roll cast pickups and such
i've been playing with a 3# and some DT line lately and am becoming more and more fascinated with roll casts. i spent a day crouching on my knees in heavy bank cover casting to eager bluegill and that was very fun. in my research, i've read that you can shoot, haul, and basically get an entire fly line out in a roll cast. that seems crazy to me. i think i've only rollcast decently up to about 35 feet or so before the line starts to either not pickup completely, or it just piles. usually the former.
so, how does one shoot on a rollcast, and better, how do you haul? the basic concept is in my head, but that's as far as i've been able to take it. i can do both techniques with ease on a normal cast, but again, i'm curiosed lately with the rollcast.
also, i've been reading about saltwater types using a 'rollcast pickup' to get the fly to sighted fish at a distance with quickness and fewer false casts. what exactly is a rollcast pickup? i can see it being done with the line sitting on the water, but i hear it's done with the fly in the hand in the 'ready' position.
it's such a pretty thing to see a perfect rollcast unfurl right above the water. ahh...
The vast majority of FF do not roll cast very efficiently. This is the style where you start the cast with the rod vertical and stop the rod when it is rotated toward the water, similar to choping wood when a log is on the ground.
Lefty Kreh has written many articles over the years with a more efficent style. The rod is drawn back and stopped parallel to the water pointing to the caster's rear. The rod is now cast exactly like a long stroke forward cast, begin slowly and constantly accelerate (slowly) until the rod is vertical, then a quick short speed-up-and-stop with the rod almost vertical and the tip stopping in a horizontal direction will pick up the entire line leader and fly above the water surface. After the rod tip is stopped, the caster should reach forward slowly to have the rod parallel to the water and the casting arm extended horizontally. Now you have a set up for an efficient back cast,,,,,shot some line into the back cast and now make a conventional forward cast. When I attended fly casting weekend seminars with Ed Jaworowski, he made us place the line hand in a pocket and perform this cast for several hours. It is amazing how much line you can cast with the basic roll cast pick up,,,,out to 70+ ft with a 6wt rod/line was easy. The basic concept is timing and making the line leap off the water, then the conventional casting takes over.
The roll cast pick up for saltwater is mainly with intermediate and sinking lines as opposed to floating lines in the above discussion. The sinking lines are more difficult to cast since the line must be either retreived almost to the leader and false cast many times or with the roll cast pick up brought up to the surface with 20+ feet of line outside the tip. The fly is retrieved until a comfortable length of line is outside the rod tip (this is determined by practice and experience, for now say 20ft), the same roll cast as described above is made. The sinking /intermediate line will not easily jump off the waters surface however, it will be close or partially aerialized. The line will drop down on the waters surface after the roll cast and now can be launched into a conventional back cast more easily. Note: the caster should have reached forward and the rod be parallel to the water at the completion of the roll cast.
One additional common saltwater trick is the water haul,,,,,the back cast is allowed to briefly touch the water,,,,now the forward cast can use the additional resistance to load the rod deeper and will launch the cast on an upward angle to achieve maximum distance,,,,this also elliminates the "chuck-and-duck" worry with heavy sinking lines hitting the caster on the back of his/her head.
"The fly in the hand in the 'ready' position" is an entirely different cast. The FF is usually standing in a boat with the fly in their line hand and a few loops of line also in the same hand or on the boat deck. When a fish is sighted the rod is brought back into a back cast,,,,do not release the fly,,,,,this unfurles the loose line on deck and sets up for a forward cast and that is when the fly is released and launches toward the target, shoot some line and make one more back cast, now final forward/delivery cast.
Roll casting is definitely a challenging skill to master. Honestly, I've never found a huge use for it. When you're on a stream fishing for trout, I think that it's better to let your fly drift away from the target and then recast, rather than trying to fix what was probably a bad cast by roll casting. If you're on a lake/pond, then just pick up your fly and recast. Most lake/pond fish aren't spooky enough that you need to worry about false casting over them.
There are a couple of exceptions where I will use a roll cast. First of all, if I'm in a position where backcasting is difficult. The second case is if I'm in a position where I want to get the fly under some overhanging brush that a normal cast would land on, rather than go under.
Most of all, roll casting takes practice. If you're able to do a 35' roll cast with a 3 wt, then I think you're doing pretty good. I wouldn't worry about it! :)
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