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Loop Shape Related To Tip Path


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Ronan's report

Wednesday 19 February, 2014

A hell lot has been published about the relationship between rod tip path and the resulting loop. Not all was correct though!

One of the most common mistakes here is to link a concave rod tip path to a tailing loop (or as I prefer to call it a wave in the fly-leg). Yes, I know many of you will have a book offering a fine drawing showing exactly this. But they are all wrong, since a concave tip path usually will result in an underslung loop (or upside down loop if you prefer). It's exactly that what is done in the Gebetsroither (Austrian) casting style in all back casts. What creates a wave in the fly-leg is a (usually significant) PARTIALLY concave tip path. A slightly convex tip path having a short buckle (a downwarded one) in it for example.

Slightly convex? Yes, that indeed is the next pretty common mistake to believe a straight line tip path would result in a tight loop. If we would be able to achieve a truly straight tip path (during acceleration of the rod tip) - which yet I have to see someone proving it via slow motion - the fly line would run straight into the tip (and the rod simply). That mostly doesn't happen to you? Well, I guess that is because you simply don't hit the straight line rod tip path in your real casting world. ;)

Ok, so now we have just learnt, that in truth we aim for a slightly convex or a partially straight line path maybe, but not a fully straight one. But then what kind of loop shape will we achive by such a tip path?

Simple answer: That depends on line speed as well! Casting in low line speed we may see a crossing loop. If the loop will look like crossing itself or not also depends on our position from which we look at the loop. Casting the same tip path in high line speed we may see an almost parallel loop. Almost parallel? Yes, I yet have to see a parallel one for a first time!

And that maybe is the biggest issue I have with all the fine drawings about the relationship between tip path and loop shape: Fly casting happens in our three dimensional world. And in that world from all I have seen: There is NO STRAIGHT in fly casting! At least that seems to hold 100% true in slow motion vids, which I have watched well over 2000 so far.

A fair question now might be, what all these drawings are good for, if they don't match with reality?

Personally I think they still can (and do) help us to get a better understanding of how we adjust rod movement in order to shape the desired loop. Yes, there is a lot more to learn than those drawings do offer still. But I think it also takes a lot of time to really get into a three dimensional understanding of fly casting and being able to adapt that while casting outside in reality.

Anyway having a closer look at the relationship between the casters movements, the rod movement and finally the loop shape (and how all this looks from many different angles) always was great fun to me. It helped me a lot to improve my own casting and as a teacher it helped me even more to help improving my students casting.

Hopefully I could inspire some of you to think outside the books and try to figure out what really happens in real fly casting! I am really looking forward to see new concepts matching with reality. That form of reality always happening in my lessons, when I have to find the cause for whatever casting issue my students may show up with.

1:30 am = time for me to follow a dead straight line into my bed now.

All my best


p.s.: What characterizes a proper loop to me, if not a tight (parallel legs having) one? One representing the desired shape (and speed) and being in proper line tension. It should best possible help me to hit the desired form of presenting my fly to the fish. And by far this is not always the tight loop!

Pic Of Day



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