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Why can’t I cast this Clouser?”- is a question I often get. “I am using the #8 rod and #8 line, and I have no control over it.” The misbehaving Clouser usually has big lead eyes and is very heavy. We all have experienced this problem at varying stages of our development.

The way to analyze the situation is first to –

Consider the equipment

The Line;

The line weight must match the fly’s mass.

So, it follows that the line could simply be too light (Occam‘s razor).

The shape of the fly line especially the front taper.

The key point is that any fly that resists moving because it is either heavy and/or very wind resistant requires a significant “pull“. The best way to achieve that is with a heavy line. The front taper must be powerful (short and/or heavy tip) to maintain as much energy as possible to have the necessary oomph to turn over a heavy fly.

The leader;

The leader‘s butt end needs to be thick enough (more mass).

The length of the leader could be too long and often is.

The leader needs to be massive and short enough to turn over a heavy fly. If the leader is too long there is insufficient energy left in the leader to turn over that fly. So, a shorter leader is better suited to turn over a heavy fly.

Considering the casting technique

  1. Because of its mass, the heavy fly’s residual momentum will be substantial when cast with the standard technique. So, it will kick with a hard stop. Its momentum causes it to bounce, and now it becomes very difficult to impossible to fashion a straight backcast. Thus, slack is introduced and control over the line is lost, and it becomes very difficult to cast a line with a lot of slack in it. The rod doesn’t load properly, the line doesn’t accelerate because it isn’t straight. When there is a heavy fly at the end of the leader all problems multiply. When a casting stroke starts the line/leader must be as straight as possible.
  2. By avoiding the stop we can prevent the kick. We do this by using an oval path for the fly on the backcast and maintaining constant tension on the fly. Now, we swing the fly back horizontally and instead of casting straight back, we bring the rod tip up, thus swinging the fly upwards, and then commence the forward cast. This cast is called the Belgian cast.

https://www.thecampflyfishingschool.com/pages/belgium-cast

Technical adviser Bruce Richards

Starting fly casters are taught to false cast on grass and the casts will be parallel to the ground. But casting parallel to the ground when fishing is an unforced error. When casting straight, the line and the leader will turn over several feet above the surface. It will take the fly time to drop to the water giving the wind time to mess with the presentation.

I noticed at a club meeting when we were doing accuracy that the back casts usually weren‘t high enough.

When you aim at a spot on the water’s surface the trajectory will become downward towards that spot. Because the back cast needs to be 180 degrees opposite to the forward cast for an efficient straight cast it follows that the back cast must be upwards.

Therefore the whole trajectory must be straight (180-degree rule obeyed). So, now the cast must look like this.

180-degree rule obeyed

180-degree rule obeyed

So, pick a spot on the water where you intend to place your fly. Now, drive the fly line straight to that point and try to straighten your fly line and leader just inches above that point. Now, the wind has much less room to screw up your cast.

This is a for beginners – the basic description of the casting arc needed for a short cast.

The last blog considered a tracking fault i.e., what happens if there is too much bending (radial movement) of the wrist (abduction) in the horizontal plane.

So, it’s logical to consider what happens when we over-abduct the wrist in the vertical plane. The angle between the underarm and the rod then becomes, say 90 degrees. Beginners and intermediate casters do this frequently on their back-casts. This will send the line careening down behind the caster, and thus it will be traveling in a great big loop. When the wrist bending (radial movement – abduction) is kept minimal and the rod is stopped just past vertical, the caster will have a much straighter line behind and now has consequently the foundation for a good forward cast.

Way too much bending of the wrist

Now, on to the forward cast. The same rule applies. The backcast and the forward cast should be symmetric. Therefore, we need to stop the rod high on the forward cast to send the line straight.

Beginners frequently bring the rod tip too far down instead of stopping it higher. That leads the fly line to form a big inefficient loop going nowhere. What we want to do is to stop the rod tip high and shape the top leg (fly leg) straight.

Back cast and forward stops are symmetric

Now the crucial feat is to make the rod tip travel from the back stop B to the front stop A (orange lines) in a straight line. We can do that by bending the rod against the mass of the line behind it (plus the inertia of the rod itself). We start from a standstill, smoothly accelerate the rod, and bring it to an abrupt stop when we reach the front stop. That will send the line over the tip in a straight line making for an efficient cast. To obtain this straight line we must practice a lot. There is no getting around that one.

If we don’t accelerate and don’t bend the rod, there will be no straight line, but an upward curve, and the loop becomes large and inefficient. If we use too much force the tip path will dip down and we get a tailing loop.

Cynthia rollcasting

Last weekend I was invited to the Magnolia Fly Fishers in Jackson Mississippi. The idea was that I should give a short presentation on salt water casting, since the Magnolias are headed to the salt in April. Then we would practice the various casting scenarios. Head wind, tail wind and cross wind. I have been working with Cynthia Low their president towards certification with the IFFF, hence the invite.

https://magnoliaflyfishers.com

If you check their website you will find this teaser.

Black Tie, Fish Fry and Fly Tie at First Baptist Church in Byram

Ok, it’s not really a black tie event, but it needed a name so I named it my favorite name.  I keep hoping someone will show up in a tux!   Cynthia, La Presidenta of our club, has invited IFFF certified casting instructor Jonas Magnusson to come to First Baptist Church of Byram on SATURDAY March 18.

  • Jonas will also be providing for “fee” lessons, $50 per hour club special.  This webmaster has signed up for one hour.  I think he may be available on Friday for this as well as some Saturday.  Call Cynthia to book your appointment.
  • Jonas is from iceland and is an expert in spey and switch rods and I think we may get a chance to cast one or at least get a demonstration.
  • Jonas has a website if you would like more information, Every Jonas has a Whale .
  • I love to hear him talk, sounds like the Swedish chef on the muppets to me!”

Who wrote this beauty? This blog practically writes itself. I am not Swedish but my paternal grandmother was, and I speak that lingo, so what the heck.

I started late Friday with Cynthia on roll casts, and we had a nice little pond to practice on. She has put in the hours, and she is nearly where she need to be (see pics).

Cynthia forming loops

Cynthia forming loops

Cynthia is getting there

Cynthia is getting there

Then on Saturday – I give Cynthia the podium;

Jonas says he’ll travel anywhere in the world to teach…even Mississippi USA.  Yes, we have fly fishers.  Yes, we fish all species and for a short 4 hour drive we have access to some of the best fishing in the world, the Gulf of Mexico.  

Imagine a small town church tucked away in  the wilds of rural Mississippi, light breeze, cloudy sky, and a deep fryer of oil warming for our fried catfish lunch that awaits us after the sessions with Jonas.  Club members give fishing reports, present future outing details;  the meeting a bit sluggish then “UP! Let’s go cast” like a sergeant barking orders wakes the crowd.  Every man and two women head for the field, rods in hand.

We line up like soldiers.  Southern accent communicating with Scandinavian accent; everyone listening intently to every word and instruction.  Jonas moves person to person with a tip here and an instruction there.  Next are group commands.  Once again we line up.  Now let’s cast to the wind.  Wind changes, another command, and we line up again.  Lunch!  That fried catfish is calling.  We take a break.  Jonas eats like a bird, said one.  That’s why he has his figure and we have our figure; we like fried catfish, slaw, hush puppies, turnip greens with fatback, ketchup.  Onward!

Jonas continues with his individual students who booked an hour.  Club members being club members, the one on one became one and a gallery.  The afternoon whiled away as student, teacher, gallery became one unit.  Each member helping the other as knowledge and understanding grew. Prodding, poking, laughter, and challenge punctuated the afternoon.  Success!  We had worked off those fried catfish calories.  

We had a fun day and Jonas’ personality added to it.  Great sense of humor, said some.  He knows what he’s doing, from others.  Mr. C, who just turned 90 said, “Cynthia, I learned something  today.  I learned I don’t know how to cast.”  Our long distance caster and salt fisher said, He identified a tracking error in my back cast I don’t think I could have ever figured out by myself. That and he showed me what he called his no-stop cast which is how Paul Arden generates his wind punching V-loop. I think I can start busting the 100 foot mark regularly now.”

Jonas survived Mississippi and made it back to Florida. He’ll go anywhere to share his passion and love of the sport.  Every club should have an event that includes a certified instructor.  It’s worth every penny and the benefits last a lifetime.  If you’re not in a club, consider joining.  It’s an enriching, encouraging, supportive experience.  

PS  We don’t always eat fried catfish.  There are wonderful chefs in the area.

Crazy Cat Oysters

Crazy Cat Fried Oysters

Glen Davis gave me his stripping basket that looks very promising. You wear it on your left hip and strip into it. Will get back with you on that one when tried.

https://samuraiflyshop.com

Glen also wrote about my teaching.

Build-a-Bucket Workshop, Casting Fun

Well there it is and I thank the Magnolia Fly Fishers for inviting me, and I surely learned a lot more from them. The best way to learn something is to teach it.

palm eroded, beach erosion

Gulf of Mexico

False Albacore that took Gummy Minnow

I am a Fly Fishers International Certified Fly-Casting Instructor. I teach fly casting in lakes or rivers. Additionally, I teach salt water casting techniques. This blog will be dedicated to fly fishing and fly casting. I will also write about rods and reels and whatever takes my fancy in the fly-fishing universe.

If you choose to give feedback on my teaching, click Feedback under Categories and have at it.

Phone 361 9032846

email

jonasbjorn@icloud.com