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So I am finding it hard to get practice in at the closest River, a half hour away with work and a young family. I have heard of people practising in fields but without the friction of the water, can it still work to properly learning my cast? Sorry yet another real noob question
 

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practice

This is not the answer your looking for but could be helpful. I live only a mile from the river and practice on the average about 3 times a week through out the year. I find that I cast everyday in my mind probably more than I do on the river. I find it very helpful to visualize my casting over and over in my mind. I guess you would call it mental casting. I know you need to physically cast some way but some of my biggest gains are made before I ever get to the river. One other helpful thought is to journal. Record all your Ideas and what worked and what's' not working why do you think its not working. Have a plan like anchor placement and stay with it till its close to perfect then string in another component. What I am trying to say is, I string it in visual well before I ever get to the stream. Good Luck slack
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is not the answer your looking for but could be helpful. I live only a mile from the river and practice on the average about 3 times a week through out the year. I find that I cast everyday in my mind probably more than I do on the river. I find it very helpful to visualize my casting over and over in my mind. I guess you would call it mental casting. I know you need to physically cast some way but some of my biggest gains are made before I ever get to the river. One other helpful thought is to journal. Record all your Ideas and what worked and what's' not working why do you think its not working. Have a plan like anchor placement and stay with it till its close to perfect then string in another component. What I am trying to say is, I string it in visual well before I ever get to the stream. Good Luck slack
Although this may not be the answer I was looking for, it is a good one, the journal is a very good idea and I think I will give that a shot, just trying to get the most out of the trip I do get to get out on the water, thanks slack
 

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I'd bet you could find some closer still water...

this is going to sound queer but when I walk the dog at night in the bush near my home I may make the arm movements and visualise like our mate above.
gawd forbid anybody ever sees me.



cheers,
shawn
 

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It can be safer to practice this way Shawn.
Cheers,
Mark
 

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So I am finding it hard to get practice in at the closest River, a half hour away with work and a young family. I have heard of people practising in fields but without the friction of the water, can it still work to properly learning my cast? Sorry yet another real noob question
Grass casting on a relatively smoothe, flat & mown grass field is a real alternative for casting practice when you can't so easily get to water to practice your casts on.

One major modification is required for most casting styles, and that is the construction of a 'grass mono leader' - this grass leader is made from mono which is constructed in 6" sections, ie knotted every 6", the free ends at each knot being left somewhat longer that you would use on a standard built mono leader, so that each knot area is better able to 'grip' the grass, and so reproduces the line stick of your normal water anchor. The leader may also need to be longer than you may be used to using on the water, again for the reasons of improving the line stick/anchor on the grass.

At the end of the leader, either tie on a 'disposable' tube fly (without hook), or a piece of yarn to simulate the fly.
 

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Overhead casting on field is not wasted time because it improves your overall fly line casting skill. Corrent power input to avoid tailing loops. Straight line path. Narrow line loops and also wide loops and everything in between because sometimes they are needed too. Drift which is the best trick to increase casting distance and 100% trick to avoid Creep. How to use both hands. How to coil line to fingers etc...

Esa
 

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Learning an oval cast (belgian cast) teach you a rod track which leads to the Switch Cast when you make a longer pause. If you have lots of room you can change casting direction when you repeat the oval cast many times. When right hand up turn CV. First a little and them more and more between casting cycle.
 

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I hope the other fellow wanting to practice is reading this. I feel that any casting is good casting and helpful. You don't have to replicate by practicing as you fish either. Visualizing and going through the motions as mentioned is not queer at all. Mike Maxwell (RIP) would have had his dudes going through the motions with nothing more than the butt-section of the rod to help build muscle-memory. Overhead casting and even on grass with grass leader - a PITA to build 6 inches at a time - are all beneficial.
 

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JD
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Practice rods

Joan Wulff and Rajeff Sports both market little practice rods with yarn lines. Somewhere, either here or on you tube, was mention of a guy who had added an extended butt using a chop stick & a wine bottle cork. I built one from a Rajeff Sports model, tested it out and gave it to a friend who was wanting to get into the two hand game. They work amazingly well in the confines of home or office.

Coming from So. Ca. where I considered myself fortunate to have a concrete casting pond a mere 13 mile drive from home, I can sympathize with those lacking access to moving water. There are, as demonstrated on Skagit Master I video, advantages to practicing on grass. Nothing, however, even begins to replicate the experience one gains when casting a real fly on a real steelhead river.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you everyone, all this is great info and makes me happy to be a part of this site, I have learned alot on this site already and am looking forward to soaking up more information
 

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I helped teach a fly casting class at Humboldt State for over 15 years and the head instructor was a big proponent of muscle memory and teaching what the hands/arms should do - much more so than what the rod should do (11 to 1, etc.) If your hands/arms are doing the correct thing then the rod and line will follow. The only thing then is getting the timing down and application of "power". And hand/arm motions is something you can do at any time without a rod in your hand. I also really like Slack's comment about visualizing. I am all the time walking around making rod casting motions - folks at work have learned to ignore me though I suspect many think I have a muscle/body malady :>)
 

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JD
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I helped teach a fly casting class at Humboldt State for over 15 years and the head instructor was a big proponent of muscle memory and teaching what the hands/arms should do - much more so than what the rod should do (11 to 1, etc.) If your hands/arms are doing the correct thing then the rod and line will follow. The only thing then is getting the timing down and application of "power". And hand/arm motions is something you an do at any time without a rod in your hand. I also really like Slack's comment about visualizing. I am all the time walking around making rod casting motions - folks at work have learned to ignore me though I suspect many think I have a muscle/body malady :>)
Nawww, they prolly write you off as just another nut job. :chuckle::chuckle:
 

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To the OP bcnorth,

My personal opinion is to avoid grass casting. It is different enough that you don't want to build in that muscle memory. MUCH better to use still water if available. If you can cast on still water, you will find moving water to be even easier. Plus, you will have built the muscle memory of casting on water. Sorry guys, I don't like grass casting at all. I think the visualization described above is significantly more beneficial than grass casting. The couple of times I've tried casting on grass I had to change my stroke so much that I was not really making the same stroke as on water. If you want to see real casting there are almost unlimited videos on YouTube. Personally I watch the SOR prelims and finals frequently, especially the finals. As much as possible only watch great casters, avoid watching the go-pro home video hacks. Don't want to pick up bad habits.

My thoughts, take them for what they're worth.

CT
 

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Muscle Memory

I tend to agree with CT. Grass is different to water. I have a river out front of my home so have not gone there very often. The special Grass line practice tip sounds like a great way to do it if that is the only thing available. Excellent to tune your forward stroke.

I also walk around my house visualizing and practicing with a rod butt in slow motion. Try watching in a mirror and follow the tip with the path of the ceiling or the top of the mirror so you see how the arms and hands keep the tip going straight. Perfect practice for short heads where you need to work within the phone booth.
 

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This is good to hear I'm not the only loon grabbing sticks and broom handles and within a minute, practicing my lift, sweep and straight line path. My dogs think i'm nuts. My neighbor caught me in the backyard the other day swinging a bamboo stick I use on hikes with the dogs as If I was standing knee deep in the Bulkley throwing out single speys. All that was missing was the flute music playing from the Karate Kid training montage. And Pat Morita (RIP).

All joking aside though...it's a great way to practice technique. 10,000 hour rule from the book "Outliers" is always in the back of my mind. So any muscle memory and body positioning that I can drill until it's unconsciously performed via repetition, i'm helping myself out when it comes time to hit the water. I know April Vokey has mentioned she used to take the butt section of her spey rod, tie a sock (or two) on it and run it through the ridge of her log cabin ceiling over and over again to guide a straight line path on the forward stroke. Use what you've got at your disposal. Whatever works to get your rod tracking in the right manner is time well spent.
 

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I am in the same position not living close to running water. I have to say I didn't take to grass casting even with the special leader. In the end I bought myself a 4wt switch rod to use on a trout lake. I can now practice my casting. Best conditions are with a bit of a breeze and you can position yourself with either on left or right shoulder to get practice in different casting strokes. The added benefit is you can fish, catch fish and enjoy both fishing and casting. I tend to use a one piece scandi line because the presentation is that much better. If I want to practice skagit then I tend to wait until the last hour and then put on a lure with a tip and focus on the cast. It's surprising how many fish you actually catch like this even though the presentation is not ideal. The other benefit is that you really do find running water that much easier when you get your chance. A bit like swimmers training fully clothed.
 

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This thread reminds me of a story I tell about my daughter, when she was maybe 8 years old and had already been playing the violin for 3 years. One evening, after her practice, I told her how well she was progressing and how I enjoyed her playing. She innocently responded, "Dad, if you practiced your fly casting every day, you'd probably be pretty good at it, too."

There's a lot of great advice in this thread. It has already been noted by others above, how important muscle memory is, and practice develops that memory....we can all use it, especially as we get older.

Jim B.
 

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Single hand rod 63 years, Spey 12 years Fly tying 63 years
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Hi bcnorthfly
Use a blood knot and 20 to 30 pound leader material and tie a knot ever 12 to 16 inches ,approx., try 15 ft of leader total. You will need to buy 20 or 30 pound leader material any way so here is a start. Leave 1/2 to 3/4 inch tags on the knots. it takes some getting used to but it works. AND slow down your casting stoke. You'll figure it out.
Bjay
 

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I agree with your comments about mentally going through the casting techniques. I am new to spey fishing and have found that until I get the concept clear in my head, it's nearly impossible for me to work on developing the muscle memory when casting on the river. I have to "wrap my mind around it" before I get on the river and try casting. So, I watch videos over and over again that demonstrate a particular casting technique, get it firmly implanted in my brain and then I am set to go to the river with rod in hand. If I can't visualize it in my head before I go to the river, it's much harder for me.
 
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