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Casting a heavy line with a small versus a big fly

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Paul Arden
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Casting a heavy line with a small versus a big fly


Post by Paul Arden » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:43 am

Thanks George, I had forgotten about this.

Good thoughts but I think it's happening during the casting stroke itself and not once the loop has formed. But I'm in the dark with this one too :)

A thought I had, is that maybe the bushier fly prevents the same degree of acceleration, and consequently the system feels lighter because of this? One time I was sent a Phpbpbpb. This was a ribbon-like item, that could be attached to the leader and would go "phpbpbpb" though the air when casting. It was suggested that it could help timing because when the "phpbpbpb" noise stopped you knew it was time to start the next cast or tie it on again. Interestingly I also have recollections of it feeling lighter.

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Bernd Ziesche
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Casting a heavy line with a small versus a big fly


Post by Bernd Ziesche » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:58 am

Hello Tomas,
I very often was told, that every fly rod would have a particular/specific weight matching it best for fly casting. I always disagreed with this idea. Instead we have:

a) different lengths of lines to deal with = we must match our rod movements to different weights anyway,
b) different lengths of leaders to deal with = depending on the leader it may get hard to smoothly hit the unrolled leader
c) all kind of different flies = offering lots of different resistances (during acceleration) + momentums (post acceleration)
d) different line speeds matching whatever situation + tackle set up

Let's take a Sage 9' 8wt. recommended SP model. I use a 10m shooting head 18 gram, when casting small Sea trout flies like Polar Magnus (0,3 gram). Adding the same head length, but 20 gramm instead and 10 out of 10 students concluded this line to feel too heay, WHEN still casting the same Polar Magnus fly! (Have tested that several times.)

Using the same rod, but changing the fly to a 1,5 gram Baltic Candy fly results in 10 out of 10 people telling me the 18 gram head being too light and not matching here. Changing to the 20 gram head and everyone feels fine again.

In both situations I was using a leader of ca. 3,5m length.

Changing the leader to a shorter one and people felt much better with the 18 gram head for the 1,5 gram fly!

Problem with the big flies on relatively long leaders is: We hardly ever perfectly hit the straight (unrolled) leader with the beginning of the next cast. Those heavy flies than offer a bad feeling on the lighter lines. Adding more line weight offers a much more forgiving system here, thus feels better.

What we feel during acceleration (rotation) of the rod in regard of the fly line, is the resistance caused by friction (line surface) + the resistance caused by the line mass itself.
For one and the same fly + leader most people end up in liking the same line weight according to my test runs.

Changing the fly and/or the leader length and most people would want the line to be changed as well.

Fair to summarize: Heavy (high resistance providing) flies on long leaders need a serious level of line mass in order to dampen the weird feeling when not having perfectly started the cast with the straight leader. In my experience this is a huge part of what you discovered here. Experimenting with the length of leader might be very interesting! The shorter the leader, the closer to hit the straight leader we often get + less of a risk to start the next cast with a huge amount of not straight leader and then at some point having to connect with the fly (while already having serious line speed).

The first cast is always the best cast.

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Casting a heavy line with a small versus a big fly


Post by Thomas » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:19 pm

Hello Bendt!

Thank you for your interesting answer. I will experiment a bit with different leaders to see what happens. This has been an interesting experience and I have started to think in new ways regarding matching rods, lineweights and flies. In flyfishing there is always something new to learn. :)

Michael Rebholz
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Casting a heavy line with a small versus a big fly


Post by Michael Rebholz » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:25 am

thats a very interesting post here,
I think your line feels heavier because you can feel it better with not a lot of fly weight on and therefore load the rod deeper with the small seatrout fly
the heavy pike fly masks that line weight feel as it is so heavy itself and your mental attitude to throwing a heavier pikefly is completely different too and masks feeling that line weight too because the fly is proportionally far heavier than the line per length unit.

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