Translation and Loop Control

In the past, translation used to be considered as a minor element inside the casting stroke; a stylistic choice. Fortunately, this view seems to be changing.
Failing to give translation the relevance it deserves looks weird to me, if only because being late rotation generally accepted as an important element in fly casting, the only thing you can do before starting rotation is translating, that is, you are never going to get late rotation without some translation first!

For sure there is more to it than that, and I addressed some of those issues related to translation here, here, here, here and here. But still there was something else missing.

This past week-end I had a couple of casting sessions with an advanced student of mine. When trying 20+ meters long casts he was plagued with tailing loops, both on the back and on the forward casts. He is already well aware of the source of tails, its direct relationship with force application and why the increase in rod butt speed during the casting stroke must be progressive, without any peak before the end. The question is: how do you achieve that progressiveness?
We discussed translation and its benefits; then we practiced some drills to add some more translation to his current casting stroke . On Sunday morning we went back to the casting field. Guess what? Tailing loops had ”magically” disappeared.
Magic? Not really.

In my view, the fundamental aspect of this translation/rotation relationship is that both elements overlap at the end of the casting stroke.
It is not translation/end of translation/rotation/end of rotation, as if it were a sequence of independent events.
It is translation from the start to the end, with rotation overlapping translation late in the stroke.
Something like this:

The red bar shows when translation and rotation overlap

A little bit too much of wrist and…:

Adding some translation to lengthen the rotation phase is a relatively easy way of getting rid of tailing loops. When a too “forceful” use of the wrist results in tails, adding some length to the “base” of that “V” described by rod butt rotation allows us to rotate along a longer path, and, consequently, with smaller force.
Less force along a longer distance is easier to control than more force over a shorter path. That is the magic.

6 comments on “Translation and Loop Control

  1. Hi Aitoir,
    Very interesting post, as usual.
    I’m personally convinced that an “active” translation (i.e.a progressive thrust, applying force before the loop formation) combined with a rotation on the MPA is the secret signature for practicing good Italian casting style.The good timing is the difficult part.
    For some reason, it appears to me that a “follow through” in direction of the loop after the loop formation helps a lot to eliminate tailing loops, whatever the style. Why ? I dont know.
    Take care


  2. Bob Young says:

    Aitor, I couldn’t agree with you more, translation is a significantly under-rated component of the casting stroke.


  3. Malik Mazbouri says:

    Excellent ! I’ll be in München. Maybe with the company of a good camera 🎥. I’m looking forward to have a nice chat together. Take care. Malik

    Liked by 1 person

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