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Cramer on Casting – Forming your loop

Bob Cramer

Mossy Creek guide, Bob Cramer, continues his series of casting tips.

How many times have you heard folks say “you have to load the rod?”  You seldom hear anyone say “you have to unload the rod.” But both statements are equally important.

Loading and unloading the rod happens on both the forward cast and the back cast. Loading the rod occurs when the line has straightened out in one direction and you move the rod in the opposite direction. Fly line is a flexible weight and the weight of the line causes the rod to bend (or load) a certain amount according to the amount of line (weight) you have out. The more line you have out, the more the rod will bend if you allow the line time to straighten out in the air.

Unloading the rod occurs when you stop the rod, allowing it to unbend. How and where you stop the rod dictates a number of different things including the size of the loop, where the line is going and how far it’s going.

Lets start with stopping the rod. This is one of the great impediments to people becoming really great, accurate casters. The goal here is to get the rod to do the work, get it to cast the line instead of using just your physical energy to throw the line.

At a recent Orvis Guide Rendezvous, Truell Myers, Orvis’ head casting instructor showed us something very interesting. Truell used a two-foot rod butt with a laser pointer attached to illustrate proper rod movement and the distance the rod moves during the cast.

Tuell positioned the dot on the wall to his right and moved it in a straight line. As he mimicked a casting stroke, if he moved his hand with the rod butt to far forward or back, the lazer dot would travel in a downward arc at each end of the cast. Even though he moved the dot in a straight line during the majority of the casting stroke, moving his hand too far brought the dot (representing the rod tip) down on at end of the stroke. If the rod tip comes down on either end of the stroke it causes the loop to open up.

When you are casting, it is pretty easy to see if you are moving the rod in an arc by the size of the loop. If you move the rod tip too far the loop gets big. You are pulling the bottom out of the loop.

The presentation cast is where the tires meet the pavement. With a good loop, the cast unrolls in the air above the water and gently settles down exactly where you want it to go.

That is the goal, to get the line turned over in the air. If it doesn’t, it probably means you aren’t stopping the rod soon enough and casting the loop down towards the water.

Learning to minimize how far you move the rod tip during the casting stroke will tighten up your loop and transfer more power from the rod to the line. Casting a tight loop will also make you a much more accurate caster.