Stroke Angle

Photo by Álvaro G. Santillán

As an enthusiastic reader and book lover I am not very fond of electronic books. Most probably it is a lost battle but I still enjoy the smell and feel of printed paper. The majority of my more than a hundred books on fly fishing are on paper, although, since electronic books have their advantages too, I started purchasing them as well time ago.

One of my latest adquisitions was Jason Borger’s Single Handed Fly Casting, which Jason himself kindly sent to me. Jason’s work is a refreshing new approach and a brilliant start to a change of paradigm in fly casting.

Before the physical book was available Jason sent me a proofreading .pdf copy that comes in handy to make easy searches of specific content. Yesterday it occurred to me to search for the expression “casting arc”. I won’t say that the result came as a surprise, but, paradoxically, it is surprising at the same time: my search gave just one hit; “casting arc” is mentioned only once in the whole book:

Screenshot from SHFC by Jason Borger

Arc is a term coming from geometry, and this is how the latter defines it: 

A portion of the circumference of a circle.

I will spare you the visual pain caused by the produce of my drawing skills, and refer you to the illustrations provided by the link below:

Arc is precisely what we don’t look for in fly casting, as we don’t want our rod tip to trace a portion of a circumference, but an ideal —not real though—  straight line.

I removed the expression casting arc from my teaching many years ago. My usual expression so far for the angular motion of the rod during the cast has been casting angle; now I think that the term stroke angle that Jason chose is more specific and precise. Stroke angle for me from now on.

Probably all of this is not a big deal, but geometry did set its definitions very long before fly fishing was in existance, and, in my view, changing the meaning of terms already universally accepted doesn’t add any good, if anything it may add confusion.

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