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I have a question. I am not trying to start a debate on short belly vs long belly or anything like that. But, in the small book that comes with rio lines it points out that short bellies are good for beginners and mid bellies for better casters and long bellies for good casters. I also know that many people on this board think that if you start with short bellies you can learn some bad habits that will be hard to over come when you do start fishing a longer belly.

My question is this, I have gotten to be an ok caster with a short belly, are there some common things to work on when going to a longer belly? I know a lot of my problem with longer bellies is getting the D loop right. What seems simple with a WindCutter is difficult with a mid or long belly. I guess it is a mater of loading the rod on the back cast properly and tempo. Any hints?
 

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The one manditory thing you will have to work on is to lengthen the casting stroke, no way to get around that one! You will also find that the set up of the cast no matter what cast you choose must be done in a slow smooth fashion, the initial lift of line before going into your D loop needs to be very controlled. Also might add that short belly lines are not just for begginers they are a highly efficient tool used by many of the best casters and the same goes for long lines. Learn to cast both types of lines well so you can get the most out of your fishing in any given situation. Most important thing is to have fun, it will take time to make the adjustment how much time depends on how much time you devote to practice :)
 

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Dave,

After the Charity Spey Clinic I'm sure your casting is already much better than mine, and maybe these basic points won't help, but in case they do...

The 180 degree principle becomes more important...the D-loop must be directly opposite the target. True for short bellies, also, but not as critical.

The rod tip must rise into the firing position. The bigger the D-loop, the easier it is to dump too much line into the anchor.

Less anchor is needed and really, it is better if you have less than is optimum for a short belly. Also, and related, the forward spey must start earlier relative to the timing of the anchor. On long casts (that I can't make), the forward spey actually starts before the line tip touches the water.

***Another thing I notice, that I am hoping others will comment upon, is that I BELIEVE (my opinion--looking for responses) the D-loop formation needs to be made with more of a "cast" with a long belly than is needed with a short belly. With a short belly, you can get away with not having a good stop on the "backcast," as long as the other factors are correct. It might not be optimum, but it is OK. To form a big D-loop, though, a good stop is needed. The good stop promotes greater line speed and more of a V-loop. I noticed this when watching my kids, who have better D-loops than I. I think this is the reason.

--Bill
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Bill,

There seems to be two schools of thought on forming the D Loop with long belly lines. One school tends to power the backcast (the formation of the D Loop) and uses a hard stop and a definite unloading of the rod before the foreward spey is begun. The other one tends to make a very long sweep of the rod with an almost imperceptible stop that moves directly into the forward spey. Both work although I have found those of us who like fast rods usually use the hard stop you mentioned and those you use more moderate, fuller flexing rods usually use the long sweep and nearly imperceptible stop and moving directly into the forward spey.

The foregoing is regarding the single spey, the double spey may or may not have the hard stop on the backcast (forming of the D Loop) with either casters of fast or more moderate action rods.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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(cut and paste from old Forum post)

Four things to think about when casting long belly lines:

#1 - blending power from lift to sweep

Once the lift is completing and it's time to sweep, it helps to flex the rod early at the beginning of the sweep as if part of the lift, then let the line float back into the d-loop rather than the opposite which is pulling gently starting from the lift and flexing real hard at the end of the sweep / d-loop.

My theory on this is that it's easier to load the sweep early and let the anchor descend toward the water in a manner that cooperates with gravity than to try to lift it off the water at the end of a sweep that started weakly in the first place.

Power applied at the end of the sweep often encourages the caster to over-rotate, which robs the subsequent forward cast of most of it's energy as well.

#2 - Postion of hands == angle of rod

The bottom hand must be lower than the upper arm's elbow throughout the entire movement, including drift and rise. Anything else relieves the load on the top half of the d-loop, which lets everything drop down behind the caster.

#3 - Tilting the d-loop bottom-out

If the anchor is landing right beside you, it's very hard to fit a long belly line in such a small vertical space. If not canted outward far enough, all that long belly is crammed between the rod tip and the water.

Sweeping a little wider uses centrifugal force to keep the line tight coming around and places anchor out a rod length out to the side. Thus the d-loop is tilted bottom-out making the long belly much easier to fold into a d-loop and easier to cast with a light touch.

#4 - Anticipation of anchor, tightening the d-loop before the 'kiss'

A commonly noted rule of thumb for long belly lines is to begin to put a forward-moving load into the rod (albeit a slow and gradual load) just a touch before the anchor actually touches down. This does not mean creep, which is coming forward without any load - but a "pre-load".

Case in point:

If a caster starts forward too quickly, the anchor never touches to water and kicks out backward like a mule. That proves that an early forward stroke actually keeps the anchor off the water, as strange as that may sound. Just like the second half of a snap-T makes the line come over the top faster pulling at the proper (creep-free) speed and timing keeps the anchor from falling.

So when casting a long belly line there is so much grain weight and momentum going backward that it's possible to start loading the rod forward a bit before the anchor hits the water, thus actually helping it stay off the water while at the same time providing the proper tightening of the d-loop and pre-loading of the rod that is important to realizing maximum power from a long stroke.


Of course there are a lot more than four things to think about but I hope you find this helpful.
 

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everything said above is great and since it's all been said i'll just add this..

Some casts work better than others with long bellies ( in my opinioin)

for instance i won't snap-tee with a long belly or throw a double spey. Though both casts can be done well i think that they are inefficient when moving the longer lines. It's just easier to to use cast that set the anchor imediatly before casting. Therefore for me i prefer single speys and spirals for doing long belly work at least with a floating line.

I think the theory of casting long bellies is pretty simple, long line long stroke. just try to make all your movements as smooth as possible as mentioned by others...
 

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loco alto!
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in addition to above, other things that have helped me, learned from various sources:

on singles, spiral to clear line, and always minimize dips in the casting stroke
on doubles, don't sweep, instead kick line "out and in" with an inverted "V"
on snakes, flatten out the ellipse
on snaps, pile line somewhat to keep the anchor close

for all, finish high
 

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work on the tip feel

work on the tip feel as it loads during the swing `round,,,best tip i can give
 

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drbfish,

One thing that hasn't been pointed out is that you don't need to go from a 54.5' head (depending on rod length and where you like the WC head, somewhere in the range of 65' to 70' or so of line at the hands + leader) and then try to handle 100'. Work your way up to it.

I also suggest using a rod at least 14' in length. Longer if you have one. Trying to learn to carry a long line with a 13' 7/8/9 is the not the easiest.

William
 

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An admitted newbie but..- I have been learning on an XLT with a 15' and 17 '. Find a distance -70/80/90' at which you feel comfortable and at ease and work on lift, D-loop formation , anchor and delivery loop formation till you have have it finessed at that distance. Increase the length a little- 5/10/15' and do the same there. Wash,rinse and dry and increase another 5/10/15' and do the same. Its become very clear to me that a solid basis, refined at easily handleable distances is the foundation for going further. Timing and power applications change at greater distances but the fundamentals stay the same.

Will
 

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Great points, everybody! :)

Here´s another that I still have to think a lot about when casting anything longer than a shooting head: When casting more or less square, it´s easy to "tilt" your body upstream when making the sweep, which leads to too much line stick and a lot of splashing and whatnot. I find it helpful to adhere to Derek Brown´s words on the subject: "Stand proud!".
 
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