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The "STOP"

This is actually a prelude to a piece on double hauling which I'll upload tomorrow. Charles Jardine and I write a flycasting column together for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine in the UK. We've been doing it for about three years - although it seems longer sometimes. Originally it was slackline casts and stuff and we still drop them in from time to time, but it's starting to get more technical (like).

This is one of them and it's quite straightforward but tomorrow you will see why I've chosen to use it. After the EFFF the flycasting on this site needs organising by the way... :-)

Chris Rownes teaches the STOP in SpainDamned Lies - The Stop

Ok it's not so much a “Get out of Jail” as a “Get out of Jail Free Card” and we had an argument about this one. We were going to do something else but CJ and I couldn't agree upon the physics of the thing and so we decided to do something upon which we could agree (it's like that being an instructor sometimes, which is why it's such a cool job of course; that and it makes you more attractive to women). So this one is about the “Stop”.

Ironically (perhaps) the “stop” is when it all happens and it is one of the keys to effective flycasting. You stop the rod, the flyline travels onwards passing a fixed point (ie the rod tip) and a loop is formed. Simple; yes. Complicated; yes that too. Anyway, a sudden stop is the key.

Let me explain for a “stop” is never truly instantaneous. Imagine cycling down a steep hill on a bike with only one brake (and let's make it a front one). You are travelling as fast as possible and then you get the sudden and irresistible urge to stop the bike. There are two ways to progress at this juncture in time. On the one hand you could slowly apply the brake and slow down to a gentle stop. On the other you could do something more exciting and lock the front brake and disappear over the handlebars.

In flycasting we want to disappear over the handlebars and the way we do this is by squeezing the hand as we stop the rod.

Now that sounds very simple, but it's not quite that simple, for squeezing the hand alone is not enough; you also have to relax it again immediately afterwards. That gives the crisp stop that is the handlebar effect.

A few years back Orvis brought out a dampening system designed to reduce bounce in the rod tip. They did this through incorporating a cushioning system beneath the handle. It worked incidentally and you have an equally good system and that is a relaxed hand. If you can relax it, then tight fast pointed loops should form and that is to be encouraged since they can be extremely sexy (as well as being more aerodynamically efficient you understand).

Many flycasting problems originate with a poor back (or up) cast. For tight backcasts try making a long lift and then force the back cast using only an upward squeeze of the hand. Since backcasts generally rely upon only aerialising 10 to 18 yards of flyline, the flex in the rod can often be contained within a narrow rod arc. Do this using a short speed up and stop; in other words make the “stop” your backcast.

To be continued...

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