From the latest of my weekly front page entries over at Sexyloops.com.
Years ago, I was fishing a small Montana spring creek regarded for its tricky drag/presentation situations and touchy trout. I had located a big fish feeding near the bank on a gentle bend in the creek. A mayfly hatch had the trout rising, pushing a small wake every time it surfaced. Having spooked a rather large rainbow earlier in the day with an approach that was too close, I decided to hang back, and drop a long Puddle Cast up-and-across to the fish.
Several casts, mends and drifts later, the fish was still rising, but not to my fly.
One summer, my wife, Kelley, and I devoted a few days to fishing some of less-pressured stretches of Montana’s famed Gallatin River. While the public access points were stacked with Bozeman and Big Sky traffic, a bit of walking and wading often found us a quiet place on the river. One of those places still held the remnants of a modest channel. Its flows were slowed to a crawl by the summer sun, and its thread-bare riffles babbled softly into two deep pools.
So what’s the status of Single-Handed Fly Casting? INKING! That’s me with a laptop, a pen, and a pack of transparency film. At least the process is way faster than finding all the video frames on which the inking in based (that took about 10 full no-fun days). I ink, I scan, I clean-up, I vectorize, I finalize, I place, I caption. That’s the process until I read (one last time), and then I print (1,001 times). Then, I hope that my readers enjoy.
For those who have signed up for a copy of SHFC, I’ll likely send out the “please pay now” email when I am finalizing the “I finalize” part. The placing and captioning go fast, relatively speaking.
“Fly casting is the physical skill of fly fishing.”
I grew up with that mantra playing through my head. Certainly there are other “physical” aspects of fly fishing, but it is in casting where the serious hand-eye coordination and use of the physical body come into the most play. Pain or injury—whether preexisting or caused by casting—can impact the game significantly.
The page deals with a healthier cast–not the rod and line mechanics, but the human side. I’ve been involved in caster health since 2002, when I met Dr. Tim McCue and was involved in his survey of pain incidence among casting instructors. We’ve since gone on to do much more through the Fly Casting Institute, including working with friends and colleagues who were preparing biomechanics papers. While one can only say so much in a short article, you can check out the complete read here:
Working through dozens of HD video clips isolating images for my casting book. Came across this example of a tailing loop. Check out the rod flexure, line flow, and ultimate crossing problem in the final loop shape (this loop actually contacted the rod). While I enjoy beautiful casting as much as anyone, I also like casting this type of thing on video to see the carnage.
And in case anyone is wondering, no, I am not using actual photos like this for the book. I’d never do that (I consider these garbage as far as the overall visuals; far too much background noise). These are used solely for building illustrations, so I don’t really care about backgrounds, foregrounds, or anything else that’s pretty, ugly, or whatever. As long as I can see the rod and line, I’m good. I do have a killer location for shooting video. Maybe the place I’ll shoot a real casting video some day. It’s 2,000 miles from me right now, and I’d have to get clever with cameras (since I shoot myself), but it would be sweet….
UPDATE: A little tweaking to make the final tailing loop more obvious:
So, I’ve been asked a number of times on facebook and elsewhere if my upcoming casting book focuses primarily on a vertical (overhead) casting stroke/style. No. I just haven’t posted pix of other stroke types yet. I cast with and fish with whatever gets the job done in the way I want to get it done. Here’s an except from the book that explains a bit of my approach to strokes/styles:
The vertically oriented Foundation Casting Stroke will be used to directly build the Overhead Cast. Then, the Foundation Casting Stroke will be angled (tipped to each side) to create various forms of the Side-Arm Cast, the Cross-Body Cast and the Across-The-Head Cast—all of which are casts made at orientations other than vertical. Following the various angled casts will be the Elliptical Cast, where the arm travels back and forth in distinctly different planes. Along with the changes/combinations of plane, the movements of casting will be both tightened and stretched out, with the casting arm traveling along both shorter and longer pathways.
In 2001–2002, I assisted Dr. Tim McCue with a survey on the incidence of fly-casting injury among casting instructors (subsequently published in the journal, “Wilderness & Environmental Medicine”). Out of that survey came a number of findings, including one showing that casters who utilized multiple casting styles (overhead, elliptical, sidearm, etc.), had the lowest overall pain incidence of any group.
So, by starting with the Foundation Casting Stroke, and then using that to create a collection of other strokes, you can hopefully build a highly effective, and lower stress casting environment that covers many angling needs.
I mention a lot of friends and fellow casters/instructors in Single-Handed Fly Casting. One of those friends is Christopher Rownes. I’ve known Christopher for years, and always enjoy watching his casting videos (they aren’t as much about instruction as about enjoying casting for its flow and beauty). If you are an instructor or caster who loves the flow, check out a little of Chris’s work here:
Hanging out with my old pal, Paul Arden, at his sexyloops.com casting/fishing Board for a week starting tomorrow (Monday the 18th). Stop by and chat if you get the chance. The Board at SL has been a hotbed of fly casting (and fishing) discussion for many years, with some serious “nuts and bolts” stuff going on regularly (poorly supported fly-casting dogma and pre-conceived notions don’t tend to last long there).
Into the image layout for “Single-Handed Fly Casting” now (and for the next few weeks). Illustrating each chapter first and then dropping everything in (and further editing text, too). Have a sample of a spread from Chapter One shown here. The illustrations you see are what you can expect throughout. Grayscale vectorized pics based directly on photographic frames (most shot at 60fps, some at 200fps and 240fps). This approach lets me isolate what needs to be seen without extra clutter, and also makes what you see quite accurate.
The video that I shoot as the basis for line drawings is often fast and dirty. All I need to see is enough to make the drawing, and who cares about the rest. That is exactly the case for the video that I have been shooting for “Single-Handed Fly Casting.” But…I just bought myself a new platform ladder and it allows for better, more stable camera angles in a variety of situations. So, I figured it might be of interest to post at least one video sequence shot from the ladder, while capturing at 720p/240fps.
The sequence shown here is of the C Pick-Up, a skill that has a relationship to the Snake Roll in the D-loop world. I have shown it in a basic, “here’s how you do it” form, plus a more “real world” scenario starting with the rod tip high and slack in the system. Sharp-eyed observers may note that my forward cast loop is relatively open. That’s what I refer to as “an actual fishing cast.”
Hope at least a few readers find it interesting. One of these days, I’ll bite the bullet and shoot video to really show as video, all pretty and everything.