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Timing: Wait for the line to unroll!


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Ronan's report

Wednesday 22 October, 2014

"And then start the next cast." That's the concept, which a fair number of fly casting instructors taught me during the past two decades. A few other instructors taught me to start acceleration (of the next cast) just BEFORE the actual cast will be fully unrolled.

What is right? Well, that depends!

In my experience the perfect timing in fly casting mainly depends on 4 key points:

a) your fly

b) your leader

c) your line speed

d) your (fly casting) style

First of all: Why do some fly casting instructors teach to wait for the line (and leader) to fully unroll first - while others don't!?

Simply both methods have pros and cons. If you don't wait for the line (and leader) to unroll first, you easily may force your fly (or at least parts of it) into a heavy acceleration just before the leader will be fully unrolled. And then in the point of return (between the back cast and the forward cast - or opposite) there will be a significant force acting on your fly and leader. This is much less (if any) critical, when allowing the line and leader to fully unroll first. But (and, that might be a big but depending on the circumstances) within the very millisecond the line and leader are fully unrolled, there will be a loss in tension coming in. And it is exactly this, what allows gravity to make the line drop! Of course opposite is what we want. Now back to the key points...

About key point a) & b): If the fly is large, I recommend to wait for the line and leader to fully unroll first. If for example I cast a heavy pike fly in front of a titanium leader*, it (the leader) easily breaks by too high force impact (casting-wise), when I don't wait for the line and leader to unroll first. A long leader usually pronounces this effect! The smaller the fly gets, the less critical this will be.

About key point c): Simply high line speed makes it more critical to adjust the perfect timing. Casting a large pike fly on distance and the titanium leader very easily will be broken, when aiming to start the next cast (let's call it) early. Casting in low line speed on short distance I never broke any leader no matter how large the fly was.

About key point d): Most fly casters probably have learnt to stop and pause their fly rod in exactly the point of return between the casts (forward and back cast). And that's great. Others have learnt to reposition their rod before starting the main rotation for the next cast. And this also is a great method of fly casting. Repositioning the rod during unrolling of the fly line though may offer rod hand speed to be significant when starting the main rotation for the next cast. So yes, this may bring in more tension when the fly passes the point of return. Having said this, it's fair to summarize: Cast a heavy fly in front of the thinnest titanium leader on distance using such an "improvd tension style" and your fly may never meet any fish! Definetly I never saw a single titanium leader break against any pike. But I saw many fly fishermen breaking their leaders (titanium and steel that was) casting-wise!

So after all which timing works best?

I recommend learning to wait for the line and leader to fully unroll as a basement concept. As explained above aiming for a slightly more early timing may offer additional pros in some situations depending on mainly those key factors.

My own timing was spot-on during the past days and I landed some pike and pike perch again. I think I am a little ahead of Paul's current number of fishing days per year again! ;) Some teaching was involved as well. You may find some pics in the pic of the day section as usual.

Great week to all of you!


p.s.: Probably the Sexyloops board now will bump all this down again. It's exactly that what should tell you I am spot-on here!

*Titanium can be broken easily (compared to many other materials).

Pic Of Day



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