The Fly Cast

The blog has not had content for several days.  I have been busy preparing lectures for teaching, exercising my excitable golden retriever, and planning an upcoming academic conference.  However, I've also been reading up on fly-casting technique and offering some fly-casting instruction to colleagues and friends.  From my reading of Lefty Kreh, Joan Wulff, Mel Kreiger, Jason Borger, and some of the articles on www.sexyloops.com, it seems as if there are two distinct theories of fly-casting and associated styles.  Lefty Kreh advocates four different "principles" of fly casting.  They are:

1) You must get the end of the fly line moving before you can make a back or forward cast
2) Once the line is moving, the only way to load the rod is to move the casting hand at an ever-increasing speed and then bring it to a quick stop
3)  The line will go in the direction the rod tip speeds up and stops
4) The longer the distance the rod travels on the back and forward casting strokes, the less effort is required to make the cast

Lefty also recommends keeping a "straight" wrist and keeping the "elbow on the shelf"--i.e. on the same plane, parallel with the ground throughout the cast.  

Casters such as Joan Wulff and Jason Borger have a different theory.  They have no problem with the elbow leaving "the shelf" and even leading the fly cast.  Both also disagree with point number 4, advocating a "drift" after the powerstroke instead of just a longer cast.  You can read a spirited critique of Lefty's principles here.

To be honest, I have seen casters be effective with both styles.  Several years ago, I took a class with the famous Bob Clouser.  Clouser enthusiastically endorses the Kreh method and can boom 75 foot fasts with ease and tight loops.  Nick Teynor of western rivers seems to adopt to Wulff and Borger method and can cast a country mile.   What I would like to see is a more in-depth comparisons of these different methods and styles.

Tight lines,


1 comment:

Jim said...

I like your evaluation. I am a new fly fisherman who is still trying to figure out how to cast. Lefty's methods make sense. I still have more backyard practice before I go out. What I have seen from people talking about casting doesn't seem to help me understand how the rod gets loaded and other factors. Besides, some casters seem to use a slight wrist flick at the end and others don't.