The Physics of Fly Casting
Fly casting is merely a combination of action and physics. If you can understand the physics relating to fly casting, then you can have an accurate cast. First, you need to have an understanding of kinetic (moving) energy and potential (stored) energy. When many people think about fishing, they think about strength and casting heavy gear out there. All you really have to understand are the essential movements:
- Pull all of the line out that you intend to use in your cast
- REMEMBER: ONE CAN ONLY CAST AS FAR AS THE LINE YOU LET OUT
- Do some initial casts to get the line out the top guide so it is ready for your cast
- When you are all set to cast, strip down to make the line you have out taught
- This is where the physics really come in. When you pick up the line to cast it, you are creating kinetic energy with your rod. It is like the movement of pushing down a spring. You are loading it.
- When you reach the back of your cast, do a sudden stop without breaking your wrist. You want to make your rod tip bend, thus transferring the kinetic energy to potential energy. It is like the spring you theoretically just pushed down. It has the potential to do work.
- Once you have achieved a sudden stop, watch your line straighten out behind you so that you avoid tangles.
- DO NOT START YOUR FORWARD CAST UNTIL THE LINE HAS STRAIGHTENED OUT BEHIND YOU
- Now transfer all of that potential energy into your forward cast. Remember this is not about strength, it is about using the fly rod as a tool to direct energy into the fly line.
- Begin to accelerate forward. It doesn’t matter what your hands or arms are doing, the tip is the important part. The tip needs to be kept high to keep a tight loop in your fly line (I will discuss loops in a late post).
- Remeber that your line will go exactly in the direction that you rod stops. So forget about where your hand or arm is pointed. Look to the tip because all of that energy is being directed at the fly line through the tip of your rod.
- As they say, “It is like flicking paint off a paintbrush”. The faster you stop, the more paint you will get off that brush. So don’t hesitate to be abrupt in your stop.
Now it has been awhile since I took any form of physics, but I think these tips will come in handy. I hope it helps if you are a physical thinker. Happy fishing!
Floatant in a Pickle
On a recent trip to the White Mountains with my girlfriends dad, the worst happened! I forgot my floatant. Now when you have trudged down hill to a stream and there are trout at your feet just waiting to be caught, the last thing you want to do is walk up to the truck for floatant. So in a last ditch effort, mi compadre pulled out his handy dandy chapstick.
It was a life saver for sure on those little flies. Now I wouldn’t recommend replacing your floatant with chapstick by any means. But if you are ever in a pickle don’t forget this multi-talented skin-protectant.
Teaching girlfriend how to fish for cicadas…tip for gf was when you bring your forward cast through, accelerate and promptly stop.
Tip of the Day 7.19.12
Set on everything!
Now, of course, I don’t mean this literally that every time you are fishing and you see your indicator twitch that you should set. At Lee’s Ferry, however, I do mean it. We are having high water right now which means longer leader and tippet. I have found with my clients that they set proportionally less the more line I put on below the surface of the water to get down to the fish.
Picture this: You are fishing a dry fly with a dropper below it. When that floating bug twitches just a touch, generally you set that immediately. Somehow your reflexes are sharper because the action is happening near the surface of the water.
For some reason, when the action is happening well below the surface of the water, clients have a harder time reacting to slight twitches of the indicator. Perhaps it is because they think it is just moss or maybe just the current altering the movement of the indicator. But my advice to you is this: Set on Everything. At best you will catch a 30 inch rainbow because you set the hook on time and at worst, you practice your hook set and throw the line back out there for the next time.
This is how a net should look
Tip of the Day 7.8.12
Over the past few years of guiding clients, I have noticed some recurring habits that new anglers tend to have. At Lee’s Ferry, a dead drift is utterly important and thus mending is important as well. Many clients tend to just tilt their rod up with their hand and fling the line upstream to mend their line. This is generally ineffective, considering their line is fighting ~15,000cfs flows coming out of Glen Canyon Dam. One small part of the line is mended, leaving the rest to pull the fly and make for an unnatural drift.
A simple tip is to lift the whole arm about two feet from where you would generally hold your rod. From this position, use your whole arm to mend the line either up or downstream depending on the situation.
Hopefully this simple tip will help in the overall action of your mending.
A great client, Alan Otto, with a great rainbow.