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Ronan's report

Wednesday 13 February, 2013

A tight loop for me is a loop in which the fly-leg (usually the upper leg) and the rod-leg (usually the lower leg) will be as close together as possible. The loop front will be small or like many instructors prefer to say: POINTY. If the legs are (almost) parallel or not, doesn't matter to me since they never will be parallel anway. They might even be crossing. That can still be part of a proper tight loop as long as the fly-leg has proper tension and the loop front is pointy! Some of those loops we can see in distance casting, where we have a pointy loop front, proper tension in an almost straight fly-leg are great ones, but don't count as TIGHT (for me), if I can drive a car thru them.

Now how do we SHAPE those tight loops?

First of all we need to learn to control a few basical key elements:

1.) Always keep proper line tension during all casting. No sense in starting the casting stroke in order to form a tight loop, if you have already lost proper line tension just before the stroke starts!

2.) Proper timing (waiting for the line to unroll) is a must have in order to always start with proper line tension.

3.) Aim for smooth acceleration to an abrupt stop. The abrupt stop (high rate of deceleration) enables you to use the highest possible percentage of the given casting arc (degree of drop back and forth) to produce the desired line speed! So it will also allow you to use the smallest arc possible to achive the desired line speed!

4.) Keep the rod in plane during acceleration and deceleration.

Now if you can control these 4 key elements you are almost prepared to shape perfect tight loops. Just two more key elements to focus on!

It is important to understand, that we have to adjust the size of arc to the desired line speed. If we need high line speed, we need a wider arc. For low line speed we can use a pretty small arc.

Very important now:

5.) Use the smallest arc possible to still be able to achieve the desired line speed. There is no doubt the smallest arc most often results in the almost straight tip path, and that leads to tight loops.

Since mostly we do not only rotate the rod (forming the arc) in order to create line speed, but do also translate the rod (rod movement without changing the clock position), there is another important key element:

6.) Start to rotate the rod as late as possible during the given (or used) casting stroke (distance of rod hand movement back and forth between the stoped-rod-positions). This means: Pull, pull, pull and at the end rotate the rod. Or in other words: Translation, translation, translation first and then rotation at the end. Even if you use a small arc and a very short stroke, you want to rotate at the end of the stroke. To delay rotation for a millisecond already tigthens the loop!

Being able to control all of the above, you are ready for some serious tight and pointy loops for sure!

Anyway let me offer you one more key element to shape tight loops:

When using a very stiff rod and aiming for high line speed, we need to form a wide arc. We cannot achieve high line speed in a small arc. Moving (accelererating and decelerating) a very stiff rod thru a wide arc easily results in a too convex tip path (and therefore open loops). Now what you can do here is: Lift your rod hand just before the final stop position of the rod (rod straight position). This will again help to keep tip path much closer to a straight line and therefore help to shape tight loops.

Here you can see how I use this lifting (upward) motion when casting a completely stiff rod (watch 00:22): Tighthest loops ever.

Finally two more hints:

Use less force via rod hand and instead increase the speed of the line hand pull (during double hauling) to create the desired overall line speed.

Whatever you can do to avoid the rod counterflexing during the process of stopping it, will help to achive especially a tighter loop front! Now this can be using a stiffer rod, which does bend less and therefore counterflexes less, too. And also you can work on your technique to dampen counterflex as good as possible. I am sure you can successfully search for further information about dampening on the board as well ;). And let me tell you, that the smaller arc means the counterflexing will open up your loops less compared to wider arcs, because it (the counterflexing) happens more in the direction of the cast (when using smaller arcs). ;)

I wish all of you a lot of fun in shaping your loops and always remember: It's not the tight loops that characterizes the great caster. It's to shape the desired form of loops (tight or not tight depending on the situation) which the great caster CAN control!

All my best


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