Steve has been busy practising hard with his flycasting in the park at lunchtimes. We have had a few emails backwards and forwards. Here is the discussion…
Steve: In general it *could* have been seen as a pretty depressing experience but what I found was that I was taking a deconstructionist type approach probably as a result of conversations on the BB and between us and that remark you made about feeling the line unfolding with the mind. I practiced in a field which has 6 inch rough grass and mole hills so there was a lot of 'drag' on the line. I will need a new line after this ! I will also be doing this again today in a part of the same field where the horses have been so it is nicely trampled ( but there will be fresh mole hills! ) .
Immediate remarks are that I've never started with so much line out before when I started to think about it. I *think* this actually revealed a tendency to overpower the act of casting throughout. The first 10 minutes were pretty wild. Since I never normally start with fully 10 yards 'out there' I showed myself how much power I tend to put in the act of casting. That's a conclusion that was very much in my mind all the time actually. However; would this be a correct assessment to make 'on one's own ?
This is interesting. With less than ten yards you are not going to fully load the rod.
You are going to have to forget a lot of what you have read on this site. But when it clicks it will all fall into place. The 10 yrds will definitely make a difference and allow you to feel the rod bend
In a perfect cast should the rod 'stop' at the vertical or just past it?
By 'stop' do you mean actually motionless?
Past it. (about 1a m !) and Yes!
Keeping it as simple as possible, for now, what actually matters is the direction the tip of the rod travels. It should travel at an angle of approximately 30 degrees to the horizontal on the backcast stroke, and perfectly horizontal on the forward cast (under perfect conditions). It doesn't matter whereabouts you actually stop the rod. Indeed because rods vary in how much they bend, and since you can actually choose how much they bend, the actual positioning of the stop can vary.
Which is why I avoid the usual clockface analogy.
By stop I do actually mean motionless. Albeit for an instant. The rod must stop crisply for an effective cast.
What's the best position of the hand in relation to the wrist when performing the upward cast? You mention squeezing the hand towards the stop. My hand and wrist tends to be somewhat 'stiff' the entire time.
Whatever you find most comfortable; it's up to you. Mine is fully cocked over. You are a bit like me in as much as you have to dissect every little piece and analyse it, and then carefully put it back together again. I had a swimming coach (female) who said to me in a moment of absolute frustration, 'you bloody men, you just have to know everything, don't you? When you teach a woman how to swim she's not interested in the little things, just the feeling'. Well I want to know exactly what angle my hand should be at when it passes my body....
Ok I'm going to teach you something I have never read anywhere. It's a very important part of my cast. Place your hand in front of you palm facing directly upwards. Now cock the wrist backwards. Place a pen in your hand like the rod. Rotate from the elbow so that the rod is about 60 degrees. This is how I cast. Go and try it. Let me know what you think.
If your hand is stiff when you cast take the rod out and shake your hand about. Then try again.
I have a tendency to 'push' ( which I think is also the result of end gaining BTW – reference to flycasting and visualisation where the Alexander Technique comes up -Paul ) which means that when starting the forward movement my shoulder seems to 'lean into' it a little bit or 'push' the rod. Not at all sure about vocabulary here.
In one of your early videos you perform what really looks like a 'chopping' motion where the force *seems* to be following the direction of the elbow. Should my hand therefore be moving more quickly downwards in the forward cast?
I think I've translated this right. I took notes whilst doing this and they look a bit fractured now.
OK *I* think that pulling is a better motion. I use it. Mostly. However when
casting a purely tip action rod like the XP say, then I will push. But THAT
is for Ron. (as they say over here).
Try this. Put your right foot forward and put your weight on the back foot.
When casting consciously come downwards and not forwards. If downwards
doesn't work think 'around': rotate the shoulder and *do not* extend the
elbow; keep it locked.
Don't think 'quickly'. Never think quickly with the rod arm. Think *heavy*.
Feel for the bend in the rod.
Steve: In a previous email you wrote:
'You are a bit like me in as much as you have to dissect every little piece
and analyse it, and then carefully put it back together again. I had a
swimming coach (female) who said to me in a moment of absolute frustration,
'you bloody men, you just have to know everything, don't you? When you teach
a woman how to swim she's not interested in the little things, just the
feeling'. Well I want to know exactly what angle my hand should be at when it passes my body....'
Which of course makes it perfect for the experience.
2 totally different people and situations and ........... genders
It is interesting though because whilst performing an action I find that my
mind is trying to cover all the angles at the same time. Well at least when
I'm doing this that is.
It's like yesterday I had a turn of the head to look at the backcast
unrolling ( quite mesmerising actually ) and meanwhile another part of me is
going ' Now what's my f'ing hand doing ? '
More on this later....
I still get this actually! There comes a time when you get so caught up in the mechanics and theory that you have to forget all about it and just do it! You will never completely relax when you are thinking about what you are doing, therefore it follows that in order to make the perfect cast one must forget everything. There's something for your wife! (Steve's wife teaches the Alexander Technique – Paul)
Now on to lesson 2….