Understanding Casting

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Whinging pom

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If that sounds a bit abstract try this. Close your eyes.
This really rings true with me. I used to teach people photography(in film days) when we had beginers loading tanks cutting the film and working into small slots over ball bearings. I’d tell them that though it’s completely dark ..Close their Eyes.
( rather than trying to struggle in the dark)
Once your eyelids are down I guess communicates that the eyes are out of action and the brain engages the other senses like feel. And you feel calmer.
( pretty unscientific but that’s what I told them) . It’s probably just that we rely on ours eyes too much to get us out of a mess, and don’t notice/trust the feedback of the other senses.

I’ve loaded thousands of tanks. Always with my eyes closed and it’s a habit now with tricky jobs . Struggle , close eyes , feel calmer, engage feel, Getting a wrench on a tricky nut, fitting in tight mortise joints, struggling Re-attaching appliances, struggling with a key in a lock, even threading my petitjean bobbin holder are what come to mind …but I do,do it a lot.
Thinking about it now I guess it’s like the dexterity of a blind man with Braille and walking with a cane.

I had a not very experienced reservoir fisher come to fish the brook this year. He spent more time with his head behind him watching his cast, so I spent 20 mins gripping the back of his head making sure it pointed at the water ahead and learn to trust that the spot he was looking at would be the place his fly would land ( ok we know there’s more variables but it’s an aspiration).
I also try and get people to watch the stream a head at all times like when your driving. Fly tangled round your rod ? Quick glance then watch the river while you feel it free.
Changing fly quick glance to thread the eye, then do the blood knot twist by feel. Getting out the frogs fanny and unscrewing it … there’s no reason to look at it. Of the four of five tubs and bottles in my pocket only one feels like that.
The more times the eyes are on the water the more chance your going to get to notice that odd rise or bulge or tilt by the weeds. It’s the best use of your eyes, feel sorts out so much more when we learn to trust it.

I can’t wait to get down there again where I have been practicing casting and close my eyes and try a feel it . The Blackberry bushes await my wayward attempts in eager anticipation, and I’m sure they’ll be some frustration but I’ll give it a go. An open lawn would be easier , but we like a challenge!!
Maybe that’ll get me to understand the ‘feel’ thing and trust the backcast without the urge to turn my head back, ruin my body plane and unbalance the cast.
 
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PaulD

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I'm here to work stuff out, it tends to be a very ugly process - I doubt I'll ever understand why, but it seems to be something to do with being a precocious amateur raising questions that only expert professionals should be discussing. If you can't entertain that it's mine, the forum's and everyone that reads the final article's loss.
Tangled, have you ever considered that it may be the language of your responses which promotes an 'ugly process'. You may indeed perceive yourself as a 'precocious amateur' but describing everyone else who may have a differing order of 'values' or set of judgements or use of the language to describe casting which you do not comprehend, as an 'expert professional discussion', while you continue to stick your head in a dark corner, refusing to come out until someone gives you an answer which matches your preconceptions. That's not being a precocious amateur, that's being a dumb-arse, which I'm sure you're not.

As instructors we talk and work with people trying 'to work stuff out' and often clients think, believe or hope that, as an instructor, we possess some magic spell that over the next hour we'll be able to dose them with it. A common one is the double haul when they tell you they've never been able to pat their head and rub their stomach at the same time. You then watch them cast and immediately spot there's a fundamental problem with their casting stroke and action - on every cast there is slack line between the left hand and the butt ring - bigger problem, you now need to impress upon client the need to 'step back', eliminate the error before stepping forward to the double haul.

This is where you're 'at' with this thread, You're huffing and puffing like some clients will, " But I want to able to . . . !", while not comprehending or appreciating the utter importance of doing the basics well.

"It's really pathetic isn't it? Adults unable to talk about their hobby because of ego. It's beyond time that a serious attempt was made to correct this and I'm going to do it. You know by now that no matter how much crap is thrown up here. I'll just carry on."

You may wish to move beyond Gammel's 5 Essentials but, as you say, this thread is for the Forum, and I can assure you that a short, detailed explanation of those essentials would be far more use to the majority of members than the current attempts of seeking 'chapter and verse' of the nano-detail where you're trying to head.

You'll now probably call me a 'troll' again.
 
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ohanzee

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For me the feel and sound you get from precise accurate actions relates to the precision and accuracy of the action, from the infinite tiny ways you can puck a guitar string to cutting a transparent slice of onion a fraction of a millimeter thick, I'd say the real world function of power is to regulate the finite amount of muscle power or pressure we need, people that use tools know this instinctively, and apply just the right amount of pressure in a very finite way, it is efficiency and the way we use our motor skills for everything, one of the things that gives us feedback on something being right, or not quite right.

Often I think casting moves past this too quick into graphic imagining of the movements themselves relying only on the visual, or cognitive logical theory, working it out mechanically, this works but I think only works because as humans we feel naturally and it takes care of itself, sort of falls into place later when we do it right and feel what that feels like, once we have the feel for it we do it better, we have all been there, learned the movement, not quite there yet, practice for ages and..Ahh that's what it feels like, now the brain can lock it in, in other words it's central to us knowing, learning and therefore repeating any movement we learn.
 

brian_mcg

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Great Points Paul,Alan and Mark. Once we get an Understanding of what it is we are trying to understand,we can move on.
My point is that there is loads written,discussed , gone over with a fine tooth comb regarding the Physics.I enjoy reading them and they have helped me understand some things better and there are some who can relate it to us fishermen better than others.I think most of us want simple,clear , uncomplicated instruction of how to get the fly to a target using simple terminology.

Feel is a difficult one and I think it will be near on impossible to teach it from here. Instead of thinking about load,think about bend.We can see bend. Loads of good things to go over without trying to reinvent the wheel.
 

fishing hobo

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Wish I can process feel and replicate it easily... For me this can be quite frustrating process. When it is consistently reproducible that is when when the process becomes automatic. Replicating the moves is not always easy, even if I felt what I did at the time. It takes a lot of practice to get right then after a while of standstill, I have to relearn the process again... 😱
 

ohanzee

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Wish I can process feel and replicate it easily... For me this can be quite frustrating process. When it is consistently reproducible that is when when the process becomes automatic. Replicating the moves is not always easy, even if I felt what I did at the time. It takes a lot of practice to get right then after a while of standstill, I have to relearn the process again... 😱

One of the best tips on learning to cast I ever had(I didn't know it at the time) was don't practice by repeating over and over, be very specific about what you are trying to achieve, try it a few times then stop, take a break and do something else, your brain will keep working it out.

Years later I was in a professional development lecture thing about how the brain learns new things, along the lines of it taking time to assimilate but when the neural pathways connect we learn in a sort of instant eureka moment...and how to get there etc. anyway, when this was being explained they asked if any of us had examples of seeing this, I had two, one is students that do one long drawing over 40 mins compared to students that do 4 rapid 10 min drawings - the rapid 10 min drawing students learn faster, the other example was casting practice where I would think of something and go try it compared to hours of repetitive casting.
 

Tangled

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I've added a section on load. It would be wrong to pretend we can ignore it; it's used all the time in magazines, videos and pretty much everywhere people gather to cast a string.

If it gets used from here on, let's just pretend it wasn't.
 

Tangled

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Wish I can process feel and replicate it easily... For me this can be quite frustrating process. When it is consistently reproducible that is when when the process becomes automatic. Replicating the moves is not always easy, even if I felt what I did at the time. It takes a lot of practice to get right then after a while of standstill, I have to relearn the process again... 😱

Golf is worse for it. You can go a whole round without properly hitting the ball but mostly getting away with it, then on one shot you get everything right; you feel the ball just sink into the sweet spot of the club and it flies dead straight 280 yards without effort.

You then spend endless attempts trying to replicate it. You know what it feels like to get it right, you don't know what to do to do it again. When I'd made a dozen hopeless attempts, the teacher took the club off me and got me doing something else for a while. Because, he said, "practice makes permanent." I've had that in my head for years - don't practice the same mistake.
 

Bobfly2

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There are a few other factors you might include. You are sitting, not standing. The boat is both pitching and yawing. The outboard control arm is in your left armpit. The outboard body is on your left blocking all and the long handled net lies across just in front of your knees. Oh yes, the line slack is not lying on mown grass or in shallow water.
Forget all the stuff already described above as "bolloxx".
 

LukeNZ

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I've added a section on load. It would be wrong to pretend we can ignore it; it's used all the time in magazines, videos and pretty much everywhere people gather to cast a string.

If it gets used from here on, let's just pretend it wasn't.
Is load a function of rod power, force applied by the caster, weight of line outside the tip ring, gravity, length of the rod, how tall the caster is, how long his arms are, and also how profficient the caster is?

Or perhaps all, and more factors?

The brain and human body are brilliant are they not, at automatically adjusting and recalibrating continuously in real time to the casting process, and environment.

.....just perhaps 🤣, 'doing' is the single most useful approach, once one has in mind a picture of the intent?

Then, practice very often, for best results.

🙃
 

Bobfly2

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The brain and human body are brilliant are they not, at automatically adjusting and recalibrating continuously in real time to the casting process, and environment.
Exactly what boat fishing is about ... in full on three ever-changing dimensions.
Throw in strongly gusting changing wind as why the boat is rolling about and all that you do is in constant adjustment. There no consistent casting stroke.
 

PaulD

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There no consistent casting stroke.

Often, when I'm able to fish, I choose to float tube, and I'm not aware of any established advice for casting from a float tube. However, I do have a strong and knowledgeable background in the basic structure of casting a fly which allows me to adapt efficiently to the situation and restrictions of sitting in the water.

That is what the ability to cast a fly is about.
 

brian_mcg

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There are a few other factors you might include. You are sitting, not standing. The boat is both pitching and yawing. The outboard control arm is in your left armpit. The outboard body is on your left blocking all and the long handled net lies across just in front of your knees. Oh yes, the line slack is not lying on mown grass or in shallow water.
Forget all the stuff already described above as "bolloxx"
This is exactly why the thread heading is wrong.Understanding casting!! What kind? From a boat? For Pike? For Bonefish? For River Fishing? Etc,Etc.
 

Bobfly2

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Often, when I'm able to fish, I choose to float tube, and I'm not aware of any established advice for casting from a float tube. However, I do have a strong and knowledgeable background in the basic structure of casting a fly which allows me to adapt efficiently to the situation and restrictions of sitting in the water.

That is what the ability to cast a fly is about.
Exactly so. I am out in one of my tubes first thing in the morning and I am just back from a week on the Uists. Out there, and back home on the mainland, I am out in the tube when the boats are not out !!!
Casting is more than mown grass practice at a playpond at a public park.
 

brian_mcg

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Exactly so. I am out in one of my tubes first thing in the morning and I am just back from a week on the Uists. Out there, and back home on the mainland, I am out in the tube when the boats are not out !!!
Casting is more than mown grass practice at a playpond at a public park
So where would you practice,or recommend a beginner practices?
 

Tangled

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This is exactly why the thread heading is wrong.Understanding casting!! What kind? From a boat? For Pike? For Bonefish? For River Fishing? Etc,Etc.

Bobfly2 said:
Exactly so. I am out in one of my tubes first thing in the morning and I am just back from a week on the Uists. Out there, and back home on the mainland, I am out in the tube when the boats are not out !!!
Casting is more than mown grass practice at a playpond at a public park.

If you'd like to contribute sections on where and how adjustments need to be made for particular fishing circumstances I'll happily add them.
 

Bobfly2

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"In windy weather, and in moving situations such as boat fishing or float-tubing and when amongst trees, bushes, fences or other obstructions the angler will have to constantly adjust for these circumstances. All guidance given in the earlier sections of advice is of a general nature. A flexible approach will be essential whilst fishing."
That might cover it !! 😃
 

LukeNZ

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If you'd like to contribute sections on where and how adjustments need to be made for particular fishing circumstances I'll happily add them.
You put yourself in those fishing circumstances and practice.

You will know when you have practiced enough, when magic begins to happen..😎

🙃
 

ohanzee

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Casting is more than mown grass practice at a playpond at a public park.

I imagine that's aimed at me, having done a bit at a playpond in a public park, and yes there is more to it, bout 90% more, learning or practice, like any formal learning, can only get the basics right before taking it to the context where you have to adapt it to the conditions you face, running water, obstructions in a boat, every fishing context has it's own set of obstacles.

The aim is to have something solid to work with and the understanding of how it all works to be able to adapt it.
 

ohanzee

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You will know when you have practiced enough, when magic begins to happen..😎

If I said that in my day job I'd be suspended, the slowest way to learn anything is just keep doing it till it looks about right.
 
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