The following notes have been compiled by Peter Sutton and I thought that they were so good I've included them here. Of course it's not really an article, it's "notes", but we don't have a notes section on Sexyloops. Pete put this together from a video of Steve Rajeff teaching, that came by way of Sam Davis... it's a small world this flycasting world (we don't sleep with each other however).
BILL GAMMEL'S 5 ESSENTIALS OF FLY CASTING:
- The rod tip must travel along a straight line.
- Vary the size of the casting arc according to the amount of line outside the rod tip.
- The pause between each cast to allow the line to straighten must get longer as the line gets longer (correct timing). Learn to vary the timing and the stroke length to maintain the straight-line path of the rod tip.
- The power must be applied at the proper place, at the proper time.
- Slack must be kept to a minimum.
The 5 essentials plus
- Tight loops.
- Faster line speed.
- Delayed turnover time (hold more line in the air, releasing the line quickly and the appropriate trajectory).
STEVE RAJEFF'S FLY CASTING ADVICE:
- Copy the best casters (advice from Chris Korich)
- Find the natural, comfortable position of the casting arm for maximum power, speed and strength by having someone else hold the rod from behind whilst you are in a forward casting position – elbow a little out to the side and ahead of the hand.
- 'The back cast has to be perfect to make a really long front cast'.
- Tight, narrow loops on the back cast by stopping the rod very crisply.
- During false casting there is no need to reach back or drift too far.
- Use some body movement
- False cast to set it up then on the last false cast drop right back to set up the throw. Lead with the elbow and then throw it.
- The shifting of the body weight
- Feet about shoulder width apart.
- Right leg back.
- Casting hand about as high as your shoulder.
- Stop at the end of the back cast.
- Elbow goes ahead of the hand.
- Haul and cast.
- On the last back cast reach back a bit further, weight on the back foot, concentrate on elbow first, body weight forward to front foot and cast.
- Weight transfer and a perfect throwing motion.
- Use as much overhang as you are comfortable with; for fishing maybe 3' – 6' and for tournament work 15' – 20'.
- 'Overhang affects the rate at which the line unrolls'. Too short and the head flips over quickly, the heavy back end catching up with the lighter front end and lands in a heap. Too long and the head goes forward in a loop and lands without unrolling.
- Correct body position and weight transfer is important.
- Keep the elbow down and ahead of the hand.
- 'Make as long a double haul as you can on the last cast'
- On the last stroke come right up to the reel and finish with the hand all the way down back past your leg – full stretch hands, as far apart as comfortably possible.
- Don't jerk the power application or haul, accelerate.
- Stroke must be straight, don't come across your body or the cast will hook.
- Release line instantly the haul is finished.
- Quick hands and quick release.
Use the butt section of a rod and stand in front of a mirror. Experiment with your grip to get straight tracking – try the extended finger/knuckle on top grip.
The distance casting stroke is not the same as the dry fly fishing stroke. It is a longer stroke, driving up and out and finishing high. It is difficult to keep the rod in a straight plain if the back cast is extended too far back.
SINGLE HANDED FLY DISTANCE.
- Use a DT6 to practice.
- Look for tight narrow loops.
- Weight on the back foot as you go back.
- Stop short, bend the wrist a little, and drift back 6'' – 8''; go forward keeping the hand level.
- On the last back cast, drift back a little more, elbow in front of casting hand; hand moves forward in a straight line.
- Using the big rod, brace it against your forearm on the back cast.
- Practice on grass and let the line fall to the ground behind you then check the position of your arm, elbow and hand.
- Track the rod tip perfectly straight.
- Cast with the rod 'off to the side' for safety and a low trajectory. This also makes for a natural throw and follow through.
- On the forward cast, both hands move together the start to separate as the rod passes the vertical.
Related reading: Ok I've made a decision here - I've been trying to get in contact with Steve for the last two months in order to use a short movie clip and I just can't get through Loomis/Sexyloops spam filter, but since he seems like such a neat guy I'm sure he won't mind me using it... (I certainly hope not, because he's bigger than me) You can watch it here.