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Art of Casting Analysis, refinement of the cast

Thread: Atlantis Casting Critique (video) Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-11-2005 11:39 AM
Jazzman Where are the animations in Juro's post? I don't see any icons or anything. Thanks.

Jonny, the computer illiterate
02-11-2005 10:11 AM
capt shiner Juro, I can not thank you enough for the animation you painstakingly created. Your suggestions are clear as day. I believe the head I'm using is 35'. Maybe it's time to chop some lines. What about full-length lines? Are those new ariflo's (the 40+ I believe) going to come as floaters or just int and sink?

Thanks again for everyone's help, I really appreciate it. Hopefully I get this dialed in by Arpil when the big girls arrive.
02-10-2005 11:46 PM
juro Capt, looks like you got some great responses! I think everyone made great points. Your self-analysis was spot-on as well.

As you said there are a number of little things going on but the biggest thing in overcoming the "under 100ft barrier" in cast distance will come from focusing all that energy you are putting into the blank into a smaller, straighter cylinder with your forward stroke verses spreading it over a wide circular shape.

Breaking down the forward cast, I would choose 3 things: (a) the path of acceleration and (b) application of power and (c) hard abrupt stop to think about first and foremost to 'break the barrier'. I have some recommendations for correction, but first let's do the analysis:

A) Path of acceleration:

Specifically, the line's path in your sample clip drives upward at about 25 degrees above horizontal, while the final stop of the rod forcefully directs it below the horizontal to finish. This means that the energy pushes in two opposite directions - upward leading up to the stop; and downward after. This will inevitably open the loop. You can actually see the conflict of loop energy in the loop shape in slo mo.

In the gif animation I made (below), I took several snapshots and drew over the line as it appeared in the snapshots. You can see that the path of accelertion initally drives the path of the line upward (orange arrow up).

Then as the arms release the power the deflection creates a large circular shape and the energy from the tip drives the path abruptly downward (orange arrow down).

These arrows must be kept horizontal and in-line, and the acceleration must increase from start to finish before the stop.

The green horizontal line in the last frame is the path represents how the line should track in order to maximize the energy of the rod flex into the cast itself. It can be lower e.g. sidearm as long as it tracks true.

Practice with the smoothest, least energetic stroke possible that tracks the line properly. Don't worry about power or distance first, get the tracking and smooth acceleration down first instead. Power and distance are easy to add to good form, however the inverse is not true.

Also keep in mind that we can't see the birds-eye view here. The operative part of the loop must track in the same line in the other dimension as well, that is to say that bird would see a straight path as well if it flew overhead.

B & C) Application of Power and abrupt stop

Try to influence the line with the rod such that the line maintains tension from tip to fly in a horizontal "lane", then stop the rod as close as you can to that path so the energy remains focused, resulting in a tight an powerful loop.

Note that the distance between the rods stop point and the path of acceleration (which must be straight) equals the size of the loop, per Bruce Richards.

It's clear that you are getting a lot of energy to load into the rod; and the IM8 graphite although flexible will recoil and dampen quickly - however the influence of this energy on the line seems a bit unsteady. I suspect it has something to do with turbulence in the line we can't see during the backcast, in other words it wasn't straight at the start of the foreward cast (?).

In any case the rod is flexed quite hard early in the stroke and unloads well past the optimum stop point (with a large deflection). The final rod stop is nearly horizontal verses close to the ideal path. In summary, too much power at the end of the stroke, the tip looks as if it might be getting driven down with the bottom hand well past the ideal stop point, possibly.


In an actual class environment I would work from a selection of mnemonic devices based on feedback from you (interactively) - but in general terms here is what I would prescribe as a starting point...

1) Get things straight, first and foremost

Your goal is to track the line in a straight horizontal path. Learn to identify with the way the rod and line interact; that is to say strive to really feel how the rod makes the line glide smoothly and within a horizontal imaginary cylinder. Don't worry about distance at first, just think about smooth / straight tracking of the line.

Key tip: In addition to straightness, the line must be moving slightly faster in the front than at the back at all times, in other words there must be tension from end to end. This tension helps keep the line stable and easier to steer. It does not take a lot of power, just acceleration. Do it lightly and slowly at first to really feel the pull that makes things stable. Use that stability to keep the line horizontal.

Move your hands and arms properly. An example of a mnemonic I often use while teaching is the 'knuckle dragger'. In your hallway, place your knuckles on the wall about where your upper hand would be, about eye or ear level. Stand at a comfortable distance and while keeping your knuckles touching the wall make the longest forward and backward stroke you possibly can while keeping your knuckles touching the wall on a perfectly horizontal line. Move your hips, legs, shoulders, arms, etc to accomodate this 'straight rub'. Do this at full casting speed, without your knuckles leaving the wall. That shows you exactly what your body needs to do when casting. It will also prove beyond any shadow of a doubt to your family that you are in fact, nuts.

Now with the bottom hand, grab the shirt sleeve of the other arm along the bottom of your bicep near the elbow. Make these casting motions again, holding the shirt sleeve with your bottom hand so it never rises above your other elbow. This is what your hands need to be doing, moving in concert while maintaining the proper angle to load and unload the rod through the stroke.

2) Application of power

Once you get things tracking well, it only takes a small adjustment in technique to break the 100+ft barrier. When a cast is done well, you don't have to hit it hard to make it go. Take the well-formed cast and add just a little bit to it and it will likely go as far as your hardest hit cast ever went.

Keys to distance: extend and accelerate
Get things tracking right, then extend the path length and increase the total rate of acceleration before the stop. Path and rate of acceleration go hand in hand, because the longer you can make the path, the more potential you have to accelerate. Extend the length of the stroke by adding drifting reach to the end of the backcast and going for as much change in speed (not speed but change of speed) from start to stop.

Bottom hand power:
Although the bottom hand assists through the various parts of the casting sequence, it's only real power moves are (1) a subtle kick out to form the backcast and (2) a fierce inward tuck to finish the forward cast in place of the single haul.

It doesn't take much to make a good basic cast go really far. However it takes a lot of energy for a cast that tracks offline to go half as far.

3) hard stop!

Lastly, make the stroke much more compact so it stops near the 'green line' in the gif, keeping the energy very focused. Do not apply a big whammy at the end, instead get the rod loaded as you have and put on the brakes suddenly instead.

Imagine a catapault with a rock in it. The rope is cut, and the load is springing back fast. The harder and more abruptly the shaft hits the block, the more of a line drive you get.

Other tips:

Choose the right practice line. Using too short of a belly or too dense of a material gives you a 'jumpy' feeling you don't want while tuning. You are trying to identify with smoothness and straight line path stability.

It's fine to practice with shooting heads but get them at least 35'-38' or longer. For pure casting joy the 50ft plus heads are awesome however in fishing involving strip retrieves and fish that hit close to shore that's a lot of head to fish with. An appropriate line to practice with loads the rod sufficiently yet does not overload or deliver a choppy feel. It's good to practice with head lengths that are realistic for your fishing applications, but not advisable to start with super high-density heads. Use a floater or intermediate or lower density sinking line to get the feel as described above, then try the higher density lines as fishing situations dictate.

Film yourself again until the black lines are moving parrallel to the ground and not getting ahead of itself or the rod. S-m-o-o-t-h. I use video analysis a lot, both when teaching classes and when working on improving my own technique.

Thanks for providing this opportunity to those of us who enjoy the analysis, and also for providing some fodder for the benefit of others who are interested in the topic.
02-10-2005 07:02 PM
capt shiner

Wow, you guys are a great help, I appreciate everyone's input. I'm going to have to go through each suggestion carefully. I noticed that my back loop is 1/2 way decent and my forward loop looks like a rainbow The funny part was when I first started fishing the salt w/ a single hander many moons ago, I had the reverse problem. I know the rod wants to launch, but I do tend to overpower my forward stroke. I think subconsciously it's engrained in my head that the more effort I put into the cast the further it'll go, obviously not the case. Stupid brain.

From what I noticed in my limited experience after watching the video is I drift forward b/f I start my forward stroke, in essense cutting down the length the rod can travel, therefore loss of distance.

I do need to stop more abruptly. I can feel the rod load great on the backcast, but the forward feels week, hence my trying to overpower it. A smoother acceleration is definately needed. Someone suggested something about elbow position, I noticed it and will try to correct it. The drift is what is messing me up in that regard, when I drift, I raise my arms.

Thanks again everyone, I'll try and get out this weekend and work on it. Results to follow...
02-10-2005 05:28 PM
SpeySteel Capt Shiner,

Your casting is good, and you have an excellent foundation to work from. Many of the guys here have already talked about some of the things that will help you cast better, i.e. stopping earlier on the forward stroke, smoother acceleration both backward and forwards, etc.

Here are the most important elements for a good 2 hand overhead cast…

1 - *Most important* You must draw a strait line with your rod tip both forward and backward. You can use different planes (drift to a different plane between strokes), but the actual strokes must be strait.

2 - Drifting upward and back a little after you have finished your back stroke.

3 - Accelerating smoothly both forward and backwards.

4 - An abrupt but smooth stop at a high position on the forward stroke, or just ever so slightly lower then the plane of your forward stroke.

5 - Use mostly your upper hand and less bottom hand. The bottom hand is used mostly just at the very end of your forward stroke. This accelerates the rod tip just enough at the very end of the forward stroke to initiate some energy into the line (kind of like the double haul does with a single hand).

6 - The bottom hand should follow the top hand during the back stroke. Try to avoid having the bottom hand drift or push away from your body during the back stroke. This will cause the rod tip to deflect and you’ll loose the most important part of a good cast, a strait line. Watch your backcast. Is your line traveling behind your body? If it is, then your backcast is swinging around behind you and you’ll loose a lot of power.

There are a few other things that’ll help, but I have a tyung class starting and have to go. I attached a couple of videos for you to view.

Good luck,
Tight Lines Fly Shop
02-10-2005 04:35 PM
myfishcasting my views:

Stop the rod earlier on the back and forward casts.
Use the lower (Left) hand more to start the line moving, and on the forward cast push it further out in front. Use the right as a fulcrum point rather than drifting and bending it. The rod does over recover somewhat, so an earlier 10 o'clock stop would be better. I would also suggest pulling with the left rather than pushing with the right to generate line speed.

The effective rod arc is reduced by bending the tip early in forward stroke, so if you are going to drift during the backcast bring the rod through more in plane with the line on the forward cast extending the left hand out. Keep the right arm as a fulcrum point and PULL down and across accelerating the rod to a dead 10 o'clock stop. Squeeze the hands to a finish rather than an abrupt dead stop.

Its my view that a 2 handed rod should be loaded in plane for more line speed and effective loading as we don't have the benefit of hauling.

just my 2 cents.

02-10-2005 02:02 PM
2HandTheSalt My two cents:

The back cast is not terrible-The loop is reasonably compact, and it appears that you are applying speed with the lower hand. Two things that I think could be improved on the back cast are; 1. You are lifting the elbow to shoulder height after you make the back cast, but prior to the forward cast. This puts you in the position of casting downwards on the forward cast. 2. It appears that the tip of the rod is traveling downwards at the end of the back cast. To my way of thinking, this means that the eloop must follow.

The forward cast is another thing entirely. The apparent lack of acceleration at the end of the fore cast is giving you a gigantic loop. The downwards path of the rod tip, ( Due in part to the high elbow,) is probably sending the cast down into the water. It also appears as though you are overpowering the cast terribly, and making the entire forward cast with the upper hand, the lower hand merely being along for the ride.

In summation, I would concentrate on:

1. Keeping the tip as level as possible throughout the casting stroke.

2. Taking advantage of the leverage afforded by the two-handed grip and applying the speed to the cast with the lower hand at approximately the same time that you would normally double-haul with a single-handed cast.

3. Not overpowering the cast. Good casts come from good technique which doesn't have a lot to do with power.

4. Throwing tighter loops on both the fore and back casts.

Lastly I would say that I think you would be better suited learning with a WF line rather than a braided mono shooting line. Shooting heads and braided mono lines will go a mile even with mediocre technique.
02-10-2005 01:30 PM
Dble Haul Adrian- neat trick!

I have to agree that the stop of the forward cast should be more abrupt. I also noted two other items:

1. The forward cast should be a gradual increase in speed leading up to the abrupt stop. Your forward cast appears to be at approximately the same pace throughout the stroke.

2. The abrupt stop should happen with the rod tip at a higher level. By letting the tip drift downwards a bit at the end of your cast, you're opening up your loop and losing power/distance. I typically stop the rod at about 10:30, plus or minus a few minutes.

That's what I could see based on my half season of use with the rod last year. I'm regularly getting about 110 feet on casts, so I'm sure that there's a few things I could do better to increase my own distance. But what I've described above is what took me from 80 foot to 110 or 120 foot casts.

Good luck, and have fun learning with the rest of us.
02-10-2005 01:19 PM
Adrian If folks are having trouble downloading try a right-click on the link and then and "save target as".

That worked for me.

Nice video!

Can't wait to hear the analysis!
02-10-2005 01:10 PM
juro I am absolutely champing at the bit to analyze this - but can't break free until tonight. I'll have freeze-frame apps with redlining capability then too.

Rest assured you will receive the input from myself and others including Andrew on this and similar video/analyses over the days and weeks to come.
02-10-2005 01:03 PM
Great Idea

I couldn't download the video either, but it sure is a great idea. In fact, it would be great to have some two-hand overhead casting video available to check out and discuss in general, beyond the clip of Andrew from Tightlines. I've muddled my way through the past half season without knowing a damn thing, but it still seems random when I pull off a good cast. Here are some things I've observed from others. I've been behind Tightlines with Andrew a few times and seen him whip off casts like those in the video. His distance and acceleration are amazing. He definitely shoots line into the backcast and drifts back and then has this wicked, snap forward cast. He really gets the rod to bend behind him. Another friend, in contrast, who's getting pretty good with the two hander, has a much slower paced, more deliberate stroke -- more overhead, more like other speycaster types I've seen when they overhead. At Somerset, Simon showed me some of the Cape footage and, when I explained some of my own shortcomings, insisted that I should use more of the lower hand, use a short stroke (Andrew's stroke isn't short) and couldn't understand why anyone would shoot line into the backcast, although he did talk about drift. Interestingly, he thought it made no sense to shoot into the back cast. Finally, I saw Jay talking about having developed a "compact stroke" in one of the other threads. What all this means I don't know, except that, like one handed casting, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Having some video footage of different approaches -- including screwing up!! -- would really help. When I was a kid struggling to learn to cast from a book (Doug Swisher's Fly Fishing Strategy), I remember the revelation I had when I actually saw someone else cast a fly rod for the first time. I realized that I was indeed in the ballpark, that flylines don't always straighten perfectly, and that there are different ways to get it out there.
02-10-2005 12:55 PM
great stuff

Nice video. I'm going do the same.

My critique (worth what you paid for it )...

I wonder if you are stopping too low and not stopping abruptly enough. I also wonder, if shorter distances are an issue for you, if you are shooting line into your back cast?

No matter...everyone looks good casting an Atlantis
02-10-2005 09:09 AM
juro Couldn't download it on this computer; but will try it my home computer later. Thanks for posting it - I look forward to viewing it tonight
02-09-2005 08:17 PM
capt shiner
Atlantis Casting Critique (video)

Took advantage of this beautiful weather and snuck out during lunch for a quick casting session. Took a few videos using my digital camera. Sorry bout the quality. This is the 1st time I had the rod on water. Setup was airflo miracle braid running line and a 12wt orvis floating head. Measured distance was 92' from the reel to leader. My goal is 120' so please rip my form apart!! I can already see how to improve, but I want some suggestions from people who actually know what they're doing! FWIW I primarily fish floating lines hence my decision in heads but maybe my choice wasn't the best. Thanks for the help!

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