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Discussion Starter #1
The first guy has 80 feet of line out and casts a nice tight loop and the belly and tip hit the water the same time and is straight. The second guy strips out 100 feet and and casts a large loop and the tip squiggles to the water. The belly lands first and then 15 feet more line shoots through the guides. Is the second guy casting 100 feet? Jerry
 

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My .02 cents only.

It's where the "fly" lands that counts. One assumption: the end of the line/leader doesn't land in a heap. Read that the line ran out of "omph."
fae
 

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Furthermore, guy #1 is probably fishing his fly further, longer and more effectively than the guy who puddles his line. By the time guy #2's line straightens out and enough tension comes on the the fly for it to actually fish - the swing will be 1/2 done! Meanwhile, #1's fly begins to fish almost immediately (depending on the size of the mend employed).

While I am an advocate of big rods and very long casts, I try to employ them only in places that require them - even then the techique has to be good or you are wasting your time. A crisp 80' cast will catch more fish than a crappy 100'+ cast every time - no matter how large the run.
 

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A partly dissenting opinion from a mediocre caster...

Example Case (swinging wets or wakers, not nymphing):
A great lie, along a shelf or some boulders, on the far side of the river.

Options:
(1) The "bad" 100 foot cast with a bunch of slack near the fly. Mend sharply upstream (without moving the fly) to compensate for the relatively fast midstream current. Once tension is on the fly, follow with the rod tip to keep the fly swimming more down than across.

(2) The 80 foot cast with a tight line to the same location as option 1.

(3) Move upstream 60 feet, make a 100 foot cast angled downstream to the same location, with a tight line.

Which is the best fishing cast? In all cases, one can, nce tension is on the fly, follow with the rod tip to keep the fly swimming more down than across.


I often can't do #3, which may be the best option, so I'll settle for #1. In all cases, one can, once tension is on the fly, follow with the rod tip to keep the fly swimming more down than across, but this is most easily accomplished in case 1.


Note that the fly will move from the mend if the cast is made with a tight line.

Comments?

--Bill
 

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Bill,

Hence, my contention that fishing is often more about the creative use of casts and just figuring out how to get it in front of a fish!

I will also contend, that you need to be able to make the stack cast on command - not by default - before it is a good fishing cast.
 

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Jerry,

The short answer is no, the second guy is not casting 100 ft.

I think that some times it is a good thing to have 20' of slack but agree with Kush, you need to do this on command. How many times have you been fishing where there is a current seam 80' out with depth of about 6'. In this situation I find it useful to let the fly free drift and sink for 10-15'. The options for this are to 1)overcast and mend so the fly is drug to the edge of the seam, 2) feed slack line into the drift, or 3)produce a slack cast followed my an upstream mend.

st
 

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"ST," with your description above you'd be..

right at home on the Rogue. Describes to a 'T' how most of us (single or 2 handed rods) run our flys using sinking leaders or tips.
fae
 

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Let's assume that we're talking about casts designed to fish sinking fllies near the bottom. How fast the fly sinks is a function of current speed, water depth, fly density, and whether or not the fly is under tension. Regardless of the first three parameters, the fly will sink most readily if and while the leader is slack. So puddling of the leader and sinking tip is a good thing during the few seconds following splashdown.
While it's nice to be able to cast 100 feet at will, a cast of 80-90 feet employing 90-100 feet of line/leader, with deliberate slack at the far end, is the more effective fishing cast.
 

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Tyler,

You nailed it regarding the ability to make a stack cast or slack line cast at will, instead of as the default of a poor cast. Like you, I also am an advocate of big rods and long casts; however, in a days fishing, only about 20% or so of the time do I need to cast 100 or more feet. The rest of the time I am casting and fishing between 60 and 90 feet.

Mac,

Yes, the puddle cast will get the fly suck to a greater depth; however, as Tyler and Sinktip implied, if you do not have the ability to make a puddle cast of slack line cast at will instead of by default, you need to spend more time practicing your casting so that you can turn over everything at the end of the cast unless you have consciously decided not to.
 

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I must say I am fascinated by these discussions as my in my opinion the basic steelhead swing and presenation is kept too simplified by so many.

So many look at the setup and swing with too much simplicity and it is difficult to find a written word beyond the very basics of the swing....

Anyways...I tend to focus on getting the sinktip and as much of the belly and running line spun around so it is parrell with the current as I would like...I then enter slack if need be.

This always isnt the case though as sometimes when I do get the undesirable slack at the end of the cast...my first mend pulls out more slack then it does change the angle I am looking for on the fly and the sink-tip.
 

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"you need to be able to make the stack cast on command - not by default - before it is a good fishing cast"

Tyler, I never claimed to be doing anything more than making the best of a bad situation. However, the key is knowing what the cast will do, and then setting up for the best location to cast from and to, so that the best possible presentation can be made.

There is no doubt that I will be better served when I can make that 100 foot straight line cast consistently. IMO, and as I've written previously, when fishing wakers across currents, to pockets on the far side, the greatest possible downstream presentation is desirable. The farther one can cast--with complete turnover and a tight line--the better one can fish those pockets.

Right now, I'm using my mediocre casting skills and slightly better fishing skills the best I can. My only point is that the slack casts can be important, and when one is not casting a clean 100-foot cast, one can still take maximize the "fishability" of that cast.

--Bill
 

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Bill,

I think this thread got a little off track (don't most?), I agreed with the need for a stack or puddle cast as a viable fishing cast - man you should see some of the casts I create in an ugly Thompson wind! It is all about getting the fly in front of the fish.

What I will say, however, is the better a caster one is, the more able they will be to ad lib when conditions demand it. This may be the single most important reason why I wanted to become an accomplished caster - not to say I could cast a reverse snake roll blah - blah feet, but to be able to to get a fish to take when the the conditions are so tough that most guys head for the bar!

I agree with you, when I blow a cast and it puddles - not on command - I usually throw a big mend as well, and say to myself - "well the drift will be shorter, but deeper" then I will make a second cast to cover the water the way I intended to before I step down for the next cast.

Too often we lose sight of the reason we cast - that is to catch fish! Normally, if we improve our casting skill we connect with more fish. However, some of the very best fishermen I know are just mediocre casters - but man, do they know steelhead. :whoa:
 
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