Lee Cumming’s Triangle Method is a combination of Bill Gammel and Joan Wulff’s teaching. It’s important to remember that there is very little “new” in flycasting although apart from teaching it particularly clearly, what Lee has done is to put a Triangle around it.
[Lee Cummings is an instructor in the North of England and a fellow competition caster, Bill Gammel and his late father gave the world The Five Essentials (more on this later), Joan Wulff is the First Lady of Fly Casting]
As a student please pay attention to your wrist. To perform this practise exercise well, you should move the entire forearm during the stroke, with very little wrist movement. It is quite possible to make this work – and even look good – by only using the wrist, however very quickly this is not going to do you any favours. As a beginner one of the most common faults is using too much wrist, and since for many casts you will be using the elbow joint, using excessive wrist as well moves the rod through too wide an arc, giving you big sloppy loops. So please, when you practise this drill use minimal wrist movement and try to cast using the elbow/forearm for the bulk of the stroke.
If there is a wind blowing, then put the wind so that is blowing from behind you. If it is to one side or another it will make the exercise challenging and if it is in your face it might make it impossible! It is a drill that works best over short grass or a slippery surface. It’s harder – much harder in fact – over water.
Spend plenty of time with this exercise and make it a regular practise drill; it’s very useful for solving big wide-loop backcast problems, even in intermediate students. It has value in that you, the student, can see your loops – both back and forward and so you can correct yourself in the process – i.e. on your own. Also, with proper timing, it teaches you the Side Cast. You really want to make this your “happy cast” because at the end of this Essentials Module you are going to use it again when learning the Double Haul.
– If there is any wind then put the wind behind you.
– Cast using the forearm and not your wrist – pay attention to your wrist to make sure that you are doing it right.
– You can place targets, both to the point where you want to stop the rod tip as well as to where you want to place the loop.
– The backcast must have unrolled before you begin your forward cast – and vice-versa.
– Good and bad loops are both part of learning. You are ready to move forward when your loops are consistently good!
– If it all goes wrong and you wrap the line around your head when you attempt to aerialise the loops, then start again from the ground up.
Now I know that there are instructors who will be reading this too and so this part is for you: there are lots of ways of starting out a student fly casting, however what I like most about this method, is that for fast learners it allows more of them to learn the Double Haul early on and often in their first lesson. It’s harder for a student to learn the Double Haul if you have to introduce Side Casting at the same time! If they start with the Triangle Method, then when it comes to learning the Double Haul – and assuming we use the side casting method to teach it – then the rod hand is already familiar with the exercise and we are only teaching the line hand.
You will of course need to experiment with this in order to prove it for yourself, but this this is actually my primary reason for using it.
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