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The Collapse Cast

This was originally written for the Damned Lies series I write, but was declined because it was felt that "it wasn't relevant, we shouldn't be teaching people to pile drive their casts straight into the river, and in the UK we don't even have a Tongariro"!!! :) So I'm using it here instead (incidentally I've been getting into a bit of trouble recently for writing technical articles that no one understands). What do you think?

The Collapse Cast

We've been accused of making impossible jail breaks; we've done it, and broken out, achieved the impossible, and yet our followers have been left with their flies trailing in bushes, and their line tangled around their waders. So we've been asked to make a cast that even a duffer can perform, and so this month I am introducing a cast that a duffer achieves quite often already, even without trying, and it is called the Collapse Cast.

I was shown this one last month by a friend who's been mentioned in this series before: Herb Spannagl. Now Herb's no duffer when it comes to flycasting, in fact he's possibly the best caster in New Zealand, or so he says, and while we were out doing some cool flycasting stuff together, he powered a loop into the water, said he meant to do that, and immediately named it the Collapse Cast. I was impressed; Herb's obviously an old hand at this sort of thing.

So here's the situation: you are fishing the Tongariro River and casting enormous and weighty nymphs – “bombs” they call them – and the fish are lying deep and the water's moving swift. A straight line cast – the most useless, least practical of all river casts incidentally – simply straightens out the leader. And the bomb never gets a chance to sink, and on a river like this you need a depth charge. So what is required is a Collapse Cast.

How you make this cast:

Firstly you want a high backcast, because you are going to throw a low forward cast, and if you throw a low backcast followed by a low forward cast, all you end up with is the Crap Cast. So ensure that your back cast is high. There are of course many complicated ways of doing this, some of which even duffers manage to accomplish, but the simplest by far is to concentrate on casting directly upwards (you won't manage it of course – that's a special cast in it's own right), lifting the elbow slightly and stopping the rod tip high.

The forward cast is more dramatic.

What we are trying to achieve here is for loop to hit the water before it has straightened and for the bomb to crash land either behind or beside the tip of the flyline. It is not delicate, that is true, but it is entertaining.

In other words, what we have done is tilted – or rotated – the casting stroke forward, just like we would into the wind, only more so.

When it works nicely, the leader and the flies land with an explosion around the end of the flyline, where it is supposed you'll have your indicator. The flies will freefall and depth will quickly be obtained.

There are two common faults in executing the Collapse Cast:

1. The fly passes the end of the line and straightens the leader. You have just achieved the Straight Line Cast, in order to fix this common mistake, really concentrate on a high backcast followed by a low forward cast. Try aiming at the water, rather than above it, if that fails aim below the water, directly at the fish, remembering to take the angle of refraction into account.

2. The line goes out but a large loop is formed, and although the fly and leader successfully land in a heap beside the end of the flyline, the flyline itself is snaked all across the stream where you have no control over it. What you have done here is thrown a low backcast followed by a low forward cast – this is not something for duffers; this requires far more expertise.

The best thing about the Collapse Cast is that other anglers will mistake you for a duffer, and will give you either a wide berth or free flies.

Best used sparingly.

The tailing loop gives a similar effect, and when I return to NZ I shall be showing these to Herb :)

Next week: The Tailing Loop

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