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Mr. Mom
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay instructors, how do you teach someone to develop a flat rod tip path on the forward stroke. Since nobody can actually see what's going on in real time with the rod tip, it's almost like asking someone to sing a Bflat with no instrument around to play them one first.

Joan Wulff, my personal favorite fly casting "communicator" tells folks to monitor the rod butt with single hand casting, since you can watch that. I personally pay attention to the path of my top hand and have faith that that, plus good acceleration will make a flat rod tip path. That works cognitively until I use a bottom hand oriented more vertical stroke, at which point I can't even imagine how the tip stays flat. Mongo gets headache when try to see picture in head :(

This question is spurred on by a repeat viewing of Speylapalooza, or Spey-o-rama, or whatever it's called where everyone keeps talking about flat tip paths as an article of faith, but nobody really communicated how to achieve it other than constant well timed acceleration, and that if you have a narrow loop, you clearly had a flat path.

I'm really just curious if someone can communicate it verbally. I can tell when I do it right because... well I have a narrow loop when I keep my hand level and get my acceleration right :D
 

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Phil
Do you mean straight rod tip path? I have not heard the term flat yet, that starting to sound kinda horizontal. I am curious as well hoping some one will chime in. Anyway, we can film it at the river on Saturday to see what the hands and rod tip are doing if you want.
 

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Mr. Mom
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey brian. Yeah I guess the term most are using is straight path, but that darn Simon Gawesworth has me thinking flat these days. The illustrations generally do show a horizontal line, that the rod flex magically adjusts to in order to allow the rod tip to follow the line. Check any casting book, the picture is everywhere, and I've never completely bought the story.

My main motivation is looking at the stuff that is out there, and wondering if I knew nothing about single or doublehand casting, what I would make of this. It's pretty much the only aspect of casting that we can't really see without high tech intervention. You can always stop your stroke and see if your tippet and line are lined up 180 degrees. You can look back at your loop and see if it is a D or a V. But you can't watch your rod tip... I'll probably be at the river saturday. I've been fishing instead, but the odds of hooking one with you guys is probably about the same as fishing :D
 

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Scraping the ceiling

As a way of creating a visualization (or tactilly, a "feelization,") I've told students to imagine that they're casting inside a room with a high ceiling, and that their challange is to cast with the rodtip lightly rubbing along the ceiling. This has more to do with false-casting with a single-hand rod, but perhaps it sometimes clicks in the mind of a speycasting student, too.
 

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JD
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rod tip path

You've already figured out most of it. Yes, the rod flexes during the stroke. Cast with a (real) broom stick, no flex, absolutely none, and the tip will sweep through an arc. It has to. No other way. The trick is to acheive a balance of power, timing, (when to apply the power and how much) and stop, in order to acheive this straight, flat path and maximize what the rod can do for you.

I would define a flat path as a two dimensional thing. A straight path is not only flat when viewed from the side, but in every aspect, from all planes. The result of a flat but not straight path is that even though the loop may be tight, the line kind of cork screws on the forward cast. And yes, trying to illustrate all this graphically is definately a challenge. Hopefully, now that we have digital video, someone will be up to it.

In the meantime, go fish. There is just no substitute for time on the water.
 

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Mr. Mom
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nooksack Mac said:
As a way of creating a visualization (or tactilly, a "feelization,") I've told students to imagine that they're casting inside a room with a high ceiling, and that their challange is to cast with the rodtip lightly rubbing along the ceiling.
hey Mac. That's what lots of teachers tell students, but the only feedback or clue that the student has that they are doing it right is when the cast works.

Is being given a benchmark for performance that they can in no way evaluate their performance against helpful? Food for thought.
 

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Philster said:
Is being given a benchmark for performance that they can in no way evaluate their performance against helpful? Food for thought.
Because it is an art. If it was purely mechanical anyone could cast 150'. But to reach out that far you have to practice, just like any other art form.
 

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Mr. Mom
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
baldmountain said:
Because it is an art. If it was purely mechanical anyone could cast 150'. But to reach out that far you have to practice, just like any other art form.
I personally don't think of spey casting, or any sport as being art. Art is about self expression. But to apply your analogy, I'll play along. Art is achieved by only a few. One must first master the Craft. Only when the craft, or in this case the mechanics are mastered is there room for self expression, or in your case "spey experssion". Grabbing a paint brush or a spey rod with little experience, doing something, and calling it art may be fine in terms of therapy, but calling it art is questionable. Yes it is self expression, but any success is often a series of lucky coincidences. Your next piece or cast might be absolute crap. Your mama might put it on the fridge but the rest of us don't give a damn.

You have to be able to manipulate the medium you are working with, paint, stone, words, spey rods, whatever with understanding and precision. You have to be able to land that anchor in the same place five out of five. Your forward stroke should be machine like in its efficiency and repeatability. Ten switch casts of the same length to the same spot under the same conditions should require ten strokes of the same length, acceleration, etc. When you can do that a few us will be lucky, inspired, touched by grace enough to take it to the next level. That's where art lives. Look at Al Buhr on the Spey0rama tape. He is an artist in your analogy. He takes the mechanics and plays with the medium he is using to make casts that laugh in the face of obstacles or wind. But if he had not internalized the lift, anchor, 180 degree principle, etc. He wouldn't have been able to free himself of them and truly CAST. You must Walk before running. And you must walk a Looooooooooooong way.

And by the way, a 150 cast is ALL ABOUT THE MECHANICS. Period.

Forgive me if I've come off too strong, and taken this off topic, because I really care about the thread.
 

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JD
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Art? Schmart??

Philster,

Some of the stuff other people call art, I wouldn't even think about hanging in my house. Quit being so analytical about it and spend some time on the water. :tsk_tsk: :chuckle:
 

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Mr. Mom
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JDJones said:
Philster,

Some of the stuff other people call art, I wouldn't even think about hanging in my house. Quit being so analytical about it and spend some time on the water. :tsk_tsk: :chuckle:
It's not a lack of time on the water, it's a lack of fish IN the water! I got the Shack Nasties bad!
 

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JD
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Fishing or casting practice

To catch fish, the fly must be in the water! :chuckle:
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Hey Phil,

Was thinking about this over the weekend when I was out practicing. I am using a bottom hand stroke which requires you actually pull down on the rod on the forward stroke. This seems to go against the old adage of keeping the rod tip flat cause for longer lines you are actually lifting your hands up and back and them pulling the whole thing down. The rod tip actually travels under the top of your dloop which is essential to stop tailng loops but the rod tip defintely aint 'scraping the ceiling'. I get very tight loops with this method.

Now if you cast like Joan Wullf and even Lefty Kreh thier styles seem to go hand in hand with the flat rod tip approach. However casters like Paul Arden (whose style is not unlike a scando spey caster) this flat rod tip stuff does not make sense...to me anyway.

-sean
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Well are we talking vertical or horizontal straight path? The scraping the ceiling adage denotes the need for a straight horizontal path of the rod tip. Watch any underhand video and the rod is in a straight path but not really in a horizontal staight line. For traditional spey casters it is though. The underhand cast seems to hold to the horizontal plane once the forward cast is dropped back down about half way through the forward cast. It is not in a straight path for the whole foward cast though. Just thinking out loud really and not sure what my point is...

-sean
 

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Speyshop's Speybum
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Philster,

Good comment on the Art and the Mastery.
We must all learn to crawl before we can walk.

Here are a few of my observations.

:D
As for the flat path of the rod tip or the straight-line path of the rod tip.
What dose the straight flat line path of the rod tip(SLPT) do.
First we must look at how you are forming the loop and how the path of the rod tip comes into play.
On a Speycast the Dynamic ((anchor leg) which will become the top leg of the loop) leg must be kept under constant tension and should form a ascending d-loop (more so with long belly lines than with short).
This Dynamic leg will become the upper leg of the loop and must be reaming fairly flat until we arrive at the firing position
At this point many people will drift the rod tip up and back to obtain even more length to their rod stroke. From the firing point to the stop stroke should be have slight upward trajectory this will maintain a tight loop provide the caster dose his part at the stop.
Mainly stopping the rod I high position.
:roll:
By keeping the SLPT we can be assured that out cast will go in a straight line from our firing position and our loop will roll out and finish in a straight line from where it was
fired.
The Under hand and SLPT
:rolleyes:
The use of the lower hand in the underhand cast give a large amount of speed to the rod tip which will react in a forward motion and not now even though you are pulling it down like a double haul.
The upper hand set the tip position at the stop some caster use the underhand stopping at their belly provides the stop Others will us the upper hand stop and In doing the this the moment when you rod feel the movement of the lower hand your top hand acts like a pivot to stop the rod.
:cool:
If you have a chance to film a good under hand caster Such as I did with Dana At the Sandy River Conclave and do it with fast enough speed.
I shot Dana at 15,000/1 of a second you can see many thing that become apparent with you slow it down to 20 frames a Second.
By studying these tapes and excretes from other under hand casters you can soon see just when and how to apply the under hand.

Just a few thoughts on the SLPT

:smokin:
 

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chrome-magnon man
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cool thread

I have to drive my family to the airport in 2 hrs and can't sleep. I was looking over this thread and it got me thinking. I tell folks in my classes to pay attention to their top thumb. The thumb is always in visual range with a two-hander, while the rod tip is not. Presuming that the rod is being accelerated properly, if the thumb is moving in a relatively straight line path, the rod tip will also move in a straight line path, forming a tight loop. This works for all styles of two-handed casting. The thumb can move in a relatively horizontal line (as in Traditional Spey styles), or it can move in a more vertical line (as in the Underhand styles). Even with very new casters who may not have the feel yet to properly accelerate a rod, having them pay attention to that top thumb will quickly improve their loops.

I use the term "relatively" on purpose, as you will notice that, in practice, many of the best casters have a somewhat convex arm/hand motion during the cast.

Here's what Jason says:

...you will note that the casting hand actually does move through a slight convex arc as it accelerates...Even though the rod butt is not moving in a perfectly straight line, the acceleration being applied to the rod (if done properly) compensates and produces more flattened rod-tip travel. Looking to the Going for Distance study, authors Al Kyte and Gary Moran concluded that even the best casters had similar convex motion during their casts. (p.31)
 

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I think it's time for a picture. Sorry it looks bad, but I don't really have the right tools.

The top picture is an ideal forward cast. The rod tip path is perfectly straight, and the loop will be microscopic. (All casts are right to left.)

In the next image down, the caster has applied too much power early. The rod over flexes and the rod tip drops and starts dragging the line toward the water. Since the caster can't keep this accelration going the rod starts to unload and the rod tip flips up and starts draging the line up instead of toward the water. Even though the finish is the same as in the ideal cast the caster has formed a tailing loop. (And if he tries even harder the tailing loop wil get worse.)

In the next picture the caster has applied power too late. The result will be a big open loop. The cast works, but will not go very far.

The last image is probably about as good as a mere motal can do. A slight arc to the rod tip, a decent loop. Pretty good distance.

Keep in mind that these images are all in two dimensions. In reality, the rod tip makes a complex path in three dimensions. Casters rotate the rod along it's axis as they bring it back and forward. They drop to the side and twist it up and around during the back cast. They throw the rop up over their sholder in the back cast and drag it around themselves toward their belly on the forward cast. All these swooshing motions need to be compensated for so that the rod tip follows a mostly straight path in order to get a tigh loop going in the right direction. Add in the flexing of the rod and you have quite a complex control system.

The fact that we can control such a system is amazing. To me this is art and not just mechanics.

Also keep in mind that rods flex a lot more than I have shown and people tend to start their forward cast father back and finish up farther forward. Even so, notice that the rod butt still makes an arc forward and down.
 

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Bruce Richards of Scientific Anglers and a University of Michigan professor developed a sensor to map your casting stroke using a single handed rod. I saw a demo of it at one of our club meetings.

The map shows the application of force vs. rotation ... and from their studies all good casters have the very same profile ... no matter what their hands, arms and body are doing. Some of the club members got to try it and were able to improve the stroke very quickly.

I didn't get to try the device out, but I already know like many others, I over power the rod too often and Mr. Tailing Loop and I are old friends.

I wonder if this device could be applied to a two handed rod?

Stephen
 
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