Straight and Smooth
In the last issue the importance of the straight-line path of the rod tip for a narrow loop was discussed. The principle of matching the rod arc to the rod bend for a straight-line path of the rod tip was the topic. There is also another principle that is required for a straight-line path and that is smooth acceleration of the rod tip. What this means is that when you start your cast you want to start slowly, increasing your speed through out the cast and then stopping abruptly. This is much like sitting in your car at a stop light. When you get the green light, you step on the accelerator with ever increasing pressure. You are accelerating smoothly. This smooth acceleration along with the weight of the line bends or loads the rod. The tip moves in a straight-line path if the rod arc matches the rod bend.
If the cast is not started slowly and instead is started with an abrupt application of power you will most likely get a tailing loop which will result in a line tangle or knot in your line, leader or tippet. This tailing loop is caused by the rod tip dipping down and back up from the abrupt application of power (There are several other causes of tailing loops). Since you cannot keep increasing that power or acceleration, the rod tip comes back up destroying the straight-line path of the rod tip, and creates a concave wave in the fly leg of the loop. This wave in the fly leg of the loop as it travels out will cross the rod leg of the loop and produce the tangle. Often you will know if you are not casting smoothly, if you hear a swooshing sound as you are making your cast. You will need to slow down your cast until you no longer hear the swooshing. It doesn’t take much power to make a cast and always remember that most of the power should be right before the stop at the end of the cast. Usually a slow moving cast with a tight, narrow loop will go farther than a big, wide fast moving loop and most certainly farther than a tangled up leader or line.
Keep in mind that the casting stroke consists of two elements, controlled hand translation and rod rotation.
When making your casts, think “straight and smooth”.