Leading lower hand (2-hand overhead) - Fly Fishing Forum
Art of Casting Analysis, refinement of the cast

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Old 02-10-2005, 05:47 PM
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Leading lower hand (2-hand overhead)

"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). "

This is a quote from the atlantis thread, i've pulled it out of there so as avoid confusion and i think it deserves more thought. But, it is a sample i've selected and not a direct critisism of the author of the quote.

Ok, that cleared up.

I don't agree at all with using your upper hand to control the forward stroke. The right hand and arm should move forward following the leading left hand. The left hand should pull the rod around the right hand on the final phases of the cast.
This is basic lever/fulcrum mechanics and it makes more effective use of the now compressed rod. using the right hand to deliver the stop shortens the effecive rod length and the left hand becomes a sloppy mess.

Pulling down with the left from a leading left hand promotes the feeling of driving the power down through the body and aids stability in the stop. The left hand leads until extended and the right hand stays high during the forward stroke. this aids the now compressing rod top to stay in plane with the line. Then a gently accelerating downward stroke towards the body around an equally extending right creates a very stable fulrum around which the rod can work.
As the left hand hits the body the right hand should be fully extended out in front and around top of the head height on the stop. This motion stops the rod at 10 o'clock if its done correctly.

Your grip length will affect this stop position, and the best way to adjust it is to place your left hand on the rod low down, hand around the butt nearing the butt cap. Position the rod 3" to to the left of you right armpit looking down at a extended right hand. Then slide your right hand along the forward part of the grip until the rod is between the 11 o'clock and 10 o'clock positions. This is your grip for this cast. Slower actioned rods that tend to overstroke are better set up with an 11'clock grip setting and faster actioned euro style rods with faster tip snaps can be set closer to the mark.
During the actual cast, pulling the rod under the right armpit and extended right arm will promote good tracking, and minimise line speed loss and energy loss caused by directional changes made during the stroke. Adopting the vee grip with your upper hand will also aid great tracking, although it might feel weird to those not adept with grip initially.

I agree that this may not be the way its done, but this method was derived from the wide arc pendulum casting style on tournament surf rods. It makes effective use of the body and arms and allows the rod to move through the longest in plane stroke without overpowering the rod.

If you examine my avatar, this is the effect of a leading left hand during a full tournament pendulum style cast. The rod is compressed at this stage right down through the butt. This is where the power of all rods is hidden, and a tip first compression delivers less power. This cast is about to unleash 5oz of lead over 250 yards, and to finish all it requires is a pull left around the right hand fulcrum point.
Although this is not a flycast, it demonstrates the principle effectively.
--
Keith.

Last edited by myfishcasting; 02-10-2005 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 02-10-2005, 09:05 PM
SpeySteel SpeySteel is offline
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Keith,

First of all, how was Eleuthera? I think I have the right Keith, judging by your profile? Steve said you had a good time and did fairly well?

I actualy agree completely with what you're saying about leading with the lower hand. Definately one of the most important aspects of 2 hand casting. What I was saying when I said to use your upper hand mostly is that you don't want to deflect the rod tip by pushing out with your lower hand to much on the bast cast and pulling the bottom hand in towards your body to early on the forward cast. Basically, you don't want to draw an arc with the rod tip by pushing and pulling at the wrong times during the cast. This is where I see most of my customers faulting when casting 2 hand rods.

Anyway, I still have your spey rod and I have to take it out one of these days to give it a go. Since you're back in town, maybe we could go out and give it a throw?

Andrew
Tight Lines Fly Shop
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Old 02-11-2005, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeySteel
Keith,

First of all, how was Eleuthera? I think I have the right Keith, judging by your profile? Steve said you had a good time and did fairly well?

Anyway, I still have your spey rod and I have to take it out one of these days to give it a go. Since you're back in town, maybe we could go out and give it a throw?

Andrew
Tight Lines Fly Shop
I think you must have me mixed up with someone else. Never been to the Bahama's. However, i'm glad you agree with what i've said. Most people starting out 2-handed don't actually follow this chain of thought though.
Being in the UK and having multiple fishing style backgrounds, it made sense to apply what i've learned to the 2-hand overhead. I actually spey cast more often, but on occasion a long 120-140 foot cast is needed to reach our fish in fast rips and seams.
Our target fish are Atlantic Sea Bass and you might like to look at Jersey UK saltwater flyfishing for a look at our waters.
Very unique they are, in that we get rapid shallow saltwater flows and 40 foot tide swings on area's that can dry out for over 3 miles. Very extreme sport, that can be very very rewarding at times.

Anyway, back to the cast.
Here is a quick run down.

Lift right hand, push left in order to start backcast.
Right elbow stops at just past 90 degree's and left hand is in line with my lower right arm and directly underneath perpendicular to the elbow. This forms the stop. the vee grip aids the crisp stop required.
Drift upwards and not back, although the angle of the rod at 2 o'clock does of course allow for some backwards drift.
Ok, now pull with both hands on the pick up keeping a fixed elbow position a la "Pulling Style Single Handed", until right upper arm is nearly horizontal to the floor.
Both hands then extend, with the left leading the right by 4-6".
The left hand will reach maximum outstrecth first and the pull back under the right arm begins. No real power is needed.
The right arm should be fully extended as the pull of the left is halfway back towards its "Under the right armpit homebase". As the right reaches extension a final flick in towards the body with the left hand accelerates the tip very quickly against an already compressed rod, and the rod has to dead stop as you arms have nowhere left to go.
I actually cast this style right foot forward for more stability and promoted tracking.

Again, i appreciate most people don't actually cast 2-handed this way, but it does work, creates good loops and is effortless. Cant ask for much more really.
Of course it could be improved. Thats for another time.

Last edited by myfishcasting; 02-11-2005 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:47 AM
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Thumbs up

Keith -

Nice suggestion starting a new thread into which we can really dig.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeySteel
"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). " This is a quote from the atlantis thread, i've pulled it out of there so as avoid confusion and i think it deserves more thought. But, it is a sample i've selected and not a direct critisism of the author of the quote.
I agree, I also "mostly" use the upper hand until the end. Although in past discussions I recall Andrew mentioned leading with the butt, and I think all three of us do in fact lead to get things started deep within the blank.

But we must also account for style, for instance no one can question Speysteels results (per video clips). He's thrown shooting heads well over 150ft with a single backcast, as have I. However I still do agree and am sure he will too that leading with the butt is an effective technique in loading the rod deeply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by myfishcasting
I don't agree at all with using your upper hand to control the forward stroke. The right hand and arm should move forward following the leading left hand. The left hand should pull the rod around the right hand on the final phases of the cast.
I don't disagree, however I have a question. Can you describe where the leading left hand pull begins, where it ends, and what amount of rotation the hands should experience 'around' each other in the final phases?

I ask because one of the biggest problems I see with people learning to overhead cast with two-hands is the large circular rotational finish robbing the cast of it's potential. In any case, this symptom has a lot to do with executing the push/pull technique you mentioned.

Quote:
This is basic lever/fulcrum mechanics and it makes more effective use of the now compressed rod. using the right hand to deliver the stop shortens the effecive rod length and the left hand becomes a sloppy mess.
Q: If my upper hand is up as far as it will go on the rod and I lever it with the bottom, hasn't that indeed shortened the effective length of the rod?

Speysteel also stated that the bottom hand is operative in the stop as well. In thinking about how I stop the rod I distinctly use a balance of the two hands acting in unison to stop the rod. The path of travel of the upper hand should not exceed the ratio of relative path of travel of the lower hand or turbulence and shock waves would result. I don't power it with the upper hand, I don't lever it with the bottom - I use both in concert.

Quote:
Pulling down with the left from a leading left hand promotes the feeling of driving the power down through the body and aids stability in the stop. The left hand leads until extended and the right hand stays high during the forward stroke. this aids the now compressing rod top to stay in plane with the line. Then a gently accelerating downward stroke towards the body around an equally extending right creates a very stable fulrum around which the rod can work.

As the left hand hits the body the right hand should be fully extended out in front and around top of the head height on the stop. This motion stops the rod at 10 o'clock if its done correctly.
Music to the ears.

Quote:
Your grip length will affect this stop position, and the best way to adjust it is to place your left hand on the rod low down, hand around the butt nearing the butt cap. Position the rod 3" to to the left of you right armpit looking down at a extended right hand. Then slide your right hand along the forward part of the grip until the rod is between the 11 o'clock and 10 o'clock positions. This is your grip for this cast. Slower actioned rods that tend to overstroke are better set up with an 11'clock grip setting and faster actioned euro style rods with faster tip snaps can be set closer to the mark.
I didn't quite follow your 3" from armpit positioning; how does that work? Any pics?

Quote:
During the actual cast, pulling the rod under the right armpit and extended right arm will promote good tracking, and minimise line speed loss and energy loss caused by directional changes made during the stroke. Adopting the vee grip with your upper hand will also aid great tracking, although it might feel weird to those not adept with grip initially.
hear hear! I am a 2-hand vee grip addict so much that it feels funny to cast thumbs up with single handers lately

Quote:
I agree that this may not be the way its done, but this method was derived from the wide arc pendulum casting style on tournament surf rods. It makes effective use of the body and arms and allows the rod to move through the longest in plane stroke without overpowering the rod.

If you examine my avatar, this is the effect of a leading left hand during a full tournament pendulum style cast. The rod is compressed at this stage right down through the butt. This is where the power of all rods is hidden, and a tip first compression delivers less power. This cast is about to unleash 5oz of lead over 250 yards, and to finish all it requires is a pull left around the right hand fulcrum point.
Although this is not a flycast, it demonstrates the principle effectively.
--
Keith.
I would comment that a key difference is the degree of freedom a terminal object like a lead weight provides to arm placement, in other words with the arms so outstretched as in the avatar a fly cast would be hard to track straight where a conventional cast is all about the moment of release the fly cast involves a long continuous tracking effort.

Your comment - "longest in-plane stroke without over-powering the rod" says it all as far as distance is concerned!

Great analysis!
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Last edited by juro; 02-11-2005 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 02-11-2005, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
Keith -

Nice suggestion starting a new thread into which we can really dig.
I figured some might like to dig in, but i moved it as too much information can actually hold back those trying to learn.


Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
I agree, I also "mostly" use the upper hand until the end. Although in past discussions I recall Andrew mentioned leading with the butt, and I think all three of us do in fact lead to get things started deep within the blank.

But we must also account for style, for instance no one can question Speysteels results (per video clips). He's thrown shooting heads well over 150ft with a single backcast, as have I. However I still do agree and am sure he will too that leading with the butt is an effective technique in loading the rod deeply.
Yes style has many effects, some good and some bad. I don't doubt for 1 second that some very good casters peruse these messages and a 150ft 1 shot cast is, well,


Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
Can you describe where the leading left hand pull begins, where it ends, and what amount of rotation the hands should experience 'around' each other in the final phases?

I ask because one of the biggest problems I see with people learning to overhead cast with two-hands is the large circular rotational finish robbing the cast of it's potential. In any case, this symptom has a lot to do with executing the push/pull technique you mentioned.
Forgive me if i stumble here, as whilst i can cast single handed, i understand two handed mechanics a little better.
Ok. if we refer to single handed for the moment, good casters tend to pull (Fixed Elbow) and then push. We have the luxury of a pull/push and then another pull.
Let me try to explain.
Back cast is complete, right hand has drifted up and left hand has to follow. The left hand is now in front of the right ( Agreed ?), ok. So why change it ?
We have to change the motions of the hands to keep the continually compressing rod in plane with the line, The line will try to follow the rod top at all times ( i:e low back cast, low loop, etc ) Keeping the rod in plane allows more energy to be stored in the blank and the line. You know that anyway.
We have a fixed elbow and a left hand under the rod. We now start the 1st pull phase of the cast. And pull down with the right elbow.
As the left hand is now nearing a vertical line with the upper right hand, but still in front, both arms are extended (Push Phase). Because the left hand is out in front more it will reach extension first. This ends the (left hand push phase). The right hand should still have 6" or so to travel and we push right and pull left at the same speed as before.
Does this make sense ?
Well if it does, the right push combined with the starting to pull left accelerates the rod tip more without speeding up the arms. This increases rod top speed and line speed, but we still have a 6-8" pull back to the body which accelerates the rod tip yet again, giving even more line speed. But this time the right hand is a fulcrum around which the rod travels and compression in the blank is maximised.



Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
Q: If my upper hand is up as far as it will go on the rod and I lever it with the bottom, hasn't that indeed shortened the effective length of the rod?
Ok, scenario:
We have a steel pivot point, an iron bar, and a 100lb weight. The bar is 14 foot long. And the bar is under the weight and positioned on the centre of pivot.
Where would you hold the bar to lift the weight ?
At the other end of the bar, or at the pivot point ?

Ok, i don't need you to answer that, but it makes sense right. Left hand around right fulcrum point maximises energy put in.
So if i grab the bar at the pivot point, i now only have 7 foot of bar to do the job, and nowhere to lever the bar around. This is the same as effectively shortening the rod. The same effect can be seen by guys who grab thier flyrods between the grip and stripping ring when playing big fish. Rod gets shorter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
Speysteel also stated that the bottom hand is operative in the stop as well. In thinking about how I stop the rod I distinctly use a balance of the two hands acting in unison to stop the rod. The path of travel of the upper hand should not exceed the ratio of relative path of travel of the lower hand or turbulence and shock waves would result. I don't power it with the upper hand, I don't lever it with the bottom - I use both in concert.
yes both together works, indeed it does. However, go back to our bar and pivot and place one hand near the pivot (right hand) and then push left on the end of the bar. Its harder to do, because your focused energy is split. Better two hands on the end of the bar, or a finishing pull left around a fixed fulcrum right.
btw: The right arm doesn't actually need to be locked solid. Just firm enough to bring the rod all the way around to the 10 o'clock stop without it collapsing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
I didn't quite follow your 3" from armpit positioning; how does that work? Any pics?
I'm gonna get some, explaining this is hard in words.
Ok the 3" bit.
I've found the best grip length is one that places the rod top out at 10 o'clock with that firm right hand extension and the left hand should be tucked under the right armpit. However in practice its rare to have everything working to tight tolerances and i advocate a 3" leeway to allow for a slightly more bent right arm, heavier clothing, waders, vest etc.
In actual practical casting you will find that casting with a leading right foot and leading left hand that the rod butt will finish directly over your right foot. if you look down on completion of the forward cast your rod handle will be masking your right foot. Ok, so whats the difference ?
Under your right armpit is a deeper socket and you'll adjust you grip length to suit. However, if you follow the above practical scenario, and then pull into the right side of your chest, the stroke is shortened because your grip length is too long. I hope that helps. It produced slightly elliptical tracking, but not that bad that energy is lost too much. It helps keep a heavy fly away from your head too.

However, straight right, and rod cap and hand directly in line under the right forearm on the finish has produced the best results so far.


Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
hear hear! I am a 2-hand vee grip addict so much that it feels funny to cast thumbs up with single handers lately
I hated this grip at the beginning, but soon found out why its a popular and productive tournament grip. I can't pick up a rod now without adopting it, yet i cast thumb on top for 20 years.


Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
I would comment that a key difference is the degree of freedom a terminal object like a lead weight provides to arm placement, in other words with the arms so outstretched as in the avatar a fly cast would be hard to track straight where a conventional cast is all about the moment of release the fly cast involves a long continuous tracking effort.

Your comment - "longest in-plane stroke without over-powering the rod" says it all as far as distance is concerned!

Great analysis!
Again, forgive any mistakes. Its difficult to explain what i'm doing in a way that makes sense to instructors and more so people trying to understand for the first time. I had no formal 2 handed training at all on the fly rods, but i am a Tournament Casting Instructor on the surf rods and cast to national level, so 2 handed mechanics sort of make sense. I'm trying to find a happy medium between what i know works and transcribe it to another medium. Not quite there yet, but i'm learning.
--
Keith.

Last edited by myfishcasting; 02-11-2005 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 02-12-2005, 07:32 AM
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Keith,

Thank you for taking the time to explain in such detail, you are very good with words and descriptions. Everything makes sense, but I would like to explore one part a little deeper.

In the example of the lever lifting weight: it's clear that the longer the lever the more force can be exerted beyond the pivot but I can't help but imagine a strong man on the other side of the pivot helping you lift. He may not have as much influence pound for pound, but his help does indeed make the 100lb weight feel like 50. When the bottom hand does nothing, the strong man gets a hernia. But when they cooperate, each fills it role perfectly.

There are nuances in each method that influence fishability, loop shape, a whole realm of surrounding factors for each. They all work and it boils down once again to a matter of style and/or adaptability to one's fishery.

These discussions are valuable in the sense that they help casters think through things that might lead them to adopt (or discard) a style.
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Old 02-12-2005, 08:29 AM
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hi juro:

Thanks for that.
before i get into that lever comment, i'm going to have to really think about it as you make a good point.

I tend to think in terms or effectice rod arc and effective rod length as a basis for loop performance. however, things are changed considerably in fly casting as opposed to the dynamic accelerating sinker i cast during the flat "C" pendulum cast.

One system relies on sinker speed and the other on line speed. the sinker is propelled further if the timing allows for hitting an accelerating weight whilst retaining rod compression and arc/plane/tracking etc.

This is the school of thought i'm trying to apply to the flycast. Application of power as the line reaches optimum speed, therefore utilising and maximising the stroke at just the right time.

With guys like you to work with, a compromise will soon be found i'm sure. I have found your writing very inspirational whilst reading this message board.

--
Keith.
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Old 02-14-2005, 05:55 AM
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oh yea, whilst we are on this.
I also recommend that after the stop on the forward and backward strokes that the hands are relaxed. This as we all know helps to stop tip vibration and over deflection, and its something i take for granted so failed to include it in my analysis.
Sorry about that.
--
Keith.
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