Gordon Baker on Distance...
A correctly timed downward tug, or haul with the line hand will increase load on the rod tip, line speed, and casting distance. A single haul is a made on either the back or forward cast. A double haul requires a tug on both the back cast and forward cast. This casting element is essential for achieving maximum distances with shooting heads and heavy nymphs.
The double haul will allow you to cast further but it is first necessary to understand and master the basic cast. The essential elements:
- Slow pick-up
- Accelerate back cast to a high positive stop
- Pause to allow line to straighten
- Accelerate forward cast to a positive stop
The key to flycasting, line speed, tight loops and distance, is the positive stop. Hauls add significant extra load to the rod. Smoothness is important. Practice is important. Timing is everything.
Rod and line combinations will determine exactly how; the various elements of the cast are put together, the speed and timing of each hand in either direction, and the force necessary to load the rod and release the line. Listed below are the technique elements to achieving greater distance.
- Pick-up. Start slowly, with rod tip low and a light grip, rod butt touching forearm.
- Wrist (or Tip) Snap, and Haul/Positive Stop. Accelerate to an abrupt positive stop. Tighten grip to stop the rod. Both hands should follow each other until a quick (12” or 30cm) haul is made. The haul and positive stop finish together. Relax grip.
- Drift. Drifting both hands back following the haul/positive stop creates a longer forward casting stroke and allows time for speed wobbles in the line to be smoothed out. Let the line straighten. Keep your elbow partly bent. You can also shoot some (1-5 metres) line with the drift on the final backcast.
- Wrist (or Tip) Snap, and Haul/Positive Stop. As for above. Accelerate smoothly forward, elbow leading. Use wrist and thumb to snap the tip over with a simultaneous haul. A more positive stop and quicker haul produces higher line speeds. Higher line speeds equal more distance. Longer hauls create larger loops. Relax grip immediately after the stop.
- Shooting Line. If you are holding line in loops you can throw these backwards with the final haul, or, (preferably) form a circle with your line hand index finger and thumb - this will reduce the chances of line wrapping the reel or rod butt, particularly if it is windy.
- Grip. Thumb on top, index finger beneath thumb.
- False casting. Should be kept to a minimum. Rods can be overloaded and have little power in reserve to achieve distance. It is necessary to experiment and practice with each of the rod/line combinations you use to achieve optimum performance.
- Casting Arc. Casts should be 180 degrees apart and (usually) in the same plane. Cast lower at the back if the wind is from behind and when casting shooting heads, higher at the back when casting into the wind or when casting floating lines.
Acknowledgments to: Paul Arden, Jim Green, Left Kreh, Mel Kreiger, Steve Rajeff, George Roberts, Herb Spannagi, Mike Weddell, Joan Wulff
© Gordon Baker 2001 Revised 2002