Casting Criteria

To execute a cast expertly there are a number of  casting criteria which have to be fulfilled. These are:

Continuous tension -To maintain control of the fly-line it must always be under tension.

Acceleration – During the power stroke the rod-tip must be continuously accelerated and then brought to an abrupt stop whilst the rod-tip is still on the straight line path.

Straight-line path – The rod-tip must maintain a straight line path, in all planes, during the back-cast and the forward cast and the fly-line should as near as possible follow this path as well. Failure to do so can result in a series of problems such as open or tailing loops or tracking issues.

Timing – Good timing of the cast is required to ensure that the fly-line can properly extend behind the rod-tip throughout the casting sequence. This means a frequent change of tempo and the skillful acceleration, line leading and following through with the rod-tip.

Stroke – To ensure that the fly-rod continues to maintains straight-line path as it flexes, for a fly-line mass that is determined by the length of fly-line that is extended outside the rod-tip, the casting stroke and the casting angle must be adjusted so that they are proportionate to the length of fly-line.

Casting Criteria = CASTS

The casting sequence

The casting sequence is as follows:-

Before threading the fly-line through the rod-rings pull a length of line off the reel that is approximately twice as long as the fly-rod. Double the fly-line just behind where it connects to the leader and feed this up through the rod-rings. Now attach the tippet and fly to the leader. Holding the fly-rod in the hand pull off more fly-line and sweep the rod-tip from side to side, using line stick to pull the fly-line through the rod-rings.
Straighten out the fly-line on the water by using a roll cast, or several roll casts if necessary.
Reposition (optional)
Depending on the type of cast the fly-line can be repositioned so that the fly is safely downwind of the casting caster. This requires moving the fly-line, in a controlled manner, so that the tip of the line is just over a rod length’s distance off the casting shoulder at a right angle to the casting line.
Starting with the rod-tip close to the water, lift the fly-line by slowly peeling it off the water, whilst maintaining constant tension and continue until the line stick is unable to hold the line any longer. The rod-tip should always be tracking along an upward incline during the peel.
At the moment to fly-line is released from the grip of the line stick it should be lifted in a slow and controlled manner, with the rod-tip leading the fly-line so that it is trailing behind and as straight as possible.
Accelerate and Stop
Towards the end of the backward casting stroke the rate of acceleration of the rod-tip is rapidly increased and then it is stopped abruptly along a straight-line path. The fly-line can either be aerialised in the case of an overhead cast or formed into a D-loop in the case of a Spey cast.
Follow through (drift)
As the aerialised line unfurls, or the D-loop forms, the rod-tip tracks back with the line maintaining constant tension. This is called “drift” by the casting community.
Turn around
Always maintaining constant tension the rod-tip is used to lead the fly-line around so that as much of it as possible is lined up directly behind the rod-tip.
Line launch
The rod-tip is now accelerated to achieve a high rod-tip velocity which will induce kinetic energy into the fly-line and potential energy into the fly-rod. It is then stopped abruptly to turn the fly-line over.
The grip can be relaxed after the stop to prevent vibration of the rod-tip.
Follow through
Unless an aerial mend is required the rod-tip tracks the fly-line down as it drops on the water, to prevent shock loading and to aid good presentation.
After launch options
It is possible to manipulate the fly-line after it has been launched by introducing mends, either in the air or on the water. It is also possible to shoot line which in effect is a mend in the direction of the travelling fly-line.

About John Symonds

I mainly fish the rivers Wye,Usk and Ithon for salmon, trout and grayling. Also fish in Ireland on the rivers Moy, Suir and Blackwater. Specialist skills photography and graphic design relating to fishing, casting and fly-tying. Qualifications include Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructor (APGAI) single and two-handed fly rods, International Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) two handed casting instructor and Level 2 Angling Trust Coach.
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