How to keep tight loops?

chalmerspchalmersp Posts: 265 Deckhand
Hey guys, im beginning to get the hang of fly fishing, but theres a point that I just cant seem to get past. After I get my line out 30 feet or so, my loops start degrading exponentially and I feel like the rod isnt loading up like it should. This leads to my leader falling ontop of my fly line when I try to shoot some line out.

Im using a TFO BVK 3 w/ 8wt shooting head line on a TFO Tcirx 9' 8wt 4pc rod if that helps!

Any suggestions would be great :D
Thanks

Replies

  • sunflowersunflower Posts: 504 Officer
    Sounds like you got a bad rod.
    Sometimes the quality control fails, and they are only good for about thirty feet.
    I like to hold the rod close to my ear, and shake it a bit. You can usually hear the number of good cast left inside rattling around.



    Mark

    grace finds goodness in everything ...



  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    You should get many experts advice. I'll only say without seeing what you are doing--don't start your back cast too early.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • sunflowersunflower Posts: 504 Officer
    Just joking!

    Obviously, you are moving the rod forward and backwards too fast, without waiting long enough for it to load on the forward and back false cast. Swishing it back and forth like a flyswatter, it forms an "S' in the air and never straightens out into a tight loop, loading the rod. Then, you try to "throw" the line real hard on you final cast like a spear, and all the energy is wasted and dissipated in the loose loops, collapsing and splashing down around you. The rod should feel like a bow on your final stroke, with your left-hand double-haul thwanging the line forward, not like a spear you are throwing ahead with your right hand. Film yourself and you will see.

    I posted a link somewhere about a "Bahamian Cast," look at that.

    Or, maybe you got a bad rod.
    Mark

    grace finds goodness in everything ...



  • chalmerspchalmersp Posts: 265 Deckhand
    Sunflower, thanks for the great advice! I looked at the Bahamian cast yesterday and tried that out earlier today. It did help alot, but I think timing is my biggest issue! My school has an empty football field, so I have a feeling ill be messing around there later today ;D
    Thanks
  • TgrassTgrass Posts: 204 Deckhand
    Good Advise from Sunflower, if you think about what happens when trying to cast a fly rod, the principle is and should be very simple. The line follows the tip of the rod, it goes where the tip of the rod goes. If you wait for the line to straighten out that is great, It does not hurt to turn and watch the line behind you. Experienced casters still do that on many occasions. Most people wave the rod in an arc, even when they let the line straighten out. The key to a good cast is to push and pull the rod. This keeps the tip of the rod on a level plain and that is what gives you your distance and tight loops. The elbow should move back and forth and stay level to the water, thus the push and pull. Give it a try, you will be surprised. Work on the mechanics and the distance will come very soon along with tight loops.

    Two more things you should do, the first is most people stop their forward cast with rod pointing up a a 45 degree angle, this cuts down on distance because the line is now shooting up hill, learn to point the rod straight and level to the water on the final forward cast and the second thing is learn to shoot line on out the back cast as well as the forward cast, this loads the rod better and cuts way down on the amount of false casts. Good luck.
  • Captain HookCaptain Hook Posts: 107 Officer
    Probably in your casting stroke as mentioned. Think slow ramp up to a fast crisp stop of the rod tip. Stopping points at 10 and 2 on the clock dial. Wait for the line to load the rod before you start the forward or back cast.
    It could also be in your leader. Are you using something you tied up yourself or a store bought tapered leader?
  • chalmerspchalmersp Posts: 265 Deckhand
    Thanks for the great amounts of help guys! Im now using a store bought tapered leader with a 15lb tippet thats 2 feet long. Total leader length of 9 feet.
    Im still trying to understand my hand/wrist motions though... Do I keep my wrist/rod straight until the last bit of my forward cast then flick to get extra acceleration?
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,581 Captain
    Lefty Kreh has some videos showing how he moves his arm and wrist in more of a sideways motion vs the fly swatter action. Also have you learned how to double haul yet? Learning that is very important to developing line speed and loading the rod as well as gaining more distance.
    Keep your sense of humor and you might want to pinch your barbs down. It makes it easier to get your flies out of your neck and ears.:wink
  • chalmerspchalmersp Posts: 265 Deckhand
    Hahahaha, saltybum thank you for suggesting that! I **** myself with one of the weighted flies... if thats what you call them... Theyre the ones with the dumbell type eyes? They HURT! Glad I had a buff on and didnt get a hook to the ear though.
    Im loving all the input im getting and ill head out to my football field later today to try it all out!
    A question on the side of this, how would you go about making your own leader? I obviously tried and failed... but it would be alot cheaper if I did it right! Also, depending on the fish youre going for, you add a "shock tippet"? Which is a 2' piece of heavier leader... right?
  • Carolina FlyCarolina Fly Posts: 66 Deckhand
    Im using a TFO BVK 3 w/ 8wt shooting head line

    Chalmers, I am not familiar with the TFO line. Is it a true shooting head? Is it a sinking head or floating? If it is a real shooting head then you may have about 27 to 30 feet of heavy line connected to a thin running line. If so you shouldn't try to carry more line than the head and maybe a foot or so of running line (we call the amount of running line the "overhang"). That small running line can't support the heavier head and is not meant to. It involves a totally different casting method. If it is not a shooting head, try to post a short video and we can help.
  • chalmerspchalmersp Posts: 265 Deckhand
    Carolina Fly, sorry about the delay... I wish we got notifications when someone responds to your thread :/ I think I understand your question, so this is my best answer :P The previous owner said it was a "shooting head" from my experience fishing with it, its a sink tip - about 10', and floating past that. Theres definitely a taper from thick (forward) to thin (after) this taper probably showing at about 20-30' from the tip of the line... I hope this explains is enough :P
    On a side note of that - I went to the football field today and tried out some casting. This is the first adequate bit of weather weve had up here in NYC since my last post! I can cast roughly 20 yards, until everything falls apart from there. I tried the Bahamian cast stated earlier, and it feels good, but I just cant figure out why I cant get past 20 yards without everything piling up ontop of itsself! My main thought is that my line is a 7wt or something of that nature, as where my rod is a 8wt... Would that cause this? Or is it just that I need work?!
    Thanks guys!
  • Carolina FlyCarolina Fly Posts: 66 Deckhand
    Actually, 20 yds. (60 ft.) is decent for a beginner, congrats, or did you mean 20ft? The idea that the line may be rated for 7 wt. is not the problem, that would cause the rod to not load well at short distances but would become less of a problem as you get more line out. At 50 to 60 ft. the 8 wt. rod would cast the 7 line without any major problems. The two possible issues are 1) your casting, which is hard to determine without seeing it 2) the equipment, i.e. the sink tip. You are going to end up wanting a floating line at some point anyway so I suggest you buy a floater for the type of fishing you will be doing and see if you have the same problems. I'm still wondering if the problem is the heavy sink tip on the end of your line, it is not the best line for a beginner to learn to cast. I believe the Bahamian Cast is an oval cast with constant tension, if so and it worked better that tells me it may be the sink tip. The best idea of course is to go to a good fly shop to buy the floating line and let an experienced teacher watch your cast. If you have any way of posting a video though I would love to help.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    Tgrass wrote: »
    Good Advise from Sunflower, if you think about what happens when trying to cast a fly rod, the principle is and should be very simple. The line follows the tip of the rod, it goes where the tip of the rod goes. If you wait for the line to straighten out that is great, It does not hurt to turn and watch the line behind you. Experienced casters still do that on many occasions. Most people wave the rod in an arc, even when they let the line straighten out. The key to a good cast is to push and pull the rod. This keeps the tip of the rod on a level plain and that is what gives you your distance and tight loops. The elbow should move back and forth and stay level to the water, thus the push and pull.. Give it a try, you will be surprised. Work on the mechanics and the distance will come very soon along with tight loops.

    Two more things you should do, the first is most people stop their forward cast with rod pointing up a a 45 degree angle, this cuts down on distance because the line is now shooting up hill, learn to point the rod straight and level to the water on the final forward cast and the second thing is learn to shoot line on out the back cast as well as the forward cast, this loads the rod better and cuts way down on the amount of false casts. Good luck.

    I never ever give casting lessons, when I cannot actually see the caster in action. First of all, we all have our own interpretations of the same thing, and secondly, having written that, there can be lots of room for error in the reader's translation of what was written.

    But Tgrass made some excellent points (in bold) but also a questionable one (underlined) I believe that what makes the good points "good," is the way they were written. The questionable point, I believe is a misnomer.

    A cast that goes slightly "uphill," is actually a good thing, in the presence of no wind or any downwind cast. Think of it this way: You can throw a baseball a lot further if you arc it up in the air somewhat, than you can if the ball leaves your hand on a level plane. Same is true with fly casting in the conditions I named. Casting across or into a breeze is a different story. I actually think I know what Tgrass was saying, or meant to say. It has to do with the finishing of the forward power stroke and subsequent follow-through. The follow-through should allow the rod tip to drift down, more toward a level position, oh, and especially when casting across or into a breeze.
    .......Rick
  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 215 Deckhand
    Slow Slow when the fish shows what's the worst...you will water load the front cast...but when all else fails up line one wt so you can feel the load at 45 feet of line...and the quick stop...
  • chalmerspchalmersp Posts: 265 Deckhand
    Whats "the quick stop" ?
  • twirptwirp Posts: 1,128 Officer
    I'm new, stupid and ignorant to fly fishing myself...I've owned a fly rod and reel that I bought second hand on these very forums two or three months ago. I'm no pro, not by any means at all! I have yet to tie a fly on, I am still using my piece of yarn tied to a cheap piece of 20lb. seaguar leader I use on my spinning outfit. I too go to the local highschool football field and church fields to practice cast.

    I've found that giving yourself a definitive target to hit really helps, start out close and then progressively move farther out (I've found it's more difficult to hit a target 20' out than 60' out, personally). the hardest part for me was keeping my wrist straight, from many years of spin fishing, I snap my wrist to generate velocity, an old habbit that does not bode well with fly casting.....at all! So to combat this one day, I taped my rod butt to my wrist, I held my rod like you were gripping a golf club or something, thumb pointing towards the eyes on the rod, etc. This esentially took my wrist out of play (also essential when....of all things, bowling). This helped me a tremendous amount, so did not over practicing! My first 20 casts are pretty dang good, my last 20 I start to force the rod, get ina hurry, lose focus, and so on. My buddy explained to me while sight fishing reds, you might only get 10 casts in a day. No need to practice for an hour, or even a half hour. If all you're doing is steady throwing, you get tired or fatigued, and then you develop bad habits trying to force things.

    I don't know, I'm dumb to all of this, but all things in moderation. I practice 15 minutes every other night. I'm still not ready to make a presentation off the boat, or to a moving target. But, I can hit a stationary Coke can 3 out of 5 times at 60' and, hit the recycle bin at 86' feet consistantly (the length of my grass cul-de-sac out front) once my loop falls, or I feel slack, I know the problem is me, and I take the rod down and put it up for the night. I have recently started to practice on the lake at my girlfriends house, the water load makes it a totally different game, slower lifting and MUCH more load! You can feel the rod bend (I'm using a 9/10 custom rod, with a 9wt Reddington Rise and some kind of shooting head line thats popular now) it's a totally different feel! I'm glad to see so many say learn to let line out on your back cast, as I thought I was developing a bad habit, but it sure does get the line out there!

    No real help from me, but just pointing out some difficulties I've had to over come and some things that have really helped me. Good luck in your progress, the challenge is 90% of the fun for me so far, I hope it is for you too!

    Thank you everyone else for sharing your knowledge and tips, we all learn from these posts!
    Pathfinder-Logo-300x103.jpg
  • chalmerspchalmersp Posts: 265 Deckhand
    Hello again everyone! :D After a 1300 mile trip from NYC to Fort Myers, I finally got fishing! I returned Saturday morning, and went out to the sanibel beaches to throw around some flies... This was after being awake for 38 hours too! Didnt have any luck, but I felt a MAJOR improvement in my casts, not really sure why though! Yesterday I went out to Tarpon bay for fathers day and paddleboarded around a bit with my family, of course with my fly rod too :P Lots more practice casting, making very accurate casts, but only towards mullet for a target :P Saw a few redfish and a bonnett head, but nothing was biting. Still not complaining because it was a great time :D Today I made another trip out to Captiva to see some family friends and patrolled the beaches in search of some snukee, but still no luck :/ Tomorrow evening im headed out with my neighbor to do some REAL fishing, not socializing with "nonfishermen" :P I stopped by Norm Zeigler's fly shop and got some amazing local advice which I hope to use tomorrow!

    Just thought I'd give you guys a positive update as to bettering my fly fishing :D Thanks again for all the help, and Ill tell you if I have any luck tomorrow!
  • Ghost147Ghost147 Posts: 34 Greenhorn
    I think it has been already said, but to keep narrow/tight loops, the rod tip needs to move in a straight line path.

    If you're seeing open/wide loops, then the rod tip is moving not in a straight line path and therefore there is a part of it which starts to convex.

    You'll find that if you'e got open loops, then the reason why the rod tip is not moving in a straight line path is because the hand/wrist/arm is not moving in a "straight line" either.

    So to correct it, the hand/wrist/arm together needs to move more linearly, which causes the rod tip to move in the straight line which therefore leads to tight/narrow loops.

    Whenever you're looking at your casting, I always advise my casting students to keep the casting distances short first and with improvement with the casting action and understanding, you increase the distance and correct accordingly.

    Michael
    East Coast Sportfishing Ventures
    International Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor
    International Federation of Fly Fishers Fly Tying Group Member

    Brisbane, Australia

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
    Martin Luther King Jr., 1963
    "Just because a fish swims away, it does not mean it will survive! Think about your fish handling methods!"
  • clampmanclampman Posts: 130 Deckhand
    Read these 5 esssentials and watch the animations each time before you go out to practice. It's not easy to learn to cast from reading directions, especially if you are reading from a dozen different authors.

    Stand so you can watch your backcast.

    http://www.virtualflycasting.com/essentials.htm
  • Ghost147Ghost147 Posts: 34 Greenhorn
    Yes, the 5 essentials of fly casting is what provides the basics of fly casting. If you're struggling I strongly recommend looking up a fly casting instructor and spending some time with them to hone in on those essentials and basics and then proceed further.

    It is by far a better way of going about learning about fly casting and then also learning what you're doing right and wrong and how to pick that up, rather than going to a website and looking at videos.

    It is like any sport, there are techniques essential to providing the basic ability. A great example is the golf swing. You can learn yourself, and hit a golf ball, however, hitting it well and better, a couple of golf lessons can lead the way.

    There should be many instructors around in your area I would think.

    Michael
    East Coast Sportfishing Ventures
    International Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor
    International Federation of Fly Fishers Fly Tying Group Member

    Brisbane, Australia

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
    Martin Luther King Jr., 1963
    "Just because a fish swims away, it does not mean it will survive! Think about your fish handling methods!"
  • clampmanclampman Posts: 130 Deckhand
    It is possible to learn from reading, in fact that's how I learned. But that was when I was 11 or 12 and spent my entire summers from dawn to dark with one of three things in my hands : a baseball bat and glove, lawn mower handles or a fly rod. That was in Hialeah, where I had never even seen a fly rod. A Miami Sportsman Show with Ted Williams and Jack Sharkey demonstrating casting got me into it.

    Times are different now.

    I would second Michael's opinion on lessons. First though, I'd check out that website so you know what you are supposed to be doing before going to a lesson. It will make the lessons easier on you and him both and probably result in a shorter learning curve.

    Cheers,
    Jim
  • Carolina FlyCarolina Fly Posts: 66 Deckhand
    That's good advice from both of the last two posters. Watch videos and get lessons. There are some great casters around you but not all great casters are good teachers. I can solidly recommend the following in your area, I know them personally:
    Dusty Sprague Pine Island, N Port [email protected]
    Frank Odgen Bonita Springs [email protected]
    Pete Greenan [email protected]
  • chalmerspchalmersp Posts: 265 Deckhand
    Well guys, It paid off!
    Thank you so much for all of your great knowledge.. My neighbor and I went down to the back side of lovers key last night and found some great snook fishing! Which lead to me catching my first fish on a fly, which happened to be a snook :P Not massive by any means, but still a fun little fight and something to get me addicted to fly fishing :F
    We were fishing tiny tiny imitation greenbacks, or white shiny ones... Sorry I dont know the technical term :P We had to leave right as the bite turned on, but were planning to go back tonight :D
    Ill let you guys know how it goes!
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