Shoot Versus Carry

Shoot Versus Carry

Nick Moore | Wednesday, 4 May 2022

How much line do you need to carry to hit 100’ with a #5? This is a great question that was asked on the board, but it’s not quite so simple. It depends on the line, the casters ability and conditions. There are other factors such as ring wear etc, but I believe they are the 3 most significant ones. Short headed true to weight lines are really bad for distance, and some won’t even reach 100’ no matter how hard you try.

James wrote a great FP about this last year.

Now, my figures differ from the above, because I was going for a relaxed fishing stroke. If I used a competition technique with the equivalent haul, then the figures would be much higher. However, I believe this board discussion was more about a fishing distance cast, so this is what I went for. So, the burning question, what gear was used? 

1. Scientific Anglers Mastery Expert Distance Competition #5 fly line 

2. Cortland 9’ 1x tapered leader 

3. Sage Igniter 990-4  

The line is always the most important, the bendy stick doesn’t matter much unless you are going for the extremes. Pretty much all new #4 and higher can throw 100’ + , so it’s definitely not the rod. I only used the above because it was the only one I brought with me at the time, I’m sure the cheap (£12) Chinese rod I was given can do the same, even more! I did 5 casts with each carry length to see if it was at least reliable. Here are some figures; 

1. 60’ carry 93’ cast 

2. 65’ carry 98/99’ cast (consistent) 

3. 70’ carry 108’/110’ 

What I like about this line is the consistent turnover for fishing, especially when it’s flat calm. Now, how did I achieve the precise carry? This was quite easy, I put the rod down with the first stripper ring on the true zero hook and walked down the tape until the end of the welded loop reached the carry distance. I then walked back and pinched the line at the ring, and picked up from there. No shooting. I was able to do this because I practice picking up off the grass a lot. By the way we measure carry from the hauling hand to the end of the fly line (the tip of the welded loop in this case) this doesn’t include the leader. Total distance cast is from the true zero hook to where your piece of fluff lands (in this example it’s a 9’ leader).  

So what was the conclusion? For me, if I wanted a guaranteed 100’ cast then I would go for a 70’ carry. It’s better to be slightly over than under, but of course this is practical in a lot of fishing situations where you can’t get that much line behind you. I’m pretty sure if I went for it I could hit 100’ off a 60’ carry, that’s with a competition stroke, but I don’t want to be doing that when I’m fishing, I’d have to lie down in a field and recover. 

It was a fun exercise, maybe you could give it a go? You only need a tape measure, fly line, and a bendy stick.

Here's the video!

Tight lines!