Casting Big Flies and Heavy Stuff
When casting big flies, sink tips, sinking lines, tandem fly rigs more than likely we will need to consider how we will do this. When we teach fly casting we always seem to focus on narrow loops and this is okay. This is because narrow loops are aerodynamic, take less energy to cast and are more efficient. Narrow loops are perfect for weight forward and double taper lines but not so much for sinking lines and heavy flies.
It takes more force to cast these heavy lines and flies and when cast with a fast, tight loop bad things can happen. When casting a sinking line or heavy fly there can be too much energy at the end of the cast causing the line or fly to “kick over” resulting in poor accuracy and often times tangles. What you need to do is slow down and cast wider loops.
Imagine that casting a floating weight forward line is like driving a Corvette. It’s fast and can take sharp turns easily. Then imagine casting a sinking line or heavy fly. It’s like driving a school bus. It’s slow and needs to take wide turns. Slowing down your cast and widening your loops will reduce the kick and keep your line from tangling and improve accuracy. Constant tension casts such the Belgian or Oval casts are an option for these situations as they eliminate the abrupt stop at the end of the cast.
Don’t forget that leader and fly line taper will also determine how much energy is left when the line and leader straighten. Remember Newton’s Second Law of Motion? Try casting a fly line with no leader and see what happens. Even a line and leader with short taper length and little change in leader diameter will deliver a dry fly with authority. While a line and leader with a longer taper length and greater decrease in leader diameter will deliver a fly more delicately. What does it all mean? Alright, here we go! As a fly line or leader is unrolling the diameter is decreasing due to the taper and the speed is increasing. While the speed is increasing the air resistance is also increasing resulting in a gentle presentation. A taper with little decrease in diameter will turn over a heavy fly better than a longer taper with significant decrease in diameter. Taking the time to make adjustments in your line or leader will payoff in better control of your casting. So don’t try to hang a big ol’ bass popper on the line and most especially the leader that you were dry fly fishing with last week or expect to get a gentle dry fly presentation with a level line and straight length of monofilament for a leader!