Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Northern California
Randy, let me see if I can marginally unobfusticate the issue for you. What nooksack said is the crucial thing, the fly needs to be outside (i. e. further away from you) of the "railroad tracks". I'm sure you have heard of these, but if you need a review these are the lines that you want the cast to go and the parallel (closer to you) line that your rod moves during the power stroke. As you have no doubt heard of or discovered for yourself if the fly is inside these "orange" lines ( for some reason Simon G. thinks of them as orange lines in his head, and they are warning lines of a sort) then bad things WILL happen, wind knots, flubed casts - "you'll put your eye out kid!" So that is the hard rule. Likewise a similar thing happen if your orange lines cross.
I'm trying not to use the word "anchor" here since as you and others have pointed out, the word is used in many contexts and for different things, not to mention as a noun, verb and sometime an adjective. Different people also tend use it as a matter of personal convinience and style to refer to different parts of the font of the line on the water, including master instructors I have noticed. They usually define it at the beginning as a short hand, but there is not a precise fixed definition that everyone uses.
So the rule about fly position relative to the orange tracks is hard. The next most important rule is that at the moment where the power stroke begins the front part of your lines stuck to the water up to the fly, and the D loop should be straight as possible and lined up with the cast track, the one on the outside.
That is it.
Now stylistically there are a number of variations that are all valid, and relatively ok having to do with the spacing of the outside track (where the front of the stuck fly line up to the fly lines up) and the parallel inner track (the line the tip of your rod moves). For example the narrower the tracks the more efficient the cast, though too narrow might be flirting with trouble. On the other end of the spectrum you can have wider tracks, up to a point,and still make a functional cast. The width will effect the cast loop, etc. Also you may like to, or choose to, make a more side armed cast and so both track would be placed farther from you. You make also cast that way for other reasons, like you want to cut one lower over the water in a stiff wind and so on. Also you will will often want an anchor further out, for example to move the back loop away from a close bank. So there is no hard answer. The fundamental rules above are the only things that are hard, because they are based on the physics. Hopefully it should be good news at this point that you don't HAVE to put then line in one exact position to do a cast. You do have to watch where it goes, and make sure you follow the hard rules for good results. To a certain extent you will quickly learn to adjust your cast direction to compensate for a slightly misplaced line on the repositioning - as in "I meant to do that". Also of course, as nooksack mentioned, the line moves in the current during the sweep too.
A good exercise, as well as a skill that will become important, is to practice putting the fly/anchor at different spots up and down river, and more and less out in the river. If you follow the rules you will still get ok casts, but at a certain point depending on the line and style of casting things will break down. For example if you place it too far up or downstream, and and the line doesn't get pulled straight along the D loop line, as in how it works casting a short skagit head, then you will get a bloody L (line not lying on the water at the moment of the power stroke straight, and lined up with the D loop.
Hope this helps a bit, if only to assure you that there are no hard rules about "anchor placement", just hard rules about the physics of the subsequent cast. But the best rule to start with is to learn to WATCH both where the line ends up after the repositioning, and where it ends up after the sweep. If you always do that, and watch the results, then there will eventually be no mystery, either consciously or subconsciously, as to why you got the results you did.
Last edited by Botsari; 09-05-2016 at 12:13 PM.