The EFFF Masters Test - Theory 2

Well having just disproved the widely accepted double haul theory they will now no doubt make me an honorary EFFF Master flycasting instructor. But just in case they don't and do something else (like decide to examine me harder then ever before) I'd better get on and answer some more of these tough searching questions.

16 Why do you mend the line?

You mend line in order to create or negate drag. Drag being the situation when the fly is moving at a different speed to its surrounding current and this being due to the influence of the flyline and its influencing current.

Okay so there's a better answer but I'm taking this exam at 9 o' clock in the morning and that's when I usually go to bed – so all my answers are going to be like this. Creating drag is less common of course and we do it for skated sedges and induced takes – you know, fishing stuff.

17 What can you tell me about the direction of front and back cast when casting a well-shaped loop?

The correct answer is that the plane of the backcast should be at such an angle so that when the line has fully straightened it is diametric to the plane of the forward cast. For a horizontal forward sexyloop (let's get these terms right now) one needs to cast at an upward inclination for the backcast and the more line you're bunging up there the steeper the angle required.

18 When does the loop start to form?

The loop starts to form immediately after the rod tip has straightened on the forward “bounce”.

At this point the rod tip is travelling quickest (Bruce Richards is emailing me stuff that proves this) and if the caster has made a correct haul the line will be travelling quicker than the tip. At this point the line passes the rod tip and forms a loop. Of course the rod tip continues to bounce forward and down and opens the loop but this is unnecessary and actually counter-productive.

19 How does the twisting of the wrist on the back cast influence the casting?

It forces the rod tip to track a curved path. If done to excess it's a fault but many good casters use it to form wickedly tight loops on the backcast (especially those from Continental Europe and some Flip-flop stylists). I'm quite partial to a bit of wrist twisting myself and it's great for knockout Spey casts.

20 How does the way of holding the handle change when casting long distances?

The answer the questioner is looking for is that as casting distances are increased the palm forwards grip should be used; this allows stroke length to be comfortably increased. Of course since I use this grip for short casts as well (and recommend it) my answer will be that it doesn't.

21 How do you perform slack line casts best?

I don't know what the questioner is looking for here, but whatever it is my answer won't be it. I'd say that one of the most important parts to good slack line casting is to give yourself plenty of room to make the tip manoeuvre. By utilising an effective drift it is possible to make the stop on the forward cast with a higher rod position. This gives more space and time to make your funky slack cast movement.

Maybe the correct answer is "positively after the rod has recovered", but it could equally be slowly, thoughtfully, in a trance, with a tapered leader, standing on your head. I hope they don't ask me this.

Maybe the answer is with a more open loop. That's also really important.

22 Can you do spey casting only with spey rods?

I can Spey cast with anything dude.


23 Are the basic fundamentals of the casting stroke in the casting of two-handed rods similar to single hand rods?

Well yes they are. But of course trout fishermen are more attractive to the women and we can double-haul.

The flyrod is a flexible lever. The longer the rod the further the tip travels for any given arc. The maximum speed we can move the tip depends (mostly) upon how quickly we can rotate the butt. Given the same rotational velocity the tip of a longer rod will travel further and therefore quicker. However the longer the rod the greater the leverage and the harder it is to turn. For most single-handed casters maximum tip velocity is achieved using a rod of about 9 feet 3 inches and not the 10 feet most people think. For this reason I can cast a 9-foot rod further than a 10-foot. Two-handed rods are different because you get to use both hands to hold the thing and so it's possible to use long, phallic 13-15 feet rods and still obtain high tip speeds.

That wasn't part of the answer – just interesting and I thought you should know.

24 How do you pick line off the water correctly?

Starting with the tip of the rod touching the water slowly raise it, making your upward acceleration after the line has lifted clear of the surface. I think that it's important to lift the elbow when you are doing this (I come forward with it too – unless I'm casting into a wind, in which case I tuck upwards) and it's important to keep the wrist depressed – sort of like the “slip” in reverse. Or you can roll cast – in fact this is the most useful method :-)

For the more exciting pick up techniques go here…

25 What is the result of a good, positive stop?

Supposedly with a good positive stop we get a better transfer of energy between the rod and line but I'm starting to think that what we are really doing is accelerating the rod tip and pulling the line quicker up to this point. It looks to me like maximum flex occurs when the rod is perpendicular to the angle of the line and not later when the stop is applied. This smacks against ALL flycasting theory of course. My question is this: does the flex in the rod travel up the blank because we stop the rod or does this start to happen when the angle between the rod and the line becomes acute? (frame be frame analysis seems to suggest the latter).

I'll take some more videos tomorrow… it's good this EFFF Masters stuff isn't it?

26 What happens if you unload the rod before the line of the back cast is straightened?

This is a curious question and I assume a trick one. When the backcast is straightening the rod is unloaded. The question perhaps should read what happens if you load the rod before the backcast has straightened. This is cowboy country: the top leg of the loop is travelling backwards and the bottom leg forward, when the loop unrolls it does so very quickly cracking the whip. If you want to understand how whip cracks and what this has in common with the roll cast and sperm movement (of all things) then go here: Whip Cracking Mystery Explained

27 Should you drift the rod forward to keep the line tight when the backcast is unrolling?

here I'm learning from a true masterNope, this is called creeping; it closes up the stroke, creates an uneven path of the rod tip when the loop finally does straighten and it's a fault. Much better would be learning to drift backwards and here is an article on the subject :-)

Mel Krieger first taught me this in the days before they invented irons.

28 What is fly casting all about?

Good question. I was hoping you'd ask me this one. It's something I've been considering and for the last twenty years; the question really is do we really want to know? Surely it's the mystery and the wonderment that makes flycasting so interesting. Of course sometimes we do discover some stuff we like to call flycasting facts, but we can never be too sure that some dude won't come along with a video camera and say “Hey, what you're saying's bollocks” and then we have to start all over again. Maybe it's what you believe it to be. You know like flycasting; “yeah it's a cool thing that makes me attractive to chicks everywhere” of course this IS true but it's not fair to say that this is what flycasting is ALL about; it's much more than this. It's about love and happiness, poetry, funky music, tailing loops, fancy wind knots, kicking your shoes off, putting them back on again, cheese sandwiches, warm British beer, a long and mysterious drive to Penrith, energy, a feeling of completeness, an exceptional Spring day, stockings, hairy armpits, an application of power, getting arrested for drinking too much, falling out of trees, escaping life, discovering who you are and deciding whether or not you should shave your head. In short flycasting encompasses everything. This is why Sexyloops is such a complicated site. It's pretty weird stuff, this flycasting business; it's definitely pointless but because of this it has a purpose. It's a life within, without life and is life. Basically is the dog's bollocks.

Odd question that one but curiously relevant I'm sure you'll agree.

29 How does the rod hand motion change from a short to a long cast?

Well this depends upon the flycasters style. Most flycasters extend the stroke length, this being the horizontal movement of the hand. All flycasters increase the rod arc - normally involving more wrist movement. Pullers of the rod tend to pull the rod hand down further.

30 When should you release the line when trying to shoot line forward?

When the rod tip is perfectly straightened during the forward bounce. Which of course – as we have recently discovered – happens to be upon completion of the haul.

Right that's all for now :-) Remember to check the bulletin board where we are having some great discussions on this stuff.

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