The Texas Six Step
By Bob Garber, CCI
I’m sure many of you have heard of the Texas Two Step. For those of us with two left feet, don’t worry the Texas Six Step is not a new dance for Saturday nights in Texas.
There are surely times you have wondered why your cast did not do what you expected it to. It may have crashed into the brush behind or the water in front of you. It may have resulted in a tangled leader or the line not straightening. These are all caused by various casting faults that hinder a good outcome of a cast. So how does a person go about recognizing and correcting a casting fault?
In order to correct a casting fault a person must first realize or see that there is a problem with a cast. It may be that after several or many attempts with unsuccessful results a caster comes to the realization that they may not be casting correctly for the desired result. Then comes the question, what am I doing wrong?
Realize that a bad cast may and often do have more than one fault. There can be multiple violations of the Five Essentials of a good cast. A cast may have slack, poor acceleration, rod tip path, timing and stops. So pick the fault to correct that will give the most improvement and then work on the remaining faults.
Thanks to Bruce Richards, retired from Scientific Anglers, who developed the Fly Casting Analyzer and the Six Step Method of analyzing and correcting casting faults, a cast can be analyzed for a fault and a corrective action taken. This Six Step method involves the line or loop, the rod and the hand or body.
The First Step is to observe the line or loop to see what the line or loop shape is. Is it narrow, wide, tailing, loop legs crossing, crashing into the water just to name several scenarios?
The Second Step is to observe the rod tip. Remember the fly line follows the rod tip path. So it follows that if you observe a narrow loop then you look at the rod tip path you see it traveled in a relatively straight line. If you observe a wide loop you see that the rod tip traveled in convex rod tip path. At this point we know that the rod tip controls the line and loop shape, now for the third step in the process.
The Third Step is to determine what controls the rod tip. The controlling factor of the rod tip is the action of the hand or body. In our narrow loop example above the loop was narrow, the rod tip moved in a relatively straight line and there was little if any bending of the wrist, which results in an efficient narrow loop. In our wide loop example the loop was wide or open and crashed into the water in front of the caster, the rod tip moved in a convex, domed or windshield wiper like path and the wrist was bending excessively back and forth.
We have now observed a couple of casting faults, how do we go about correcting them? To take corrective action we go in reverse order of the fault finding process.
The Fourth Step corrects the hand or body action or motion affecting the rod tip path.
The Fifth Step is the observation of the correction of the rod tip path going in a relatively straight line path.
The Sixth Step shows the corrected loop or line shape.
An example of applying the Six Step Method would go something like this when diagnosing your own or someone else’s cast.
Analyzing the Fault:
“Okay, see the wide open loop crashing into the water in front of you (Step One).
“Now look at the rod tip going in convex, domed or windshield wiper like path (Step Two).
“Alright see how much your wrist is bending back and forth while you cast” (Step 3).
Correcting the Fault:
“Keep your wrist firm and don’t bend it so much.” (Step 4)!
“Look at the rod tip traveling in a much straighter path.” (Step 5)!
“Great, the loop is unrolling out in the air and not crashing into the water” (Step 6)!
When diagnosing your own or other’s casts observing the loop size and shape should be the first step in analyzing the cast and then apply the remaining steps as needed.
As always if anyone has questions concerning the newsletter articles, casting, equipment or anything fly-fishing related that comes to mind feel free to contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and cell is 817-863-8190.