I have been regularly shooting slow motion videos of fly casting for the last ten years or so, and many of my filming sessions show some unexpected things that make me think and learn, and even change some of my previous views. Reality trumps fly casting models every time.
The following video is the result of one of last week’s filming session. At first sight, the appearance of two loops on the very same back cast was puzzling. Then I noticed how my leader was momentarily caught by the grass; how that short pull affected the rod tip; how, as a result, a small wave was formed in the line (a tiny tailing loop in fact) and how all those ingredients resulted in that weird loop configuration.
Did you notice that I love to study fly lines in slow motion? 😎
“… the classical pile cast where the upward trajectory on the last forward cast is very extreme, allowing for the line to fall to the surface in a pile. Be careful to avoid a tailing loop. You will need to back off on your force, open your loop, and angle your backcast down as much as possible.”
That above is a quote from a document I have been reading recently. Well, it is pretty easy to check the validity of that statement in practice.
Fourteen meters of line and leader from the reel to the fluff. No adjustments in force, narrow loop, back cast angled up… and still no tailing loop.
As usual, no tailing loop if you accelerate your casting stroke properly.
As a rule of thumb, any curvy shape in the fly leg of the loop is the telltale of some kind of casting problem. The most popular (or should I say unpopular?) of them being the tailing loop. But not all of those shapes are tailing loops. Another usual curvy shape is the dangling end; it is pretty recurrent in long casts —although, depending on the conditions, it can appear in short ones as well. Clarifying the difference between the two is not a trivial issue, as each one has a different origin and —more important— a different cure.
Of all the issues traditionally listed as causes of tailing loops that one above is astonishing. And even more astonishing taking into account that you can simply rig your rod and try its validity for yourself.
We call dolphin nose to a very characteristic shape taken by the fly leg of the loop. Its origin seems obscure to me, but Grunde Lovoll (fly caster and Ph.D. in Physics) says that it is the result of a decrease in tension in the fly leg of the loop during unrolling. Continue reading →
At the moment I am preparing a mentoring session for two anglers that are getting ready for two different casting certification tests. Writing is the best way I know of putting my ideas in order, so I have started this succinct list. A work in progress, probably. Comments are welcome.
Tailing loops are very frustrating. Some of us suffer them mildly once in a while, for others it is a chronic illness. I know of an experienced fly fisher that produces a tailing loop almost on every cast. A fellow angler told me not long ago that I was obssesed with tailing loops. That could be the case, but I don’t mind. I am interested in tails because I see them recurrently in most of my classes, and think that the more I understand them the more effective I will be in helping to cure them.