: Two-handed Overhead: Tailing loops, hat brims, etc.
01-28-2006, 07:34 PM
I met George Cook today on the Snoqualmie River where he was a guest of the River Run fly shop, giving demos of Sage rods and Skagit casting techniques. I was fortunate in that he spent a fair amount of time with me, working on my casts.
He let me try a fun shooting head line on my little 6/7 two-hander: a WC 9/10/11 belly with a WC 7/8/9 Tip 1 (floating). When we got to the overhead tests, I found I kept having a tailing loop problem. George pointed out that I was hitting it too hard, too early (also as mentioned in Bob Olsen's post below). He said to open up the back cast, and not to really apply power until the rod was even the the bill of my ball cap. I could manage this, sort of. It felt like I was out of forward casting room by the time the rod got that far, and that I was pushing to my arm's limit to apply that last power before the stop (the stop being helped by my underhand hitting the Gortex). However, the tailing loop went away.
This seems like a good tip. I also wonder if lowering my hands a little will help that "running out of room" feeling.
I'd love to see some comments on this--thanks!
In addition to the obligatory "concave path of rod tip" and 'application of power" advice all instructors would (and should) give you, I would offer a third perspective gleaned from my own studies of this common problem.
First - concave path of rod tip...
If the rod starts high, dips pulling the line downward as it comes forward, then pops upward at the end, the far end of the fly line (influenced most by the earliest action, the dip) will cross and fall below the bottom leg of the loop (influenced most by the latest action, the upward pop).
In other words these two paths cross. The longer the line being aerialized, the more prone this is to occur given a rod path that is not straight or slightly open.
Application of power...
If you over-flex the rod as it starts out, the line is going to start forward at a lower level, soon after which the rod retaliates to this abuse by popping back into shape mid-stroke which puts creates essentially the same effect as the concave path - except it's more of a half moon instead of the full sickle. Same result.
Another power problem is creep, which is when the rod comes forward without any load in it before power is applied. Gravity will pull the line down, then a late hit against a slack line is going to do more than a subtle tail - most likely spaghetti will result.
Late power - usually if the line and rod are loaded correctly as it comes forward a late 'hit' or burst of power is not a problem. In fact some expert casters thrive on an explosive burst at the end of the stroke but it must be applied to a tensioned approach.
My observations on the tailing loop...
After struggling to find the common link behind these classic explanations, I came up with the simple explanation that I alluded to in the concave path paragraph - if the tension in the line is first applied in one direction (vector) than the path created by the final application of power must not pass above that path or a tailing loop will result.
Lefty Kreh says this same thing in a different way during his more recent presentations, "tuck the rod tip underneath the line".
So to have good loop form, concentrate on aligning the initial path of acceleration toward the target because that is what influences the end of the fly line and leader's turnover. Then maintain gradually increasing tension thru the stroke and make sure the final snap turns the line over so that the bottom half is beneath the initial path.
For tighter loops, make the snap and turnover as abrupt and as close to the initial path as possible.
Hope we can do some casting together soon, and not in a nor'easter!
01-30-2006, 03:24 PM
Thanks, Juro. We are experiencing a series of sou'westers here, but at least the wind comes from the left shoulder (for us righties)! I'll work on that rod path on the lee-sides of some of the west-facing points around here.
Subtle yet key point - rather than rod path let's say line path, and do the things needed with the rod to make that happen.
Sounds like splitting hairs but I feel it's more than that, it's the secret to good form.
02-03-2006, 07:45 AM
I went out yesterday to take advantage of the mild weather we've been having to practice some two handed overhead casting.I have'nt done any since late November. I felt like I've never done it before,I could'nt do anything right ,no form.no stroke and no sharp loops and definitly no distance.Thankfully it's only February and still two and a half months before the arrival of our striped friends from the south,hopefully I will have figured it out by then.(practice,practice,practice)If this mild weather holds we may see them early like we did 5 or 6 years ago.yee ha.:hihi: :chuckle:
I've seen that great cast of yours so have to blame that on winter cobwebs; you'll shake them out.
Most likely you are over-flexing the rod with all that off-season pent-up power.
02-06-2006, 11:05 AM
Went down to Lincoln Park in the bright sunshine....
...and concentrated on the "concave path." I saw some improvement. I was able to tell when my cast was off, and could sometimes recover by dropping the path a little lower. I would avoid the tailing loop, though the cast would sometimes roll into the water, instead of over the water (but that's to be expected when both lowering and and changing the angle of the line path).
I also worked on a having a more open backcast, with a steady application of power on the forward. I think I was sometimes a little too wimpy on the back cast because of the occasional whip-crack and disappearing flies. But when it all came together, boy would that thing fly!
I also entertained myself by working on my underhanded switch casts. I'd add a 5wt single-handed tip to the Guidelines Powertaper, and could shoot a couple of rod length's of running line, hitting 60 - 70' to the fly.
Such a relief to have some sunshine and light breeze here in Seattle!
Too bad about the 'hawks, though....
03-15-2006, 12:31 PM
Just picking up on this after watching the new Rio Spey casting DVD and doing some backyard practice.
Reading Picknshvl describe the sensation of almost "running out of arm" before applying the final power snap I had exactly the same sensation. I had decided to go right back to basics and follow Simon's forward cast sequence of "Body, Arms, Power".
Like any new movement it felt wierd initially but after a few tries, the end result became noticeably better and the tailing loops were gone.
With the warming trend looking like its set to continue I'm looking forward to getting in a lot more practice over the next few weeks.
03-16-2006, 05:22 PM
Earlier in this thread I mentioned I had lost my stroke,it wasn't until yesterday that I found it again,as simple a cure as it may seem now, it took almost a month and a half to figure out what it was and I still have some doubts as to whether the fix is the cure to the original problem:Eyecrazy: .I was originally dealing with tailing loops ,no power, and definitely no distance.I tried holding my top hand (right hand) higher on the upper grip,actually locking the line right at the area the upper handle meets the butt end of the rod,from the first cast it was like night and day,everything was back, tight loop,power and distance and was the same for all casts that followed.:chuckle: :hihi: I'm sure there is a logical reason why this changed everything,but I shall not question the results,I feel like I 'm casting better than last year.
03-16-2006, 05:28 PM
I guess sometimes small changes yield big results:D Good to hear the "force is with you".
03-16-2006, 06:48 PM
If I had read the thread started by pcknshvl titled hand placement I maybe could have figured this out earlier,Juro mentioned in response it 's good to place your top hand elbow right above your lower hand grip,apparently by holding the upper hand higher than I was before puts the lower grip and upper grip elbow in this exact position. :chuckle: :) :biggrin:
In fact I preach that the lower hand should never come higher than the upper arm's elbow - definitely not at the end of the backcast. This creates a drop in the rod tip and a loss of tension in the line which encourages shock on the forward cast, resulting in things like tailing loops. Even when the forward transition is smooth if the rod tip drops in the back the shape formed by the cast will be necessarily rounded and the loop will be inefficient and weak.
As grizz0707 will agree, do the "Heisman" :lildevl:
03-17-2006, 03:23 PM
Todays casting practice session was as succesful as yesterdays,so it looks like the grip position adjustment was the cure :hihi: yeeha! bring on those big girls with the stripes.:chuckle: