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Discussion Starter #1
I did some casting today and actually managed to hook a small fish. Whlie casting I discovered a question.

I have been taught that with shorter belly lines (WC and skagit size) there is no pause between the D-loop stroke and forward stroke with snap-T and double speys.

Assuming that people agree with this, (I'm guessing at least one person won't) I was puzzeled by something today.

I had two rods out with me today my 13' 8 weight and my 11' 8/9 Loomis switch / mini-spey. Both had WC on them. With my 13' I did not need to pause and my best casts came when I didn't. On my 11' I did need to pause slightly to let the loop form.

Is the issue of whether to pause and how long to pause purely related to line length or is it the relationship between the line length and the rod length. It seemed that because the 11' rods loop was not as tall it needed more time to form. It also seemed like the 11' needed more of a V loop because of it's lack of clearance.

I know this is getting down to minor details but I've been making an effort to improve my casting.

Gillie
 

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Mr. Mom
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Gillie said:
Is the issue of whether to pause and how long to pause purely related to line length or is it the relationship between the line length and the rod length. It seemed that because the 11' rods loop was not as tall it needed more time to form. It also seemed like the 11' needed more of a V loop because of it's lack of clearance.
Gillie
I certainly won't claim to have an authoritative answer, but if you think about it the rod tip of the longer rod is travelling a greater distance at greater speed, therefore the loop is travelling back faster.

Does this mean mean the shorter rod requires a pause? That's a question for one of our THCI boys. I've personally never cast a rod shorter than 12.5 feet so I don't have any experience.
 

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I'll be interested in hearing the responses to this. Here is this mediocre caster's thoughts:

I think the rod action--recovery rate--might have a lot to do with this. A slower rod will allow more of a continuous motion, whereas a quick rod might recover fully before the loop has formed.

(At first thought, it seems like the quicker rod might form the D-loop more quickly also, but if the loop formed properly with the slower rod, increased line speed would tend to pull the anchor if other things--the trajectory of the D-loop and location of the anchor--are equal.)

Recently, watching one of the Skagit masters, we observed that there was usually (not always) a brief pause as the D-loop formed. Skagits are very short lines, so the fact there was any pause at all using a Skagit means a pause will very likely be needed when using a windcutter, at least with some rods.

I'll have to pay attention to my pause the next time I'm using a WC, and I know I will if I even get a Skagit head.

--Bill
 

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Back loop Variables

Gillie,
A few variables goes into forming the back cast loops: action of the rod (slow, progressive, fast), line profile, line carried, line function (floating to full sinking), type of fly (heavy to delicate), desired back loop ("D" or">" loop), casting stroke style and probably a few more things that my early mornin' brain can't think of now. Start with the action between the two rods and see if there is a major difference. The slower the rod action the more constant load generally speaking. Next are you trying to achieve a wedge loop or soft loop on your back cast? Wedge loops require a flatter draw back with a definite stop for higher line speed and you will need to pause for the loop to form. Soft loops require a constant motion without a pause and the pull back is generally slower with a touch less effort. The effort and pause or no pause is all dependent upon the length of line carried. May I suggest you practice with both rods making a "D" and ">" loops. I think you will notices that the effort in your "pull-back" to "anchor-set" in both back cast loops forming correctly is crictical. A very fine line separates stages/elements (pull back to anchor set, circle up) in the amount of effort you apply to the rod. Experiment. Good Luck, Klem
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Gillie -

You can easily answer this for yourself with any given rod/line.

With either a snap or double, complete your white-mouse sweep and stop without casting in the firing position, watching your d-loop as it swells outward, letting it fall. Sweep it back and forth without casting as many times as you need to note how long it takes for the d-loop to swell outward before it falls. Make sure the line is being lifted to the extent that the the fly sometimes "pirouettes" (as Simon G says) but not so much that the nail knot and leader gets lifted completely from the water.

I am no physicist I am pretty sure it's impossible to have a d-loop without a pause. The purpose of the pause is to allow the d-loop to form which takes time, albeit not much. However it's often more than you'd think.

As you adjust things like rod length and angle of attack, line length, speed, even grains for the rod power - you might find it useful to think in those terms to determine how long to pause.
 

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I have noticed this also when casting my LGL9116 and any given 14ftr belonging to whomever I am fishing with for the day. Casting a WC on both I have to pause a bit longer before the forward stroke. I attributed it as being similar the what needs to be done changing from a WC/Skagit sized body to an XLT/Mid Spey sized belly on the same rod. Could there possibly be a formula like (I have troubles putting the pictures in my head into words, so bare with me): rod length/belly length = pause time? I guess that wouldn't really equal what I am trying to get at, but does anybody know what I mean?
 

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Jamey,
Try with a mid-belly line to accomplish two types of back loops: the Perfect "D" and the very point ">" loops. I think you will notice that the pause is one of the important elements for the ">" and no pause is critical to forming those loops. Have a friend watch your back loops. Now, try the same exercise with as many line profiles as possible and also add sink tips to your lines. See what happens. Does the pause affect the back loop shape? Then ask yourself the question, does the shape of the back loop affect your casting situation, line profile and presentation?

Side Bar: line profiles are belly lengths ie, Heads, Short-Bellies Mid-Bellies, Long-Bellies etc.
Klem
 

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Jamey,
If you can stay off of the "brews" until about 10 AM your ability to control loop size should greatly improve............................
Stan

The road to fly casting excellence is a never ending journey.
 

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I think were going in two sperate directions. Like I said, I'm not that great at putting the pictures in my head into words. What I was getting at was more along the lines of, the longer the belly in relation to the length of the rod, the longer the pause. When using a long bellied line, on a shorter rod, the motion of the D-loop going back will take a bit longer than it would with a long rod, as it has further to go.

I'm imagining my D-loop as a triangle, the rod being one side of the triangle, the D-loop making up the other two. Increasing or decreasing rod length (or one side of the triangle) will effect the angle of the other two.

Am I splitting hairs here? Did I watch too many Pink Floyd movies when I was younger?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Slightly off my original question; I find it interesting the difference in advice you can get. I have been working with some teachers, asking questions on here, and using one or two videos to refer back to as I try to improve my casting.

I had a chance this evening to watch the first part of Dec Hogan's DVD again (the first part is the casting instruction). He emphasizes at least three times that there should be no pause at the top "with shorter tapers". It has been my assumption that he is fishing / casting a delta since that is the line he worked on designing.

I don't mention this to challenge those who say there should be a pause. I'm far from being capable enough to challenge any one yet.

I comment on it more to point out how challenging it can be to integrate all the information you get from different sources.

Just an observation.

Gillie
 

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Klem said:
What length of rods are you comparing? Klem

My LGL 9116 and SVA's Sage 9141, fishing a WC, 8/9/10 on the LGL, and a 9/10/11 on the 9141. Geometry was never one of my strong points, but its something I think about when I make that transition.

In my thinking, making that jump is similar (though not exactly the same) as fishing the the 9141 with a WC, then switching to an XLT/MidSpey sized belly.
The longer belly will require a longer pause on the 9141 than the WC would. Just as a longer pause would be required on the 9116 than on the 9141, with the same size belly. I haven't tried an XLT sized line on the 9116, and don't plan to :Eyecrazy: .
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Gillie -

You're right there are all kinds of situations and all types of advice and this can get confusing.

For instance:

With the 13' and WC mentioned, try a snake roll without any pause at the top (after flipping the egg)- I'd put my money on the anchor whipping back in mid-air since it hasn't touched water yet without the pause. Add the pause, let it touch down and you're good to go. This pause is one of the key points made by the snake roll's inventor Simon Gawesworth and is a critical point in learning the cast.

You could modify the snake roll so the spiral ends up slapping the water thus eliminating the pause, but that can't be too pretty to watch.

Now on the other end of the spectrum:

Try a perry poke with the same amount of pause. This cast relies on pulling continuously against a sustained water load and you can't let that pull pause in the middle or you lose 'traction'.

I have the Dec video and the way I interpret his 'no pause' as applying to specific casts, advocating a continuous load method with a water load. In essence it's a Skagit technique. Dec, Ed, Marlow, all those guys were in the same think tank in the navy. But I could be wrong, I'll have to watch it again to be sure, just going on memory here.


Regardless, the purpose of the stop is to release the load in the rod and let the d-loop form. Whether you start forward right away (i.e. no pause) or not depends on whether you are sustaining the load through the direction reversal or not - otherwise it's just creep. Some lines (and casts) take longer than others.

Starting forward early shortens your available stroke length for the forward cast, and usually orients the power stroke in a forward angle, meaning further out in front of you. There is nothing wrong with that, and it works great with short belly lines but when casting long belly lines or shooting long distances with Skandinavian setups the power stroke is often made less forward, tilted back if you will, to lengthen and/or level the path of acceleration.

I liken this to throwing a javelin. You could pull the javelin in front of you and then finish the throw with your forearm and wrist, or you could accelerate over a longer path starting behind you and stop high and hard.

Coming forward after the d-loop stop depends on sustained load and desired stroke angle for the forward cast.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Juro,

It is interesting that you refer to the skagit technique. Most of the teachers I've had to this date teach what I consider a skagit'esque technique. I've had the fortune of taking classes with Amy Hazel and Scott O'Donnell who are both linked to that Dec/Ed/Skagit world. Scott actually working on Rio's skagit line for them.

The interesting thing is that some of them do the same technique with WC / Delta size lines also. Not just the shorter Skagit heads. I know that Dec is a big delta proponent. Although Ed is a big proponent of 3 to 3 1/2 times the rod length I'm finding that by lengthening the sweep of the rod just a little the same techniques will work with casting WC / Delta length.

I've always thought of Dec's technique as a skagit technique also, but a number of times debate has erupted on the forum over what is truly skagit technique. All I know is that since I've incorporated a lot of these ideas and techniques my casting has dramatically improved. I'm definitely a short belly / skagit head guy for the next year or two until I can cast them with my eyes closed. I've set an arbitrary length of 65' belly that I won't try to break for now. Although I guess that actually puts me into the midbelly range.

What I have gathered from this thread and the great answers I've gotten is that I am totally screwed when I eventually decide to play with longer belly lines :Eyecrazy: :Eyecrazy: . That's ok though it will be a fun relearning process I'm sure.

Gillie
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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OK - I couldn't stand it so I the put the dvd on... I think this is partly about the interpretation of the word "pause".

- Watching Dec cast (beautifully BTW) he is doing what I would call a pause, that is to say he's not driving forward until the d-loop is ripe for the taking. Perhaps it's not what a traditionalist might call a proper pause. It's a pause for the purposes discussed earlier - to let the d-loop form.

- During the very short clip on Decs snake roll, he clearly either has to wait for the snake to unwind and lay down before proceeding, naturally.

- Another key is his high sweep. With short dense lines a high sweep can be swelled outward enough without forming a vee, more of a rounded cup shape and that's plenty for loading the rod with concentrated grains and a short length.

- Unlike many he does not have a forward oriented stroke, in fact it's crisp and abrupt and has a high stop and sharp loop. Chicks dig it. ;)


In the end it's about concentrated grains and opposing tension.

When you watch the double-spey footage in slomo you can see that the forward cast is well underway when the fly is still sliding backward, the line in a large "S" shape. Each segment is pulling against the other until it all sorts out. Because the line is not too long, it all pops out into a straight line in the end.

Spey casting is so cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Juro,

I agree that he has some cool looking casting. I have been trying to emulate it but don't do it justice ....... yet.

I have been incorporating the high lift and trying to incorporate the high abrupt stop. When I hit it, which isn't often enough, the line just launches itself effortlessly.

As far as seeing a pause in his cast, that led to some of the original thoughts and questions I had. I too slowed it down and thought there was at least a slight delay between the d-loop stroke and the forward component.

In the last year as I've become serious about my casting I'm definitely finding that for everything I learn I find a lot more questions.

Thanks for all the input.

Gillie
 

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Keeping in mind that I'm a complete newbie...

I think that there is a sense of the line. A feeling if you will. For a new caster like myself I need to watch as much of the line as I can and focus on the formation of the D loop. While watching the loop form you start to get a feeling in your hands and arms about how the line is acting and forming. As you develop as a caster this feeling develops so that when you finally master a cast you don't need to watch the line you just feel the whole line and KNOW what it is doing.

Depending on the style you develop you will need to have more or less pause at the top. For a fast aggressive caster there may be almost no pause. For a slower more relaxed caster there will be more pause. But I think it is an apparent pause while the expert caster allows the rod to load. In reality both casters are dynamic in that they are feeling the rod load and starting their forward cast.

Keeping all this in mind a new caster should get one rod/line/reel setup and learn with that. The beginner needs to learn this line sense and he can't do that if he keeps changing rods. Settle on one rod and practice. :D
 
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