I need to tell you a story. An important story that I feel compelled to tell you. You must listen, and you must understand it or I will be disappointed.
Some years ago, Hank, a 28 year-old yuppie New York stockbroker, desperately wanted to learn to fly cast. His desire was fuelled each lunch-time by watching his mates cast on the top floor of their multi-story office block. They were exceptional casters and every day they competed with each other to throw the perfect cast.
It was summer, the days were sunny, warm and still. The fluorescent orange fly lines they used speared their way into the distance with perfectly symmetrical, narrow loops. The faster the lines went through the air the further they flew.
‘Hank the yank’ became obsessed with the almost sensual nature of the perfect cast. He determined he would outdo his work mates and really teach them a thing or two about the perfect cast.
Rather than take lessons from his mates, fishing guides (or even Peter Hayes!), Hank decided to search the web. From Amazon.com he bought every book ever written on the subject of fly casting. He enthusiastically set out to read every word of each of the 427 books.
Nine months and many late nights later, Hank decided that the perfect cast is not achieved by using a Sage rod, nor a Loomis or a Scott rod but by using his red Ferrari. Yes, his red Ferrari.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon his fly casting work mates were invited to a drag racing strip where Hank excitedly skited that he would show them the perfect fly cast.
They were perplexed and confused as Hank extended the Ferraris aerial. Onto the end of the aerial he tied the back end of the fluoro orange fly line. Hank walked the entire 30m of line back behind the car and laid it on the ground in a dead straight line.
He asked his mates to gather around the end of the one-mile long drag strip to watch the perfect loop fly off into the distance.
After warming up the car Hank jumped in, he put on his seatbelt and his racing helmet. Starting slowly, he accelerated the automatic Ferrari smoothly. Imagine what happened.
At 20km/h the aerial had a slight backward bend caused by towing the weight of the line. The line was dragged forward flapping against the ground every now and then.
At 100km/h the aerial had a fair bend in it and the line no longer dragged on the ground. Hank reached top speed.
At 300km/h the aerial had a fantastic backward bend and the line trailed pin straight behind the vehicle (unlike some of your back casts).
Hanks mates cheered as he approached the end of the mile long straight. They recognised that this was the best forward cast they had ever seen.
Hank needed one further ingredient to produce the perfect cast. A solid brick wall had been built at the end of the drag strip. His mates watched with anticipation has he slammed the Ferrari head on into the wall at 300km/hr. (This is what I call a ‘superglue stop’ in casting.)
Imagine the cast they witnessed. The aerial had been bent backwards, the line was travelling fast and it was moving in a dead straight line. The top of the aerial whipped forward as it stopped dead in its tracks when the Ferrari hit the wall. The back of the line was held tight and stationary by the aerial and the rest of the line flew over the top of the car in a perfectly tight and symmetrical loop. The cheer went up, it was the perfect cast.
Now imagine the Ferrari going over the top of a big round hill and crashing into a truck as he went down the other side. This would be a terrible cast. It would be a big wide open loop.
Imagine the Ferrari going around a big corner and crashing into a wall. That would be a terrible cast – a sideways wide open loop. In both cases the power would be dissipated through a circular path.
Imagine if you replaced the brick wall with a huge sponge rubber block that successfully decelerated Hank to a stop over 20m or so. That would be a terrible cast as the loop would not form properly.
You need a sudden, abrupt, stop. Worse still, would be if you removed the wall altogether and the Ferrari ran out of petrol at the end of the mile. If it spluttered to a long, slow stop the line would not even travel over the top of the Ferrari.
Another bad cast would result if Hank had driven just 1m and stepped on the brakes. This is obviously not a long enough casting stroke.
Please understand my wacky story and next time you practice your casting, think of a miniature Ferrari stuck on your rod tip. Think of yourself as a Ferrari driver rather than a granny driving a Volkswagen.
Use a bright coloured fly line, accelerate smoothly and drive your rod tip in straight lines. Stop it abruptly and watch the perfect cast with a grin. Fly casting is fun.
Peter Hayes is a veteran of 30 years tournament casting experience. In this time he has been the Australian Casting Champion a total of 10 times, he has twice competed at World Championships and won silver medals each time. On one occasion casting a remarkable 74.5m.
Peter is far from just a tournament caster. Over the past decade Peter has operated a high-profile guided fishing business in Tasmania in conjunction with his popular Australia-wide flycasting schools. You can find out more about flyfishing and flycasting from Peter’s perspective by requesting his regular newsletter at www.flyfishtasmania.com.au or contact Peter at --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 789