A good caster makes casting look so easy. This remarkable strobe photo captures the essentials of graceful, easy casting.
Here’s what to notice:
The rod tip and line travel in a perfect, flat horizontal path while the caster’s hand travels in a vertical path!!
Pulling the rod downward while the rod is still cocked back loads the strongest part of the rod, the butt, and makes for an easy, compact casting stroke. On the other hand, pushing, poking or thrusting the rod forward puts the bend into the weakest part of the rod, the tip. Think of the rod as a piece of rope – you can’t do anything by pushing it, you must pull it to make it go.
Pull the rod down!
The caster’s elbow remains bent throughout the cast and his arm never straightens at the elbow!
He is using the strong muscles of his shoulder to easily flex the rod and doesn’t need the weaker biceps or forearm muscles to do much work. Again, no need to push or thrust the rod forward. Simply get the butt bent first and the power will flow out through the rod tip without any conscious effort to push the tip forward. Notice the rod bending progressively farther up the rod in the exposure series.
The caster stops the rod high and hard.
The third-to-last exposure with rod still slightly bent backwards is where the caster stops the rod – at about 1:30 on a clock face. Stopping the rod hard is the key to unloading the powerful bend you’ve put into it by pulling down. Stopping the rod high keeps the line higher off the water, so the fly won’t tick the water on the next backcast, and this compact stroke promotes control and accuracy.
Overall, look at how relaxed and compact everything looks. No body rocking or “whipping & spurring” as my Montana friends like to call it.
This relaxed up-and-down stroke will easily propel controlled casts out to 60’ or even farther without any great strength or feeling of muscling the rod. Longer casts do require more back and forth movements of the body and arm and a longer stroke, but in normal fishing, this stroke is all you need. This photo was shot with a fairly full-flexing rod to highlight the bending of the rod. A modern fast graphite would need a considerably shorter stroke.
This compact style of casting was developed by tournament casters for maximum efficiency and accuracy and is commonly known as the Golden Gate style after the famed Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club. It is, in my opinion, not just for tournament casters, but the best for easy, repeatable and accurate fishing casts.
Give it a try! When you come to the Lodge, if you like we’ll help tune your casting stroke.
Photo by Per Brandin
Caster: Ricardo Nunez