The Art of Casting isn’t just about throwing out a line and fly. It is truly a quality movement with body, arm and wrist co-ordination.
Starting on the necessary base line, your foot position is, I think, of great importance movement. I have always advocated, for a right-handed caster, lead with the right foot. It is common sense, as a boxer, who boxes South paw, leads with his right foot. You have more controlled power and you aren’t tempted to turn your shoulder, resulting in an out-of-shape line! If your left foot is forward there is a temptation to roll your right shoulder and turn your body, causing a poor forward cast.
The next point is the hand hold on a double-handed rod. For peak performance your hands should be at approximately shoulder width, as it keeps your top hand in line with your right cheek. Again there is conjecture about this, but there is no doubt the top hand has more power coming out in line with the shoulder. A high top hand makes the casting movement a thrash and not a balanced cast. It’s got to be correct, as I hold the overhead Pro World Record in Salmon fly at 75 metres. This cast, on water, has never been equalled.
It is understandable that if the Salmon Rod is very heavy a wider grip is less tiring. With carbon rods this shouldn’t be a problem.
Next, the most critical point – do not overline the rod!! Every rod and every angler has an optimum lift, after which everything falls apart! My contention is that a weight forward line need not be more than 50/60 feet and always lifted with the head 2 feet inside the rod tip. A lot of running line can then be shot out to the required distance. Never, ever overlift – it causes so much trouble. I reckon of all casting problems – that is the worst! Long lifts slow down the line and correspondingly loses speed and speed remember is dded distance – with only the same effort.
It isn’t hard to get a line out on a 14-15 ft rod + W/F lines 10/11. It is hard not to get 30 + yard casts.
But in casting, self satisfaction is necessary and gives one more fishing confidence. It should also impress any member of the public looking on – making them wish “Wish I could cast like that!”
There is so little power movement in any fly rod. The slow lift at the front is
guaranteed – or should be! Always start with a low rod, bringing up speed as the rod reaches one’s nose. Crisp power, only to the ear, then very importantly, drift back a foot or so. This takes the kick out of the rod and gives you an additional draw for the forward cast. Lead before speed. The most important part of the casting stroke. The rod is drawn from that position – no power – and then, as the rod passes your ear, the power stroke is made.
As in the back stroke, immediately the power stroke is made – the rod is stopped at 45 degree remembering there is lost power in a rod if you go through the stroke! Beyond ear to nose. But at the 45 degree stop there is an immediate follow through to just above water level.
Casting is an art! Often badly done! It was a blessing when the A.A.P.G.A.L group was formed to help the anglers enjoy their sport even more!
Many years ago at Loch Rannoch I attempted with the Scottish Council and Tourist Board to form such a group. About 50 interested parties attended and a programme was formulated over several days. The sheer arrogance of a few of the attendees was shocking! Nobody wanted to be assessed and made it plain that no-one was qualified to assess them as they claimed “we have been teaching for years and should automatically be qualified”. Arguments fell on arguments and not one would back off!
I had just completed the British National Tournament and won the All-Round Fly& Bait competitions and made four new British records. In the World Tournament I made a World Pro Record cast in Salmon Fly – that year 75 metres – on water.
I offered to give help, advice and instruction to anyone asking for assistance. – I was told where to go! That is why it is so good that A.A.P.G.A.I. have now done it and are going from strength to strength!
Anglers are a funny mix. Some will come forward and ask for help and only wish to improve their casting and angling. A few want to go further and take the necessary qualification to be instructors. Others want nothing – give nothing – and only want to catch more fish!
I started an Academy 10 years ago. Quite quickly we had and still have about 10 or more people casting every weekend. All of them very, very good!
So good luck to the continued success of A.A.P.G.A.I. and may it continue its excellent work.