The EFFF Masters Test - Theory 1

Once again I appear to be modifying my stroke – for one thing I'm experimenting with open stance and a forward push on the roll cast (which works especially well when combined with a horizontal haul on the backhand switch – I'll have to make a video)… anyway…

I thought I'd make a crack at the start of the theory. Some of these questions are pretty tough, some of my answers contradict recognised text on the subject – especially with regards to the double-haul and even how it is that flycasting works exactly. But you knew that already ;-)

1. What are the reasons for learning the double haul?

Since the haul is applied as the rod is unflexing (there you go – just failed) the double haul is directly increasing line speed. The line is travelling at the speed of the tip of the rod plus the speed of the haul (just failed again). This additional line velocity directly equates to longer casts. And because we can increase line speed independent to anything that the tip might be doing, we can cast some wicked little loops beneath braches where the big trout live.

I wanted to write something very serious... you know textbook stuff… and just when I think I'm about to do it I ruin it all and start talking about big trout. Oh well, let's carry on…

2. Explain the most important factor for casting accuracy.

The most important thing is to make sure that the line travels directly over the tip of the rod.

That was my answer. Of course when side-casting the line does not necessarily do this and it certainly doesn't travel vertically over the rod tip. And so a better answer would be to make sure that the rod travels directly in one plane and not in a curve. So that was my answer.

As a footnote – not that I will be allowed this; this is merely for the purposes of Sexyloops (although I might surprise them yet) – I remember reading somewhere that Simon Gawesworth aims for an imaginary point within a casting ring in accuracy competitions. That precise point is important. In “Zen in the Art of Archery”, the Japanese archer becomes one with his target. So maybe that's my answer: since it is the flycaster's mind that discriminates between the target and himself, through releasing attachment to his thoughts the flycaster becomes one with the target: the flycaster becomes the target and the target becomes flycaster… this is the most important factor in casting accuracy. Oh these examiners are going to love me. By the way, you can read more from Simon in the manufacturers section.

3. How do you combine casts for getting a longer drag-free float?

Interesting question.

Presentation casts allow the controlled positioning of slack line. Some slack line casts require an angled delivery (puddle casts), others a variation in power application (positive and negative curves and the tuck cast being good examples) and yet others utilise an after-the-stop rod movement (wiggle, reach mend, parachute cast). The experienced flycaster can combine several of these casts together to create such casts as the delightful “curved wiggle puddle cast” and the ubiquitous “kinky side-arm tuck hump cast”. Anyone interested in exploring this subject to its conclusion would be well advised to read Jason Borger's “The Nature of Flycasting”.

4. There is no question 4 - which is surprising me too.

5. What is the result of a high rod stop on the back cast?

Well it depends what has happened before. I think the answer that the questioner is looking for is a “steep upwardly angled backcast”. All that matters here is the direction the tip of the rod travels: a straight-line path gives a tight loop and the line follows the path of the rod tip. If the rod tip travels upwards then that is where the line will go.

Aside: many casters (even the good ones) bring the line underneath the rod tip on the back cast – TLT, Belgian Cast, hell even the Flip-flop sometimes – making it possible to get a high back cast with a relatively low stop.

It's good this, isn't it? :-) I wonder what's next…

6. What is the result of a straight line movement of your rod tip during the power stroke?

Easy answer: a tight loop.

Slightly more technical answer: than depends on the relationship of the straight-line path compared to the angle of the flyline. For example if the flyline is angled down on the backcast, a downward forward stroke will throw an open loop. Conversely a backcast angled upwards with an upwardly angled forward cast will throw a tailing loop (which is in fact how I demonstrate a tailing loop).

Aside - you know, like in a play: it's important that the straight-line path follows the horizontal as well as vertical planes.

7. What is the most important factor in distance casting?

I'd say a tight loop. But you are also going to need high line speed and with DT's in particular (but also WF's) lots of line up in the air into the backcast.

Ian Walker recently said something like this: for 120 ft cast with a WF you'll stick 80 ft in the backcast and then shoot 40 on the forward. With a Shooting Head 40 into the backcast and then shoot 80 on the forward. And he should know.

8. What is the best term to describe the most important part of casting?


The “Stop”. An abrupt stop is the most important part of casting. But a deep spiritual connection to the earth comes in a close second.

9. Describe the line angle when casting 20 feet or less.


This is an odd question. And I'm not sure that my answer's right: if I'm casting less than 20 feet I'll make a parachute cast. And if I'm casting less than 20 feet and I'm not making a parachute cast, then I'll make a sidecast to keep the rod tip out of the big trout's window of vision. So my answer is horizontal (in both cases).

I hope it's not multiple choice.

10. Why do you make a positive stop at the end of the back and end of the forward cast?

The stopped tip provides an anchor position for the flyline to pass enabling it to form a loop as it does so. The more abrupt the (rotational) stop the straighter the path of the rod tip as it unloads and the tighter the formed loop. In addition the expected answer is that an abrupt stop will deliver a more efficient energy transfer between the rod and the line… like a bullet (Frank ;-))

11. What is the main function of the double haul?

This is a bit like question 1. Maybe it's a trick question. The double haul directly increases line speed. Most people use it for distance.

12. When should you make manoeuvres of the rod tip to make various slack line casts?

During the shooting of line on the forward cast: “Caster Master, when he perform little rod tip manoeuvre right away after shooting - slack line happening near leader; when Caster Master he wait – then slack line happening at Caster Master feet”

13. How do you cast directly into a wind?

You need to do two things: the first is you need to cast a tight loop (straight path of rod tip); the second is that you must take out the “hover” on the forward cast. You do this by rotating the casting arc forwards - delivering a higher backcast and a lower forward cast. The most important thing is the backcast: it must be angled steeper than normal. The best way to achieve this is to “tuck up” with the elbow – this forces the hand to traverse the backcast at a steeper incline – make sure you stop the rod early and remember to drift. (There is a nice little page on this here by the way)

In addition a haul on the forward cast is an important fellow and a final haul as the loop is unfurling can help kick the fly over. We're getting advanced now – but hey this is the Master's page – in hurricanes, I'll knock the whole thing over to the side and deliver a side-arm cast with an upwardly inclined backcast. This has the benefit of having a shallower incline to the wind. Another little thing that can be useful – and it's not on this site at the moment – is the squat cast; whereby on the forward delivery you bend your knees (squatting), delivering a tight low forward cast.

Oh yeah – “high backcast”.


14. Why should there always be tension on the line between your hand and the 1st guide?

Flycasting is a silky smooth business (it's what makes us flyfishers attractive to the ladies) and as such it's important to remain in touch with our loop at all times. If we were to allow slack line to form in the manner you suggest then at some point that slack line will disappear and no doubt in an uncontrolled and violent fashion, this would destroy our silky smoothness and the cast would fuck up.

15. What is the most important factor in distance casting?

Height (see question 7).

Well that's enough for now – otherwise I may get into trouble - and yes I know these answers should be short and sharp. No doubt I'll now get a barrage of emails and there will be a rush to the bulletin board...

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