Loading the rod.
Loading the rod with the rod arm.
This article will deal with how you can load the rod to a maximum using the least amount of effort. This goes for all casting techniques. I prefer to cast using the same arm movements in terms of leading the rod, regardless of casting technique. I often combine several techniques in order to tackle tricky fishing spots and wind. Using my way of casting means that you can utilise the same basic theories regardless of combinations. The most important thing is to master the basic technique. During my basic casting classes I tell participants that there are 4 different basic rules that make up the basic technique.
Nr 1: Move the rod in a completely straight line between the start and stop point.
Nr 2: Calm movements, both directions.
Nr 3: Keep the wrist as stiff as possible.
Nr 4: Distinct stops in the forward and back casts.
This is the basic technique, in the next phase we have the double haul and the acceleration of the arm movements.
The reason as to why I want to load the rod as much as possible is that the more you load the rod the further you will cast, in all situations using all kinds of techniques. I have studied which arm movement loads the rod the most. I noticed that there can be big differences in terms of how much you load the rod compared to how you move the rod arm from the back cast and forwards, before shooting the line forwards after the forward cast. It was a specific movement that made the rod load the most, if I managed to maintain this movement all the way until I had to flick the rod I could cast much further. The secret is to use a “pull” motion as opposed to a “push” motion. This way of casting has several advantages. You can use shorter movements, which is a big advantage in terms of spey casting and snake roll. Short casting motions are also useful for the basic technique. It is also easier to maintain a fast tip action rod fully loaded throughout the cast. Last, but not least, short casting movements is better suited for tight fishing spots. I feel that short casting strokes creates good control of the basic technique, it loads the rod with maximum energy in an effective and simple fashion, sometimes it is just difficult to understand where all the power comes from. You will create just as tight loops by adding power to the lower section of the rod as you will adding it to the top section, the big advantage is that you will have more power loaded in the rod using this loading technique.
The rod in the back cast position: My theory is that the wrist must be as stiff as possible during the whole cast. This creates maximum load of the rod when combined with the rest of the arm movement. Note that the fighting butt is positioned along the forearm in this position, in order to do this the elbow has to be pushed forward. This is actually the motion pattern I use all the way until the forward cast. This position makes sure that you “pull” the rod forwards, and it is just this motion that best loads the rod. The upper arm should be held at an angle out from the body, working low, the upper arm should have a longer movement during the forward cast than that of the forearm. The forearm should be positioned behind the upper arm throughout the movement, maintain this “pull” position until you run out of “upper arm length”, now you have to “break” over the forearm. It is this phase of the cast that ensures that the rod is loaded all the way down to the butt section, and this is where the rod is most powerful. Remember that the rod and the arm must move in a straight line.
Move the upper arm, not the forearm, it should be positioned behind the upper arm all the way to the stop point.
In this phase of the forward cast you will run out of “upper arm length”, now you have to push the forearm forwards, in this position the rod maximally loaded.
At the moment where the forearm moves ahead of the upper arm you stop the casting motion with a distinct stop of the casting stroke. Look for the angle of your arm, if you have a good angle between the upper and forearm the line will shot out at a great speed. Now the rod will be in a high position, this is correct. Do not extend the arm completely, this will stop the progressive loading process of the rod so that the power only comes from the tip section and not the butt section of the rod.
Photos: Steffen Granbo.