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Ronan's report

Wednesday 14 January, 2015

A lot has been written about distance casting during the past 10 years. In my fly casting lessons pretty often I have been asked about the main keys in order to hit highest possible distances. Those students focussing on the 5wt. (Mastery Expert Distance fly line based) shootouts were asking about what those casters in the world championships did different in order to hit such incredible distances as some of them were able to prove possible.

Most advanced fly casters will probably know the typical characteristics of a serious distance cast:

a) An extra tight loop front (making the overall loop look pointy) and a straight (as possible) fly-leg.

b) Highest possible line speed.

c) An upward trajectory in the forward cast.

Of course the key questios is: How do these world class casters achieve a), b) & c)?

In my understanding the keys are:

1) The STROKE: I recommend to use an extra long stroke (serious body movement included). Especially in the back cast you really want to make sure to fully use your arm length! Of course the stroke shouldn't be any longer as you still can control it. Personally I like to recommend trying to move the rod hand as good along a straight path as possible. The straight path may point slightly upwards in the forward cast! ;)

2) The STOP: Stopping the rod (to me) mainly is decelerating the rotation. The more abrupt you can do this, the better it will be. Some expert casters may tell you about using a "stop less" cast (when using a very wide arc) or about a smooth stop. But the truth is: They all slow down rotation in a very high rate of deceleration! Definately a high forward stop is best for distance. High means clearly above horizontal.

3) The ROTATION (of the rod): It should be positioned in the very last part of the stroke. And then it should be performed in highest possible speed. From what I have seen in the world championchips it seems fair to say: The art of rotating the rod often was the key really making the difference between great experts and those few flycasters winning the tournament.

In the end there are different ways (techniques) how to rotate the rod. Using the fastest possible WRIST (based) rotation may not result in highest control for everyone, but it usually will result in highest possible rotational speed, which is a huge plus of course.

A key to position the rotation into the very last part of the back cast stroke might be not to use a fighting butt. Having said this, I should add: A fair number of great distance casters prefer to have a fighting butt! Leaning the fighting butt against (below) the forearm during the back cast seems to give those fly casters a good control about the whole movement. And that of course is a plus. But as long as the fighting butt will be leant against the forarm, the rod rotation will start as soon as the forarm will be rotated backwards. If instead we position just a reel seat slightly sideways of the forarm and then using (almost only) the wrist to position the rotation at the very end of the stroke, this offers a clear advantage to position the rotation more into the final part of the stroke. You may check the pic of the day to see both ways.

Another important key to control the rotation is the grip. Many distance experts prefer to use the V-grip during the back cast and the thumb on top grip during the forward cast. In the end everyone has to work out, which grip will result in highest rotational speed and which one will benefit the positioning of the rotation best.

4) The casting PLANE: Keep the rod in one plane during acceleration and decelaration!

5) The TIMING: Instead of stopping the rod and keeping it in the same position during unrolling, I recommend to learn how to SLIDE. Slide is repositioning the rod during unrolling (after the stop was made). Stopping the rod at 14:30 o'clock (for example) and then moving it to 13:30 o'clock (during unrolling) may significally help to increase line tension in order to fully unroll the loop in the back cast. Sliding works best when not shooting any line into the final back cast though.

Of course there are a lot more things to learn in order to win the world championships in fly casting. Hopefully I could give you some potential to improve YOUR technique!?

Nice casting to all of you!

All my best


Pic Of Day



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