the value of a good instructor - Spey Pages
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-17-2003, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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the value of a good instructor

I've been working with Pete Caverhill, FFF Master Certified Instructor, on my single hand casting. Among other things I've always been less than impressed with my rear loops. I thought I had them cleaned up pretty good on my own, but what I didn't realize was that when I was distance casting the minute I stopped watching them they went all to heck . It was a great experience for me to have an expert set of eyes watching my technique the other night, as Pete was able to analyse and correct a problem I'd been struggling with for a long time. I still have some "unlearning" to do, and I have to integrate Pete's teachings into my casting (translation: I need to get out and PRACTICE!) but this experience really underscored for me the value of a good instructor, no matter who you are, no matter what your skill level.

Thanks, Pete!



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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-17-2003, 10:39 PM
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Dana...I fascinated by the mechanics, physics etc. etc. of the single-handed cast because I have managed to develop my own style, opinions and such...

...I cant wait til the day till I feel the same with the two-hander.

Anyways...what was Pete's advice and what did he think you were doing wrong...

Just curious because I love a good discussion regarding the single-handed cast!

Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special
www.theswungfly.com
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2003, 08:48 AM
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Ryan, I love a good single hand discussion as well!

At Kaufmann's awesome spey days gathering (photo gallery in the works), a bunch of guys were doing distance casting with single handed rods. Steve Choate, Brian O'Keefe among others - no slouches by any means. Feeling my oats from years of striper fishing, I jumped in and although I managed the distances of most particpants I noticed O'Keefe's loop form remained through the entire cast; where many others pigtailed at the end of a full flyline and backing out of the guides, particularly mine.

I asked him to debug my cast to get that turbulence out and he obliged. I threw my best backcast, which during fishing I keep driven hard by a fast wedge due to frequent wind on the flats. Although there was little turbulence evident, it was not symetric with the forward cast, which was punched out with attention to form. Although the forward loop began with clean form, by the time it got near the SUV we were aiming at in the parking lot the power wedge would dissipate into a little pigtail almost every time where O'Keefe's retained it's shape throughout and thus went over the SUV. I did it again and Brian commented that he didn't see anything blatant but that the smallest inconsistency amplifies into something by the time a long line runs it's course. This has been an important revelation to me because I was one to prioritize quick wind-proof casts in fishing situations and extended that to distance. To get clean distance casting you must extend a clean and symmetric cast stroke to distance, not necessarily a fishing cast.

Now does this really matter when fishing? Hell no, we were not doing fishing casts here but casting casts but it bugged me just the same. I watched him cast some more and noticed that his backcasting style creates a super-clean shape with less velocity but cleaner loop - so clean that the forward stroke gets no turbulence even in extreme distances. I tend to focus on the driving the backcast and polishing the cast on the forward stroke - in fact I think I have a faster backcast than forward cast where he performs both with pure form and reaps the benefits of low to no turbulence with more balanced, well formed symmetric loops that sail on and on. Sometimes watching someone who has worked dilligently is as good as direct advice. I would love to see the Rajeff's cast. I learned that Topher Browne is a tournament caster as well and hope to get a demo at one of the local gatherings.

Since then I have tried to change my single-hand casting style to a more "pure" form on the backcast and it has reduced my distance a bit but improved my loop form through the leader at distance. I will gradually try to work back up to previous total distance... but more likely the first time I see a pod of big stripers approaching on the flats I'll be back to my ol' slingin' ways!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2003, 02:35 AM
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Dana--You are so right!

Three days ago I attended a casting class by Simon G. Prior to this I thought the single spey was limited to about 45 degrees of direction change. By the end of the class I was confidently single speying with a 180 degree change of direction!

What a difference a good instructor makes!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2003, 12:16 PM
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Bob
I have also singled at a 180 deg change but more often then not it was due to a mistake (usually short line) rather then a conculated cast :hehe: do you lose any power by placeing your grip so far up stream from you seems like it would close up your casting stroke........Nate
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2003, 01:00 PM
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Nate--Re 180 degree cast.

Nate-
The grip is placed at the caster's side. In beginning the single spey, the caster exaggerates the lift [almost coming overhead] and exaggerates the dip anchoring the end of the fly line between caster and shore line.

The caster is now set in a normal switch cast position.

Regarding power and distance, I cast only the belly of the MidSpey line.

To me the benefit of the 180 degree exercise is to allow a fisherman to confidently make 90 degree single speys in all fishing situations. Big rod machismo Nate!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2003, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Ryan,

I was doing a couple of things. First, as a self-taught single-hand caster I learned a long time ago how to compensate for poor technique by adding just the right amount of additional power. Problem is that once I started to sharpen up my technique I didn't bother to fix the power thing, so I was putting waaaayyyy too much effort into my backcast, PLUS I was breaking my wrist a little. This created a "tank track" back cast loop (like what you often see on the forward casts of many spey casters)--really inefficient, and robbing me of distance. Pete got me to really exaggerate my drift and it helped a lot, plus he suggested that I work to unlearn my old habits and concentrate on what I teach spey casters: use only enough power, and do everything so that your casting is smooth and efficient. I spent this past weekend practicing, discovered a few other things, and have really cleaned up the rear loop, which has made it a whole lot easier to get to the distance I was shooting for.



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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-24-2003, 02:54 AM
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There are many ways to skin a cat

Dana-
I must first preface this with the fact my casting style is very unorthdox, I solely self-taught and some people cringe when they see me cast and others 'oooh and ahhh'.

As you probably noticed watching me cast, I do not go light on the power myself (Mike Kinney made some comment that I have little too much testrone because of my single handed casting).

Anyways...because of the power I will put into both the forward and backcast, I had a horrible tendency to throw one tailing loop after another on softer rods. I grew up on GLoomis and Sage RPL+s...rods that dont mind that extra power.

George Cook and I were dinking around with single handers one day and he looked at me and said one thing "Think 0-60" as in MPH (or KPH...you folks do measure time in hours up there, dont 'ya??).

That little comment made all the differnace in the world. Do not think power, do not think velocity, think accleration! You can hit the rod as hard as you want as long as you maintain that acceleration with a proper follow thru. You can also power through as lightly as you would like and as long as you accelerate, you will generate a tight loop and decent line speed.

After I worked on that though, applied it to my stroke, a very unothordox stroke (I recieved my first casting lesson a year...after 10 years of flycasting) etc., I could cast the some of the softer rods such as the Winston BL5 and WT's, Scott G series etc. almost as well as I could the XP's and Tiborons etc.

Also, breaking your wrist isnt always a bad thing-there is a proper way an a proper time to break your wrist. Because I am a little guy (5'10", 160 pounds), I found over time, that to reach the distances I needed, I had to extend out my stroke. Maximize the distance my rod traveled to help maximize the amount of energy applied to the line.

As I extend my stroke, I open my body up and my rod literally becomes parrell with the water because my wrist is breaking severely! In fact, you can not cast without breaking your wrist. According to Lefty, the only reason for a tailing loop is not the proper crack of the wrist on your forward. I believe that your backcast and forward cast should mirror one another so if I am going to break my wrist on my forward cast, I sure as Hell am going to do it on my backcast! The severity of the 'break' is all dependant upon the distances I am trying to reach...when I am fishing in short, obviously my rod tip barely moves as I am just working the tip of the rod.

I compensate for this severe break in many ways...if you would like to know how I do, let me know. I can also go into detail on the proper time and manner in which to break your wrist...

...as you have noticed, I am as about untextbook as they come. I dont teach the casting stroke to students like so many do as I want them to develop a stroke that is comfortable to them. I instruct my students what the goal of flycasting is and why and how to reach that goal (as the subject of this post says, there are many differnt ways to skin a cat).

I am also more concerned with them knowing how to troubleshoot their cast by looking at their loops, by listening to their line etc. etc.

I also take great pride in my instructing abilities...I am far from a great caster but the amount of people I have seen benefit from my instruction sure as Hell leaves a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside! I actually had a very good caster today offer me up a 6 pack of my beer of choice because I managed to help him greatly!! We need to hit the water together!!...God knows I need some further instruction and tweaking with my two-handed cast!!

I could ramble on about single handed casting for hours but I will leave it at that!!



Juro-
You have excellent loop control...not necassarily in the size of your loop but when you open and close it! This is something I am always working on and watching you maintain that tight loop at those extra long distances was a sight to see! I have a tendency to open my loop to soon and I also manage to generate a fair amount of turbulence on my forward cast which I think is a product of my open extended stroke...much much less room for error with a stroke like mine!

Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special
www.theswungfly.com

Last edited by NrthFrk16; 04-24-2003 at 02:57 AM.
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