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Ronan's report

Wednesday 28 January, 2015

In my last front page I was asking Paul to define a stopless (distance) cast. In his Monday FP Paul now explained a “stopless” fly cast to be:

“Instead of stopping the rod (to match casting arc to rod bend giving an intended straight tip path) what we do is to accelerate through this point, and allow the rod to unload itself. There is no hand muscle tension. Indeed we are still accelerating the rod butt as the rod unloads. At no point is any attempt made to throw a tight loop.”

Obviously Bruce was spot-on in his Sunday FP about the confusion around the name stopless!

Here is how I use my fly rod in fly casting:

I (mainly) rotate the fly rod in order to create line speed. As a consequence it bends during acceleration (increasing angular velocity). To then form a loop I decelerate the rod (decreasing angular velocity), which leads the rod to straighten. Acceleration and deceleration will be positioned within an arc. I match the size of arc (+ the accel. & decel. profile) to the desired line speed (in the first place). In addition I match the positioning of the arc to the desired casting trajectory.

In this process the rod will never just bend, straighten or both all by itself. It will always be me adjusting the force application profile – during acceleration and deceleration - to all the conditions (like the fishing situation in the first place) resulting in the rod behaving like it does. There is no such rod like a “self loading energy” or “self stopping energy” one available. And I am sure this will hold true within Paul’s whole lifetime.

Again: Unlike Paul I do not teach to stop the rod to match casting arc to rod bend but to match the size of the casting arc to the desired line speed. Having said so, I use a small arc for low speed and a wide arc for high line speed. Opposite to what many instructors teach, I also do not match the size of arc to the length of line carry. Even for a short line I may need high line speed and therefore use a relatively wide arc.

The process of stopping the rod – which of course has a significant impact on the size of arc - to me includes:

a) Straightening: The rod straightens/unbends due to me slowing down angular velocity (starting at the rod handle position).

b) Passing the rod straight position.

c) Counterflexing (until max counterflex position).

Back to the beginning I have to disagree with Paul:

For any fly cast – yes, that includes Paul performing a 5 wt. MED (long belly line) distance cast - I am pretty sure the fly rod will NOT straighten and finally pass the rod straight position without the caster having started to decelerate (slow down) the butt section of the rod first of all. At least that is what I see in all my slow motion videos. I think Bruce would agree: We won’t see a Casting Analyzer graph presenting the caster to still increase angular velocity of the butt section while the rod reaches its straight position at the end of the straightening (as Pauls wants us to believe) either.

Since I have studied a lot of videos frame by frame a fair question now may be, if I don’t see any difference in how for example Paul stops his fly rod during a distance cast compared to how Steve Rajeff stops his fly rod.

Based on studying some thousands of fly casting videos I think there are many different ways how to stop a fly rod. The main differencies for me are:

a) Slowing down angular velocity in a high rate of deceleration. Keeping the rod hand as good in position during the process of stopping as possible.

b) Slowing down angular velocity in a high rate of deceleration. Then accelerating (rotating) the butt section opposite to counterflex of the tip section. This to me is pull-back.

c) Slowing down angular velocity in a high rate of deceleration. Then moving the butt section syncron to counterflexing of the tip section. This way rebound can be reduced.

All this may (or may not) be combined with relaxing the grip. Some casters may even signifcally squeeze their grip during the whole stop. The rod straight position as well as the deceleration profile may also be varied (better adjusted) of course. However it's not black or white and I see many different movements happening in the true world of fly casting.

In the pic of the day section I put a spot light on Paul Arden and Steve Rajeff (back) stopping their rod in the world championship distance casting the MED 5wt..

Nice loops to all of you!

All my best


p.s.: p.s.: Paul said not to try to shape a tight loop in distance casting. In fact his loops are pretty tight. Probably his loops are SELF-FORMING! Maybe we’ll read more about them next Monday!? ;)

Pic Of Day



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