reluctant to complicate this casting business for you when it shouldn't be so...The late Mel Krieger used to say simply, "Stop the rod and the line goes out." Google Mel and watch some of his casting videos on YouTube.

Lost Mel 5 years ago.

Find a copt of Gary Borger's, "Presentation"...A good compilation of tactics etc.

When you really want to take it to another level, if you can find it, read Charles Ritz's, "A Fly Fisher's Life: The Art and Mechanics of Fly Fishing"...Man! I am muddying the water here...Have fun! :)


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsOctober 17th, 2013, 12:09 am

Posts: 1776
A short rod with short casts can absorb errors such as wrist-casting, errors that would create a lot of trouble with a longer rod as well as any attempts at longer casts with any rod. One can cast short rods in close for years and not realize the trouble they are in for when they suddenly stand up straight and "air things out" a bit with a long rod and wide open water. Tight loops require a short stroke -precious little wrist needed, or wanted.

Also a 2wt line in general, even on the right rod, isn't helping either. A 2wt is a stunt line -yes fine for short casts, small flies and light terminal rigging, in tight places with zero wind. But a 4 or 5wt will do MUCH more for you, able to: stand up to breezes (or simply air for that matter), not get knocked down by every leaf and grass stem, and carry a range of hook sizes and wind resistance as well as additional terminal rigging.

Sounds to me as though wrist-casting could be a habit you picked up and will need to tame. Being able to cast long is an advantage if only for the ability to understand and control your casting. Reach out and errors expose themselves. Almost all stream trout FF fishing is a short range game where control matters most.
StokesOctober 17th, 2013, 7:00 pm
Columbia county,NY

Posts: 76
Thanks for the input,Paul.I dont have "wrist" problems with the longer 5wt and 3wt rods,in fact when I first started,I used one of those brace type things that connected the butt of the rod handle to my wrist to prevent over wristing.It just seems with the short 6ft rod,using a kind of 3/4 to almost sidearm cast I can flick it with the wrist without getting the problems I would normally get wristing the longer rods.It seems to me using my wrist I can still keep the tip in a straight line path and the loops are quite tight.
I am not overly concerned with getting longer casts,especially with the 2wt,my original post was more out of curiosity as to what could be expected from the various rods.
PaulRobertsOctober 17th, 2013, 9:06 pm

Posts: 1776
I see. 30 and 50ft casts are what average casters tend to accomplish. To get more most have to look deeper. One could definitely say that these ranges are more than adequate, even long, for most fishing. But what these ranges, as max distances, belie is control. Precise control of loops, the same ones that get you extraordinary distance, can also get you precision, flexibility, creativity, in closer.

WbranchOctober 17th, 2013, 10:17 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2618
Paul Roberts wrote;

"A 2wt is a stunt line -yes fine for short casts, small flies and light terminal rigging, in tight places with zero wind."

I agree with this comment 100%. I've fly fished for over 55 years and have never wanted to go below a #3 line because I look at lines lighter than a #3 as a joke, something some rod and line makers thought would be a good idea to make more margin selling another rod, and line. I have two #3 weight rods and have used one of them (a 8' 9" Sage LL I built 15 years ago) only twice and the other is a 8' 6" #3 that I use exclusively for Tricos in July and August on the river system I fish. Once the Tricos are done for the day the rod gets put away and out comes the #4 weight. A #4 weight rod is an expotentially better casting tool comapared to a #3
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
StokesOctober 17th, 2013, 10:54 pm
Columbia county,NY

Posts: 76
Wow,I had no idea there was such a low opinion of a 2wt.I wanted to fish some small creeks so I got a 7'6" 3wt.I was fishing the Roelif Jansen Kill with my 5wt and came across a small tributary that was running fairly high.Walked up a ways and saw some fish,small,but thought it would be a good place to try out the 3wt.I found the 7 1/2 footer too long to swing around,a lot of fairly low canopy.When I saw the Orvis 6ft 2wt I got it and I love it.I've used it a lot this year,fishing a couple of the tributaries on the Esopus as well as the headwaters up by Oliveria and a few other small creeks in the Catskills,granted there were places the 3wt would have worked,but I have absolutely no regrets with the little 6ft rod.
StokesOctober 17th, 2013, 11:30 pm
Columbia county,NY

Posts: 76
Spence,thanks for that link to Mel Kriegers vid.Although I've watched a lot of vids on casting and he covered things I'd seen before,he had a much clearer way of explaining things,for instance in one part he explained feeling the different sections of the rod loading,tip,middle and butt.I'll be looking for more of him.
PaulRobertsOctober 18th, 2013, 12:38 am

Posts: 1776
I own several little creek rods: 6, 6-1/2, 7's, and 7-1/2 fters. They are all for 3, 4, or 5wt. I used those little 6's on tight canopied streams like you describe, and a 2wt would be similar. It's spots when I wish to throw a nymph and indicator dry, yarn, or foam piece, where added mass helps a lot. Ditto for places where I need to pop line through some willow or grass leaves. I have a 7'3" 5wt I use for this purpose bc that 5 line breaks through stuff my 3 would only get draped on. This all may seem like splitting hairs, but, in the end, it's allowed me to settle on a 4wt as my all round little creek rig, bc I can do so much more with it.

For my tiny creek fishing I now use a crisp fast 7ft 4wt most often bc it has a strong enough tip to set hooks with precious little arm motion, and allows it to bow-n-arrow cast like a rifle. These are two huge advantages that have left my soft little 3's all but retired.

I hope these comments aren't offensive in any way -I do realize how much we love our fishing rods. Meant for conversation sake only.
Jmd123October 18th, 2013, 12:54 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2464
Guess I'll throw my 2 cents in here...

Carl, I think, and just my personal opinion because this is what I started with, the ideal first fly rod is an 8- to 8.5-foot 5-weight. It covers the most conditions and can handle flies from tiny to fairly large (have thrown #6 bass poppers quite well with mine). You got everything from panfish through trout to bass handled with that rod.

Lighter rods are more specialized and for the more advanced caster. My own personal favorite is a 7.5-foot 3-weight, and I do most of my fishing with that unless I need to throw much larger flies (heavily weighted #6 Woolly Buggers and up). But most of my fishing is on smaller streams, 10-30 feet wide and ankle- to chest-deep with very clear water, or small ponds and lakes from shore or in a kayak (the 5-weight gives me more distance in that situation). I like the lighter rod because I think it is stealthier, the lighter line hitting the water with less slap and being less obvious (currently fishing with a Cortland Clear Creek weight-forward floater that is olive in color for more stealth). I love fishing smaller waters and so the smaller rods (I have also used a 7-foot 3-weight, nothing shorter or lighter yet) are prefect for the fishing I mostly do.

Just my humble opinion, you may already know most of this...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Al514October 18th, 2013, 7:56 am
Central New York

Posts: 142
I've been following this post pretty close...

Part of my job at Cortland Line was to cast lines and give feedback. The other fellow I did this with had a much different casting stroke than myself, so we were always critiquing each other pretty hard. With everything we did - no matter what rod we had, no matter what line, no matter what leader we had tied on - TWO things stood out at the most important in all situations (accuracy, distance, consistency, etc.):

1. Ability of the Caster - "It's not the tool, its the mechanic" type of thing. One angler can cast circles around another angler regardless of the rod/line set up. If you can cast, you can cast.

2. Ability to Haul - The line speed jumps up, the loops tighten, leader turnover is better, you false cast less, distance is consistently achieved, and IMO accuracy improves. Hauling can also turn a cast that started off poor, into a perfectly acceptable one.

CrepuscularOctober 18th, 2013, 9:48 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919

For my tiny creek fishing I now use a crisp fast 7ft 4wt most often bc it has a strong enough tip to set hooks with precious little arm motion, and allows it to bow-n-arrow cast like a rifle. These are two huge advantages that have left my soft little 3's all but retired.

Paul I agree with this 100%. Here in the east, our options are varied when it comes to streams and flies. The problem, as I see it, with the some of lighter rods (2 wts and 3 wts that I own and have owned), are precisely what you illustrate in your example of being able to set the hook. Now some of that is line management and being in contact with the fly as best you can, but some of the lighter wt rods that I have owned and still own, just were too wimpy. So Paul's point of a crisp 4 wt is well taken, it also gives you more flexibility in fly choice and casting performance. Now that said, I have two light rods that perform well. A 6'6" #2 and a 5'6" #3 that are not gimmicks, they are serious fishing tools. but they only shine in certain situations. Small tight streams and at night when I am able to get so close to rising fish that a longer rod (>7') is a hindrance to getting good hook sets. For 90% of my small stream fishing though, I use a 7' #4.
SayfuOctober 18th, 2013, 9:54 am
Posts: 560Here is my very anti-book controversial approach. The focus on the wrist being the problem, and attempting to reduce the wrist is a poor, falsehood approach! It is WHEN the wrist is deployed that becomes the problem. If you pull the rod all the way back, and then at the very end snap your wrist you throw the line downward behind you on the backcast, and can not make a good forecast. Or, just the wrist, and no arm movement up, and back. But start the wrist as the arm moves the rod up, and back, and arm, and wrist stop moving up the ladder, and properly accomplished. ALL BATS deploy the wrist be it a ping-pong paddle, a tennis racket, a baseball bat, or a golf club as well as the fly rod bat. Most teach fly casting as if no athletes are allowed into the fraternity! The book under the arm thing, straps deployed anchoring the rod to the forearm etc. If one threw a baseball from shortstop to first they'd look like a non athletic girl having a book under their arm, and couldn't get the ball to the pitcher's mound. We fly anglers throw the line. Do it without a rod in your hand, and move the wrist with the arm movement, and watch how everything stays in line. Even on a short cast...slight arm movement, and easy wrist snap.
StokesOctober 18th, 2013, 10:28 am
Columbia county,NY

Posts: 76
Paul,absolutely no offense taken at all,in fact I really appreciate all the comments.Although I have been throwing my 5wt since the mid '90's,its pretty much always been on my lake,from a boat or canoe.I learned the basic cast and never really worked at much else.This year I decided to concentrate on the streams and soon found out there is a lot more involved in these situations.I have spent a lot of days on various waters this summer and although I havent hooked a lot of fish,my personal record for any one day is 2 small brookies in one creek and 2 very small browns on another and way too many misses throughout the season.But it hasnt discouraged me at all.I have found that fly fishing for trout is an endless learning experience and every day on the water brings new revelations.When I first learned to cast,I didnt have a computer,so it was all book learning and one thing that stood out was the fact that using the wrist was taboo.I tied the butt of the handle to my wrist to develop a good stiff wrist,complete forearm cast.Now I watch videos and see that every casting instructor has some degree of wrist movement in their stroke,which tells me I should have sprung for some instructions back then.
CrepuscularOctober 18th, 2013, 11:04 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
I have found that fly fishing for trout is an endless learning experience and every day on the water brings new revelations..

OldredbarnOctober 18th, 2013, 4:01 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Boy! We are rolling now. :)

At the end of page one of this thread is a link I posted in response to a question about the so-called "Belgium Style" of casting...Did everyone miss that one? It is one that shouldn't be skipped over, IMHO. I thought I was really stirring the pile with that one and no one even blinked...And what about Charlie Ritz, and why is Kurt hiding in the bushes on this one? :)

I can't cause any more problems unless you bite on the first one...:) Humor me!

...Ok...A few years back I was having a discussion with Joe Humphreys...If you haven't watched any of his casting vids, look him up. Those of you who have seen them know that he fishes in some very tight spots in them. I told him about a place, like the one Carl mentions above, where I cast basically inside a tunnel of trees and overhanging growth. I asked him what rod he was using and if I remember him correctly...He likes longer rods, longer than what we are talking about here, and a 4wt or higher...Now he does use some of the casts mentioned above in these tight places like the bow and arrow, etc...

Charlie Ritz has a wonderful discussion on using the non rod hand to speed up the line...He always uses this hand to hold the line and get everything rolling...I had to borrow the book, since it is out of print, but if you ever see it pick it up.

My wife is wanting to push me out the door...It is a beautiful day and I'm wasting it here chatting with you all...Ciao! Check out that link I was talking about.


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SayfuOctober 18th, 2013, 5:06 pm
Posts: 560Line speed is your fly fishing friend. and you shouldn't just deploy it with the non casting hand, but the casting hand as well. And the Belgium cast? Good for dry fly fishing as well as other forms.
EntomanOctober 18th, 2013, 5:17 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
...why is Kurt hiding in the bushes onn this one?

I was hiding because the fish were rising in front of me...:) Best hatches and rising fish of the year are/is happening right now, so forgive me for slipping away from time to time (most of the time:)).

Besides, I have little to add to the excellent posts in this thread. The only thing is perhaps a reminder that there are no absolutes:

a. Wrist casting isn't always bad (use too much arm on a calm pond and your boat will put the fish down - do it on Fall R. and you might get thrown overboard by your frustrated partner.:)) For short casting where little motion and accuracy are paramount, I like the finger on top and barely move my arm at all. Modern rods load well enough to cast 30 - 40 ft. this way with little effort. It has the added advantage of preventing the less experienced wrist from breaking too far.

b. Dark lines aren't always as stealthy as conventional wisdom purports. Especially when the line is between fish and a sky background (which is most of the time away from small tree lined creeks). Ditto light lines. Fighting with one in a breeze rarely results in accurate presentations and there's little delicacy in trying to power through with a leader that doesn't want to turn over.

c. In practical fishing situations, I try to keep my rod as low as possible when working in close - casting side arm if I can get away with it. Keeping the rod and working line below the window horizon when possible is always a good idea.

d. My elbow is rarely at my side and casting angles are all over the place. Casts are rarely straight as well. Aerial mends, reaching, and/or curves are usually employed in some fashion.

e. Roll cast pick up! Learn it, love it... Unless you're ok with putting down fish.:)

f. False casting - one or two false casts isn't always optimal. Sometimes to drop that fly in that tiny lane at the optimal time it is helpful to false cast enough to get the range and rise timing. Once established, you may not have to false cast again on short casts (until your fly starts to sink). Sometimes fish move around a little. Like a hawk circling before the dive, it's often wise to keep the cast in the air until Mr. trout shows himself again. Conversely, you can fish nymphs all day without false casting (or even a backcast) using good spey technique.

g. Regardless of how you accomplish the stroke, double hauling is the key to distance casting. Increased line speed is always mentioned but the real benefit is that it smoothes out the power application taking out those waves. Anytime you see a photo of a perfectly formed long loop, excellent hauling technique has been employed.

Well, I guess I had more to add than I intimated/promised. Sorry about that.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
StokesOctober 18th, 2013, 6:40 pm
Columbia county,NY

Posts: 76
Spence,I did read that article you linked about the Belgian cast....and I still dont know what it is other than we have the name wrong.There is a short video at the end of it that appears to be a kind of sidearm roll cast.Oh,and the grip,with the pointer at the top of the handle,which I have used from day one,even tho I always thought it was wrong,but it was comfortable to me.
SayfuOctober 18th, 2013, 7:28 pm
Posts: 560You can really make the Belgium cast an almost overhead angle as well, but the off to the casting arm side is the most used way. The key here is to NOT make the stop at the end of the backcast. Your wrist/arm then moves upward, and starts the top of the oval, and the forecast. Your arm/hand comes back farther than the standard cast. You don't lose the load in the rod once the backcast starts. What this accomplishes is your fly/leader moves in two different planes, and the problem of the leader/fly running into the line is eliminated. You eliminate that bigger, heavier wt'd fly from jerking at the stop in the back because it is traveling at a faster speed then your line, and can drop when hitting the end of the backcast with a jerk. This puts you in peril. The casts restriction is it can't send back a lot of line on the backcast. You can reach back only so far then up, and forward, and it can handle, but a modest, let's say, amount of line on the backcast.
OldredbarnOctober 18th, 2013, 11:54 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Sorry to pull you off the river Kurt! I can almost hear the breathlessness in you responses...Like you just ran in the door, smile on the face from a good day a stream, and discovering you still have to deal with Spence.

Way to go.


Carl...just a little history lesson from Mr Lore.
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood

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