The EFFF Masters Test - Theory 3

Once again it's back to the EFFF-Masters theory. It's been pretty good so far and is opening up whole new areas of (my) understanding and is already filtering into the Dirty Harry series. The left hand is catching up with the right and I'm working on accuracy now. Of course this is outside the syllabus but I figure that if I've got to do some left-handed stuff then I might as well get good at it and be able to do it all. Apart from which it will make me a better flyfisher.

31. Does a rod's action contribute to the tailing loop problem?

It's easier to force the tip of a soft bendy rod below the straight-line path and so yes – and a good reason to try one of course.

32. What can you tell me about the line speed in distance casting?

Distance is mainly about two things: line speed and loop diameter. All else being equal the higher the line speed the further the cast. I think that's pretty obvious, but what's interesting is that air resistance is the square of velocity, which means that we'll eventually reach the point where the line will just not travel any further no matter how much speed we give it. I'd like to know what the maximum possible distance is for a 5-weight WF. I reckon we can find out too but I'm just not sure whether we know enough yet to do it with computers alone. Jon Allen (distance caster extraordinaire) is building a Casting Machine in his garage. Bruce Richards says he thinks it's a good idea and he had thought about it too, meaning it really was a good idea, and it shouldn't be too complicated. So we'll see what happens. The hard part of course might be in stopping it :-)

33. How do you cast sink tip lines?

Hmm. Interesting. Well it's important that you make the lift using a roll cast in order to lay the line in front, either on the surface or in the air, before making the backcast. The change in line diameters also presents an interesting situation when the loop unrolls through the transition and the top leg of the loop will accelerate. I'd suggest less line speed and a more open loop in order to compensate for this – but I might be wrong :-)

34. How do you cast heavy nymphs or streamers?

With short thick tapered leaders, wider loops, extended Flip-flop drifting techniques and laying the rod slightly over to the side so that it doesn't knock you out/smash the rod when it all goes wrong.

35. Are wind knots caused by high or low line speed or independent from it?

Completely independent. Tailing loops create wind knots.

36. Does going up one line size make distance casting easier?

Nope, getting a lesson makes distance casting easier. These questions are quite easy this week aren't they?

37. Is a smooth casting stroke most efficient?

A straight-line path (SLP) of the rod tip is most efficient, both in the horizontal and vertical planes. A smooth casting stroke is one of the components that enables this.

38. Should the rod travel in a wide arc when casting long?

When casting long (interesting expression) it's important to aerialise a lot of line, this increase in casting mass will force a deeper flex in the rod necessitating a widened casting arc in order to maintain the SLP… so yes.

39. Describe how to make a correct double haul (except tournament casting).

I say this: say “stop” to yourself every time you stop the rod, and then replace "stop” with the “down” in downup of the hauling hand. Many instructors teach that the haul should be applied throughout the entire stroke. When I do this my loops are not so tight - now this is interesting and I've been sitting here trying to work out why this should be so, as you do, and I have absolutely no idea (see how little we know?) - I reckon the answer to this one will come with a video camera. I use this through-stroke hauling to control the size of the loop sometimes. Check this out.

And in a recent email with Günter Feuerstein he says he does the same thing and he agrees with the loop thing too :-)

40. Describe a slack line cast.

Any cast other than a straight-line cast. Used for eliminating/creating drag, casting around objects, looking cool.

41. Explain the casting flaw that most commonly causes tailing loops.

Too much power, especially when applied too early on in the stroke, which forces the tip to dip under the Straight Line Path.

42. Describe how to pick up a long line from water.

I can think of two techniques. I use (what I call) the “extended lift”: I reach forward with the rod hand making a long lift with a depressed wrist and finally at the last moment flick the line upward. Gently hauling throughout the lift helps immensely. The other technique is my friend Henry Lowe's “Dynamic Lift” (I call it the catchier “flick-lift”): Henry abruptly flicks the rod forward to the horizontal lifting the line along its length before making an up - or Belgian - cast.

43 Describe the difference of a short cast in comparison to a 30-40 ft. cast.

Firstly for practical fishing terms short casts under normal circumstances should be side casts, this keeps the rod out of the trout's window of vision. Goddard and Clarke clearly showed how the rod is apparent when it appears in the window, for one thing its width is magnified, and for another it shouldn't be there in the first place. By short cast I assume that the questioner is assuming that the fish is so damn close that if we are going to use flyline to carry the fly out we are going to have to “get rid of it again”. A perfect example is the use of a parachute cast, or a reach-up mend as the line is landing (sometimes you can make an overhead short cast without spooking fish – such as when drifting loch-style or down the banks of the X River in NZ where large browns are tucked in close to the sedgy edges). That of course was the answer the question was seeking – the long way - but let's take it further: I often cast with little or no flyline. Remember I have Stealth Master Camo-Guy as a mate and that sort of crazy shit rubs off on you after a while. Using a tapered leader it is quite possible to cast a dry fly with no flyline and a leaded nymph of course is a dead cinch. In fact I often cast with no flyline and catch a hell of a lot of fish this way.


44. Describe the mechanics of shooting line when distance casting.

This is something I picked up recently in my “Over the Fence Shooting-head Shoot-out” and thanks to Ian Walker… you have to execute the line release the instant you complete the haul. Here's what is happening. You wind the rod up (flex it), you squeeze-stop the rod (I've starting saying squeeze-stop to see if less people argue with me) simultaneously hauling with the left. The maximum speed of the haul will/should coincide with maximum speed of the tip (which occurs when the rod tip is perfectly straight on the forward bounce/unloading phase of the rod). This is the point to let go. Hanging on turns the loop over too quickly and the loop will actually open more than otherwise when the rod kicks down (you can check this out for yourself when practicing the Switch Cast BTW).

45. Describe how and when to use a reach cast.

Blimey, this could be a long one. The main use of a reach cast is to throw an upstream mend but you could also use it to throw a downstream mend, to change the angle of the cast so it appears that you cast from somewhere else (that can be important – especially when Mugwai Hunting) or to place the line around an obstruction such as a rock. You could also use it to reach around the fish so that you don't line it but I reckon that there are better techniques - such as an overpowered side cast.

In order to make a reach cast you make an overhead cast and then, after the loop is formed, reach the rod out to the side that you wish to place the mend. OK here goes: you can shoot line, or not, normally you will, but maybe you want to make a reach-tuck cast in which case you probably won't. You can vary how far you reach – yes you can extend your arm. You can vary when you reach: early/late/never – no not never. You can choose to reach back or not. If you come back you have a curve. If you don't come back you have an angled cast. Basically you can have one complicated mother of a cast if you so wish.

That's it. How am I doing so far? Remember to check the bulletin board where we are having some great discussions on this stuff. And if you are an FFF guy in the US - help! - these questions are US orientated with "you gotta pop the rod" answers in mind - if you see anything that just doesn't add up then please tell me; I've never even heard some of these questions before! Thanks, Paul :-)

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