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Art of Casting Analysis, refinement of the cast

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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-13-2009 02:37 PM
pszy22 I agree on what has been said, and encourage you to work on your casting mechanics. In the meantime, you may want to try a furled leader. To be honest, I'm not sure why, but they seem to be more resistant to developing endless wind knots like a single strand mono leader does.

Just a suggestion.
02-06-2009 09:43 AM
FredA Well done Juro.
02-04-2009 09:01 PM
juro I studied wind knots a few yrs back mostly so I could control them to be able to pass a test. I came up with an understanding/description/conclusion, let me know what you think.

First off I have a problem with most books which talk about what to do with your thumb, arms, shoulders, elbows or how you hold your mouth open but in the end I've found all that to be much less important than dialing into what you are actually doing to your line.

Of course the former may indeed effect what you are doing to your line (except maybe your mouth position) but you could also stand on your head and cast without a single tailing loop with a rod taped to your feet if you move the line correctly, or do everything wrong with every part of the body standing upright and still have no tailing provided you move the line properly.

You could have perfect thumb, elbow, arm and shoulder posture but still get a tailing loop if the direction of the line at the final stop is higher than the direction the line was pulled during the casting stroke.

The cause of a tailing loop is simply this - the line is pulled along one vector during the casting stroke but the direction of the final release vector is higher at the stop.

You can pull the line downward during the casting stroke and stop perfectly straight and you'll get a tail, or you can pull the line perfectly straight during the casting stroke and pop the line upward in the end and get a tail, or worse yet - you could do both and will definitely get a tail.

Conversely, as long as the final release is lower than the line's vector during the casting stroke you will never get a tail even if you are standing on your head and casting with your legs.

BTW - the gap between your casting stroke vector and final stop is roughly equivalent to the size of your loop (if you like tight loops).

A visual aid...

Imagine a train heading full steam into a big dip in the track. The train's momentum is pulled downward into the dip, then rises back up the other side.

The train's momentum is going down hard but is able to climb upward by pushing very hard against the steel rails and the hard ground on the far side of the slope. The passengers stomachs will attest to that.

Now remove the tracks and pull the train through thin air quickly through an imaginary dip (like a fly line). Once the train is pulled down into the imaginary dip, no matter how hard "the little engine thinks he can" pull things up, the established downward momentum in conflict with the late upward shift will eventually form a tailing loop out of the remaining cars and caboose.

Whether just a sag from depleted energy or a full-scale whiplash, that conflict has to resolve itself somehow and that's exactly what the fly line is doing when it tails out.

Likewise the line could be pulled perfectly straight during the stroke but the final stop may be aimed too high creating the same conflict and a tail will result. So both are required to prevent a tail.

Causes of the downward pull during the stroke:

Well As Dpolipo said if you haul off-time or if you haul very hard it will deflect the rod too much and pull down the line in the middle of the stroke. This is especially true with soft rods (but stiff rods have their own problems too).

Or you just might aim too high with your final snap while trying to do a moonshot, in which case the direction that the line was originally going is not parallel to the final release direction and you will be rewarded by a vicious tailing loop.


Make sure that you pull the line thru a vector during the casting stroke that is parallel to and higher than the direction of the final snap at the end of your cast.

Lefty says the same thing when he says to stop the rod tip beneath the line.

BTW2 - For distance, lengthening the stroke length and increasing the rate of acceleration over that long stroke will result in much more distance than muscling it ever will.
02-04-2009 02:07 PM A common cause of wind knots is too much speed at the beginning of the forward cast, due to the forward haul being applied too soon. We do that when we try for extra distance. Try delaying the forward haul.
01-23-2009 02:14 PM
Warren Wow! a Two year old Post revived from the grave. Doc, I seem recollect seeing those guys someplace before.
01-21-2009 11:26 AM
flydoc I've found Lefty Kreh's DVD's (and his demo at last year's Bears Den show) on fly casting to be quite helpful when it comes to the whole issue of tailing loops and how to reduce them. I have the biggest problem with them when I try to "muscle" my casts and wear my arm out in the process.

P.S.- Hey Warren- I think I recognize a few of the seals in those pics- do they look familiar to you?
01-21-2009 07:35 AM
Sealz...What sealz?!

Regarding The Mayor...I can't help but see the striking resemblance...

but I digress...
It's my experience, that the harder I try to get that little bit more distance, the more likely I am to encounter mysterious leader knotz...
Fatigue lends itself to impaired stroke excecution and poor form...sometimes taking a break and re-focusing (visualization) can make things right again...
01-21-2009 07:01 AM
FredA That pic must have been taken quite awhile ago. I see only one seals head bobbing in the water... keeping a close eye on John of course.
01-20-2009 09:32 PM
'Soundz like...

a classic case of FaultyLeaderItis...
Ever since The Mayor started using saltwater specific high density Orvus Loop-Stop... "wind knotz" are a thing of the past!

What Jim said!
01-20-2009 02:22 PM
jimS Wind knots caused by tailing loops are common when making longer casts with extra effort. The can occur on both the b ack and forward cast. Almost all tailing loops occur when the rod tip speeds up and stops in a straight line.

Here's why. When casting a fly, the line unrolls in a loop. As long as the top of the loop remains on the top and bottom on the bottom, there will be no tailing loop. To avoid almost all tailing loops, the tip of the rod must get out of the way of the incoming line to avoid running into itself. As you come forward, dip the rod tip slightly on the stop. More than a slight dip will open the loop.

The above is compliments of our esteemed sage, Lefty Kreh.

One additional point from Lefty: "If your rod hand travels at the same height or plane throughout the forward cast and on the speed-up-and-stop the thumb is parallel to the water (vertical or side casting), no tailing loop occurs."
01-20-2009 07:09 AM
petevicar I agree with Warren that wind knots are caused by tailing loops.

Tailing loops a normally caused by the rod tip dropping on the forward casting stroke.
There are a couple of very good casting web sites that can help you better than I can.

If you want some very good info let me know and I can put you in the right direction.

As a simple tip, don't drop the rod tip on your forward cast.

01-20-2009 12:10 AM
Eric I think that the problem occurs to most of us as we try to reach out beyond intermediate distance -- we try to go from 40 - 60 feet to 60 -80 feet.

I think you must learn to double haul if you are concerned with line control as you go for distance. The double haul is not hard to learn (for most; it was for me); timing and smooth acceleration are everything.

Don't put too much line into your backcast. Learn to shoot line. If you are using a weight forward taper, just a little more than the heavy part of the line (forward taper) is needed to cast 80 feet or more, given a properly balanced outfit.

When we are first learning to cast farther, we tend to put more umph into the cast and we do it too soon. From my experience, trying to correct the most godawful macrame you can imagine, I learned to avoid tailing loops by letting the line straighten out behind me on the backcast and then pulling the line forward with my wrist stiff and forearm vertical, gradually accelerating the pull until my hand was extended the length of my forearm. Then THE STOP. (this unloads the rod). The line should come from behind your shoulder in a tight, smoothly unrolling loop.

The business of keeping a stiff wrist and a vertical forearm helped me to put a bend in the lower third of the rod. Putting flex, down low right through the corks, is what generates the energy and leverage for that long cast. For me, the wrist alone was not sufficient to bring out the power in the lower third of the rod.

Work on a gradual acceleration. Don't shock the system by putting too much power into the start of the forward cast. Too much power at the start of the forward cast will result in a tailing loop nearly every time.

Get Mel Krieger's book on flycasting, or rent a good instruction video and try to analyze, to the very best of your ability, what the good casters are doing when they go for distance. I had to learn this stuff a paragraph at a time. People who are natural athletes pick it up right away. Most anglers are between me and an athelete.

What I've described worked for me in correcting a very discouraging casting fault. Others, more knowledgeable and skilled than me, may have other suggestions.

For me, the concept of pulling the line with gradual acceleration from behind was the tip that started me on the road to recovery.

Always use a practice fly, as noted above.

Good luck and Cheers,

01-19-2009 09:00 PM
Yup - we all get 'em.

Warren's right, they're not caused by the wind, although in a high wind they can get a bit more common as you tire more quickly. Try a longer pause at the front and especially back of your casting arc. This gives the line time to straighten out before you start the rod in the other direction, which will reduce (as Warren said, not end) the number of tailing loops and consequent wind knots.

This is also the secret to longer casts, because your line loads the rod as it straightens completely, bending it away from you, and causing it to spring the line back in the opposite direction when you stop your stroke at the opposite end of your arc.
07-31-2007 06:53 AM
Warren Jero

Wind knots are caused by tailing loops not wind. You need to refine your casting stroke to eliminate them. Having said that, I sometimes wonder if they are not inevitable no matter how good a caster you are. I notice when I get tired after a long day. I tend to throw tailing loops more often. And no one ties a better wind knot than me

A thing I do when taking casting practice or testing, especially with weighted flies is tie on a fly with the hook cut off above the bend.
07-31-2007 06:15 AM
wind knots on leader

Hey guys,
Lately when I practice my casting I end up with a bunch of wind knots on my leader (even when there is no wind...). Is this normal, due to the lack of weight at the tip being the fly absent?
Or maybe its indicating some kind of mistake in my skill? I do cast some tail loops from time to time.
I find the wind knots ocurring specially when I practice long casts.
any suggestions welcomed.

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