Tournament Techniques- Fly Distance
Fly Distance Video-Clips
Running Line Management-
This applies to all three of our distance games that require mono running line. Prior to coming to the casting box, your tournament running line should be walked out by a volunteer and stretched between you and that person. The caster should prevent the spool from rotating by palming it and the stretching volunteer should hold the mono behind where it attaches to the head or holding line. You can also stretch a head or holding line separately by stretching holding their ends.
You can either store running line on the reel, or on a separate large diameter storage spool. Home-made spools can be 14" in diameter. So far, they've been from wood turned on a lathe, cut from plastic bucket lips, or factory made kite-line spools. One deciding factor whether to use them is the room to transport them. Champion Steve Rajeff stores his line on the reel for that reason. He can have a greater margin of error and still win.
When you lay-out your running line, start around 6-10' behind and on your line-hand side in one-handed casting, or on the lower rod-hand side when you're casting a two-hander. Lay the line out from side to side or in large open loops ending in the casting box. Here's a video clip of Steve Rajeff laying out his line for a 260'+ two-hand cast.
Angler's Fly Distance-
Angler’s Fly Distance is a game that requires a near perfect casting stroke. Most casters who excel at it have a very compact false cast stroke and a tight loop. The back-cast can be made low in the back if you intend a high forward cast because the line is relatively light. With our heavier heads, you have to allow for rapid drop by aiming higher in the back to avoid grazing. Casting in one plane from front to back is essential for success.
Line harmonics is important in all casts; a damped line without extra ripples casts better. A relaxed grip also let’s the rod help dampen vibration. The amount of running line overhang not only has an effect on the loop shape, and when it opens, but at the right length for conditions, will have a positive effect on damping. One of the most important things to do is let the line straighten behind you on the back cast or it will be almost impossible to put enough energy into the tip to straighten it correctly on the presentation cast. I think the problem also has to do with shocking the line. Below Chris Korich is 'bombing one" around 173' down the Golden Gate Polo Field.
Most good casters extend the length of their stroke by rear drifting before the presentation cast to help dampen the sudden acceleration and keep the rod tip in a straight line under maximum bend. Extending the stroke is done not only after the back-cast stop, but also by maximum arm extension on the presentation cast.
Prepare for a long cast by loading your body with bent knees and cocking your torso rearward. This also has an effect on rod-hand position since it too moves rearward. After the line has straightened behind you and your casting forearm is cocked just over 90 degrees rearward, the firing process begins! This is essential in all fly distance casts. Start a maximum down haul, your forward stroke and lower body movement should coincide until your rod stop and follow through. The wrist is of under-stated importance in rod loading. The fingers should open so the wrist can bend backwards as you start the application of power and then shut tight when you stop the rod with a downward bent wrist. The stroke is a combination of arm and wrist movement. Combine that with the other body forces efficiently moving in the same direction and you’ve made a good cast.
This event is similar to Angler's, the head is another twenty feet longer and double the weight. Our ACA blank is designed for this, plus it's another 9" longer. In addition, there is a butt extension that isn't used for fighting fish, it's used for support. When you make your backcast, leverage this extension against your wrist so your wrist is straight and it'll help keep your backcast taught and off the ground. Cast downwind and make hard backcasts several feet above the ground, or safer yet, level to the ground. Make sure the line has straightened behind on the backcast without letting any part of the line hit the ground.
Make sure you're casting in one-plane or you'll hurt yourself with the line. Everyone who has any experience with this event can still remember the sting. When making a presentation cast, pay particular attention that the loop is tight by stopping the rod high enough and releasing the holding line at the same time. Great timing and mechanics will only deliver the fly only so far, it takes power to get it further.
2-Handed Fly Distance- Henry Mittel
The first thing before casting is to get used to the grip locations. The rob butt should be gripped with your non-dominent hand so the end is in your palm with your closed pinky sits under it. This is essential to apply the upward pressure explaned more below. Grip the rod with the other hand too and lift it until your lower rod-hand is against the center of your chest and the other arm is extended with the rod pointed forward at 45 degrees. Make any adjustment by sliding the upper rod hand up or down on the rod. Now notice where your upper hand is on the rod and that's where it should always be. With the shooting head and about four feet of holding-line extended past the rod tip, place the holding line under the second finger of you upper rod hand and hold it secure against the rod. Extend the shooting line end of the holding line past the reel and secure it similarly against the rod butt.
Try to remember to keep your lower rod-hand arm extended in the direction of the cast during false casts and the forearm of the rod hand should be past vertical(rearward) on the backcast stop. The rod at this time shouldn't be lower than 45 degrees to the ground while you bend your knees and arch your body rearward like a cobra. As stated in the Angler's secton, this body motion applies to all fly distance strokes.
To start the power stroke, start forward with your upper rod hand and then pull toward you with the lower. Simultaneously start that "cobra strike" with a forward and up body movement. Stop that lower rod hand and rod-butt abruptly against the center of your chest at the end of the stroke. Beginners tend to push the rod forward instead of up near the end of their power stroke. Pushing forward causing a huge rod arc prevents the formation of a tight loop. Since you are holding the rod with two hands, pushing it up at the end is the only way to keep the path of the rod tip in a straight line.
Start off with a soft rod for learning the proper stroke. It’ll make the proper stroke easier if you graduate to the stiffer ACA blanks. Some good casters can actually cast almost as far with both outfits.