For Heaven’s Sake….Stop It!
The stop is an important factor in determining how successful a cast will be. This stop allows the rod to straighten, go into counter flex and the fly line to overtake the rod tip, forming the loop. After the stop the loop is on its way, in size, shape, speed and direction.
What the rod tip does before the stop affects the fly leg of the loop. If the rod tip travels in a wide arc from too much wrist movement before the stop, the fly leg of the loop will follow the same path. What the rod tip does after the stop affects the rod leg of the loop. Any movement of the rod tip after the stop, which repositions the fly line is called a mend.
So how do you stop the rod? Is the “stop” erratic, slow, lazy or abrupt? Let’s look at an example. Say you are making a cast and your rod tip is traveling in a fairly straight-line path and your rod is loaded or bent. All is right with the world! Now you decide to end or stop the cast and it is slow and easy, with the rod tip ending at the water’s surface. Your loop collapses, the fly line fails to straighten and piles up in front of you. Rats! What happened? When you started slowing down your cast right before the stop, the rod began to unload and straighten. By the time the rod stopped some of the energy from the loaded rod had been released and the fly line followed the rod tip to the water.
Always consider the direction the rod tip is going when the rod butt or your hand is stopped. If the rod tip is going relatively straight toward the target when the stop is made, it is likely to go where it is intended. On the other hand, if the rod tip is traveling in a big wide arc and stopped near the surface of the water the line will likely fail to straighten out and pile up in front of you, short of the target. Keep in mind that the loop will roll out in the direction the rod tip is traveling when the rod is stopped.
There are several analogies that can be used to explain how to make the stop. One that is often used is to think of the stop as “flicking the paint off a brush”. This analogy stresses the need for an abrupt stop. This abrupt stop sends the paint flying off the end of the bristles in the direction the brush was going much like the loop of a fly line catapulting off the end of a rod tip. Another analogy with the kind of stop that is needed is to think of a drawn bow and arrow. When the bowstring is released it propels the arrow forward and the bow snaps to an abrupt stop sending the arrow on its way. One more is to think of driving a nail into the wall in front of you. The hammer is swung and strikes the nail coming to an abrupt stop.
With an abrupt stop all the energy stored up in the bent rod is transmitted quickly to fly line overtaking the rod and propelling the fly line toward the target. In a cast with a slow stop the rod tip is straightening and releasing its stored up energy reducing the potential energy of the cast, line speed and distance.
Endeavor to make your stops like talking to a telemarketer at dinner time, abrupt and quick!