Tracy&James | Sunday, 7 March 2021

There was an interesting comment posted on the board during the week (or maybe it was the week before, they’re all blending in to one for me these days), regarding the cross-over point between fly casting and fixed-spool (spin) casting. For me this is quite an intriguing question and I sense I’m going to end up on a field trying to get some empirical data at some point in the near future. I’m sure we’ve all seen chicken-chukka Lasse’s videos showing what sort of mass it’s possible to cast on fly gear, but I’m pretty sure that plastic fowl would fly further on spin gear, but as things get lighter there must be a point where fly casting wins out.

I’ve got the perfect reel for this test, a Mitchell Match 440A from my coarse fishing days.  At the time this was the reel to have and I remember desperately wanting one – the auto, finger touch bail arm opening mechanism and the tall, shallow spools made it perfect for casting light float tackle.  I was overjoyed when I eventually got to own one and I went on to catch a lot of tench with it.  I still have it and, considering how much use it got, I’d say it’s still in A1 condition.  I probably haven’t cast it for nearly 30 years now (although I have taken it out of storage now and again to wind the super-fast, smooth mechanism and hear the click-clunk of the bail arm operation) but I think now’s the time to cast it again in the name of Sexyloops experimentation.

The problem with obtaining this data is that there are essentially two main variables to be considered with respect to the fly; mass and drag.  Obviously large masses favour the spin casting gear, but casting a gram or two of lead weight is a totally different prospect to casting a bushy streamer of the same weight.  I’m not sure I’m committed enough to this test to start trying to tie identical flies with different weighted underbodies, so I’m going to have to see what I’ve got.

Now, I think it’s pretty obvious that fly casting is going to win hands down when it comes to ‘normal’ trout flies – I suspect even attempting to cast a size 16 klink on spin gear is a fools game, I think I’ll be happy with just a few feet of shoot.  However, I think things are going to get interesting once I get into my saltwater box – GT poppers and shark baitfish patterns spring to mind.

One thought I did have was making a hollowed-out popper to which weight could be added during the course of the casting i.e. by adding shot or metal foil.  This would allow the drag characteristics to be held relatively constant whilst varying the weight of the fly.  Ideally I’d like a method of increasing the drag whilst maintaining the same weight, but this is a much harder prospect.  If anyone has any thoughts on how to proceed then please get in touch with me.

Today is the last day of the PULD contest and the winners will be announced tomorrow.  I think we all know who is going to win, but there’s still chance to get your name on the scoreboard of those brave enough to attempt it.  If distance isn’t your thing then the Wiggle cast competition is hottingup.  I’m finding that I can produce the most (and accurate) wiggles when casting in the 40-50ft range, so you don’t need to be an uber distance freak to enter.  There’s a nice bottle of Welsh Whisky for the winner and it costs nothing to enter, and you never know you might improve your casting while you’re at it.

Have a great week,