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Should we stop teaching 'loading and unloading?' The fly rod isn't a posh spring...

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:25 pm
by nicholasfmoore
Hi All,

Most anglers i speak to think the rod is just a 'spring', but it's a flexible lever. Why is the spring idea still floating around? :( Now, i know this has been discussed a lot, but i thought it would be nice to put some key points into one thread for students? Some transparent answers if you will.

I have HUGE respect for Mel Krieger, and i think his idea of loading and unloading was a teaching aid. Maybe for people who didn't apply the force smoothly, especially during the start of the stroke/translation?

One advantage to the bendy stick is that it turns our rotational movements at the grip to an approximately straight line at the tip. Now i know the rod tip doesn't really move in a perfect straight line, but let's assume that is correct for now. I also tried something in the garage today, a very stiff piece of dowel, and a flexible piece of acrylic rod. The acrylic rod was far easier to stop than the thick dowel, easier on my hand if you will. I do think it is mostly down to what people feel in their hand. :upside: :p

First off for a straight line cast;

1. The rod in terms of line speed (no haul), how we stop the rod, and how much it flexes etc

2. The rod and the haul in terms of line speed (i do like the idea of minimum force with the rod hand, and concentrating on increasing line speed with the haul)

3. Fast rod in terms of line speed (as in a fast recovery, not jumbled in with the confusing tip action term)

4. The spring aspect of the rod, how much it contributes to line speed

5. rotation of the rod, how much that contributes to line speed

6. More rod bend = longer cast?

7. More aggressive stop = faster line speed?

8. Bending the tip - Butt of the rod

I do realise this is comprehensive, but i thought it would be a good idea to put all the key points in one place :)

All the best

Nick

P.S.

i predict at least 18 pages! :p

Re: Should we stop teaching 'loading and unloading?' The fly rod isn't a posh spring...

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:42 pm
by Boisker
Personally, I think as an introduction to a beginner... load is fine, the concept of a load and something ‘springing’ back is easy to grasp....
It may not be correct in SL terms, but I think it is easier for someone to intuitively grasp than ‘flexible lever’... most people really don’t care what the correct physics term is.
People can then choose (or not) to further develop there understanding :D

Re: Should we stop teaching 'loading and unloading?' The fly rod isn't a posh spring...

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:12 pm
by Lasse Karlsson
Personally, I don't use loading and unloading, haven't for donkeys years. And I steer very clear of using the word "stop" unless I'm quoting vanilla ice.

Did the dowel and the acrylic weigh the same, and of equal length?

Cheers
Lasse

Re: Should we stop teaching 'loading and unloading?' The fly rod isn't a posh spring...

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:19 am
by Paul Arden
I’m actually fine with loading and unloading, after all the rod does do this and under certain circumstances it gets very good teaching results; slowing the beginning of the stroke, more feel and so on.

As I now am beginning to understand it, we have Spring, Lever and Whip.

Where the problem occurs, is if a student only thinks of loading/unloading [spring] because that leads to some funny choices in tackle and some theoretical mistakes such as when the haul should be applied and what effect it has on the cast.

When I hear loading/unloading I get little alarm bells not because it’s incorrect but because many people believe that this is all that matters. It’s not surprising because that’s what many instructors once believed - me personally I never did, but even so it was a surprise to film the rod unloading during the haul some 20 years ago. I remember the ensuing argument after that one :laugh:

Cheers, Paul

Re: Should we stop teaching 'loading and unloading?' The fly rod isn't a posh spring...

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:59 am
by Graeme H
I avoid the term "loading the rod" wherever possible. I think a beginner who has heard the term and is trying to utilise it will end up putting WAY too much power into their cast. It's possible (and easy) to teach someone to cast without ever using it.

Cheers,
Graeme

Re: Should we stop teaching 'loading and unloading?' The fly rod isn't a posh spring...

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:28 pm
by nicholasfmoore
Thanks all for some interesting things to think about :)

All the best

Nick