Fly Casting - Pushing or Pulling The Rod

Fly Casting - Pushing or Pulling The Rod

Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Let's keep this short: It doesn't matter!

My friend Aitor Coteron was posting some Spey casting details on his fine blog and a discussion about pulling vs. pushing was started for probably a thousandth time. :)

Many excellent fly casting teachers in the old times would have told you to pull the rod in the direction of the cast instead of pushing it. The truth is we all had a lack of understanding the details of our movements.
What it really was about is: ROTATION AT THE RIGHT TIME.

For every fly cast we move our rod along a stroke and then within this stroke we rotate the rod in order to create the desired (matching) line speed. Those of you who are yet not aware of how to best position the rotation within the stroke will most probably rotate the rod throughout the whole stroke. Those who do know how to make it better - especially when aiming for tight loops, will mostly position the rotation close to the end of the stroke. It's exactly that what many fly casting teachers kind of were after when teaching to pull instead of pushing the rod.

Pushing and pulling are just two terms, which are hard to be defined precisely for the whole stroke in fly casting. That is when we are talking about the whole fly rod movement and not just the grip or the tip of it. You may easily conclude, that at some point you are pushing the grip of your rod in order to pull the tip. Of course that brings in a lot of unnecessary discussions between fly casting instructors. 

The only thing that matters is, to understand your movements allowing you to position the rotation of the rod in exactly the way you need to in regard of shaping the desired loop. For a wide loop that can be during the whole stroke and again for a tight loop it would be as close to the end of the stroke as possible.

In order to position the rotation of your rod close to the end of the stroke it might be worth learning to start your cast with moving your elbow first and then when you are running out of upper arm start to tilt the forearm forward. To position the rotation even closer to the end of the stroke you may additionally use your wrist to start the rotation when you are almost running out of forearm at the end of your stroke.

Again: If you call these movements to be pushing or pulling doesn't matter to me as long as you position the rotation of the fly rod in a proper way matching your desired loop shapes.

Think about how many fine fly casting teachers we are having around the globe, who are not having english language as their native one (I am one of them) and you can imagine this supports such a wasteless discussion about these two old terms and how to exactly adapt them into fly casting descriptions. We better leave em out! ;)

Besides that...

Last week we had extremely hot weather in Germany. The air temperatur climbed up to 39 ┬░Celsius (measured in the shadows). That is an all time record. Many of our rivers are very low and coming in a water temperature, that allows for little oxygen. A lot of fish starting to get in trouble. They stop eating and try to survive. Carp though love such a hot summer. They are still in a proper mood and offer a fantastic fly fishing right now. I was fishing for them on the surface with bred imitating flies as well as with nymphs just below the surface. To present my nymphs I use small strike indicators. All in all I had a fantastic and pretty catchy week.

During the weekend I was teaching Wilhelm how to cast and fish with the fly rod. Our mission was to have him catching a first fish (a pike) on fly rod. A difficult task based on these high temperatures. Anyway we had lots of fun and finally could find some pike willing to take our flies in the evening. When the sun shines all day long many of the underwater plants produce some oxygen. That is why a pike would be in his best mood in the early evening. In the early morning the oxygen level instead was too low and we saw zero activities. Thanks a lot to Wilhelm for an excellent weekend!

Right now I am about to start fishing again, Can't wait any longer! ;)

Great week to all of you!

All my best

Bernd

Some pictures form the last days...

fly fishing workshop