Many thanks for your excellent website.
I particularly found your references to less effort in casting has improved my loops no end. Unfortunately, I am one who gets as much pleasure from a good cast, as I do from catching a fish, but I simply cannot cast a full line with either my SageXP 7 weight or my RPL+ 5weight and as a result I end up putting in more effort. I consistently can manage 25-28 meters.
I am sure that I am using too much overhang, but a question answered by Andy
Petherick in this month's Total Flyfisher suggests that you should not have any
more than one metre overhang with a WF or else the cast will collapse on the
Please could you offer your interpretation? I know that catching fish is
the ultimate aim, but this is becoming a barrier that I am determined to pass,
and I don't always want to resort to using a shooting head for that extra few
I did a quick check with Dave to find out what line he was using – that can be important – as well as where the 25-28 metres came from:
“Thanks for replying so swiftly. The line I have been using is a Snowbee XS Prestige. I am not using a tape measure, but estimate based on the length of my tippet (usually 15ft) and the amount of line left on the spool.”
Thanks for your email! The reason I checked regards the 28 metres is that 28 metres of line cast is not the same as 28 metres measured, and I sometimes use it as a rough guide to trying to work out casting abilities :-) and the reason I asked about the line itself is that some lines facilitate overhang (the distance between the head and the rod tip when carrying line) easier than others. WF's with short rear tapers and thin running lines are harder to carry – although not impossible. An orange TT is a good example of a line that is difficult to carry, however in the right hands an excellent caster can still carry most – if not all – of it.
The more extreme the difference in diameter between the running line and Head, and the shorter the rear taper, the harder carrying line becomes. The Snowbee Prestige is fine and I know many instructors who use this line.
A good test to try this out for yourself, is to try casting with only one metre of overhang. Take your Prestige line, pick up the head, shoot only one metre of line into the backcast and see how far the forward cast goes. It won't go very far. Overhang is required to delay turnover and for distance casting it is essential. The instructor in the magazine should have known this.
So if you're not getting distance overhang is not your problem.
This is how I look at distance casting: all else being equal, we want a tight loop and high line speed. The tight loop comes from a straight line path (SLP) of the rod tip. High line speed results from a deep flex in the rod, coupled with fast hauling hand speed. You have to work on all these things separately.
 To work on the SLP practice short range casts into a saucer without hauling. Ensure your tracking is true (bird's eye view of rod tip), this is a common fault – cast along a straight line and drop the backcast and practice dummy casting into a mirror, or better still a video camera. Bill Gammel gave some excellent advice on the Board a couple of months ago and that was to move the saucer forward one yard at a time (although it may be easier to take one step back at a time, depending on whether or not you're from Texas). When I go for distance I see myself casting down a runway at 30 metres. There's some great stroke practice drills in this newsletter.
 Deep flex in the rod: you need to apply power to put it there. The correct time to apply the majority of the power is near the end of the stroke. Simultaneously squeeze your hand as you rotate the wrist. Check out Herb Spannagl's “Slip”.
 Combining your haul (like lightening) with wrist rotation is another key. In fact there are lots of keys to distance casting and this is just general advice. Building a good solid stroke is the first and most important objective. When practicing I work on stroke, carrying line, and then haul speed and in that order. Here's some stuff on the Double Haul.
I've been doing some research into Today's Flyfisher (they are currently advertising Sexyloops' on the cover, which is very nice of them, but we rather not be associated and like being independent). The instructor in question, Andy Petherick, is in fact the editor of the magazine and a STANIC instructor.
Anyway, Dave, let us know how you get on! There are many of the world's top distance casters posting on the Board at the moment, including Ian Walker, who wears shorts when distance casting. He says that's important.
Related reading on Overhang: casting overhang, shooting into overhang, flattening the drift and of course The secret to distance casting.