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Casting Arc too narrow, 5 Essentials and understanding casting using filters/models

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Paul Arden
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Casting Arc too narrow, 5 Essentials and understanding casting using filters/models

#1

Post by Paul Arden » Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:11 am

Hi guys,

Now that I’ll soon be fucking fifty am I allowed to say “back in the old days”? Back in the old days before the Internet... :p

I first became a fishing/casting instructor in 1996, 25 years ago. Casting mechanics back then in the UK didn’t involve rod bend. Peter MacKenzie-Philps’ Fly Casting Handbook discussed few details but failed to account for the rod bending at all. Tailing loops were simply “too much power” but why exactly was anyone’s guess. And when drawn they were basically what are now referred to a “Trailing Loops”. (The wave/double dip intersection started to appear in about 2004 when MacLord took some strobe photos and starting informing everyone, myself included. And it was Alejandro who first described the transverse wave to my knowledge - I can’t remember what year this was but not long after).

Over in the US rod bend was very much accounted for, indeed from most of what I gleaned at the time the rod was in fact a spring. It was commonly believed that the rod bent while casting and then unbent at the stop. Which was really the opposite of what was being taught in the UK. Spring vs Lever. One side of the pond was all Spring, the other side all Lever.

I went to the US in 2003 to take the CI and MCI and it was while there that I met Bill Gammel. Bill was massively influential because he had a model; the Five Essentials. This model basically gave us the Variable Casting Arc controlling Tip Path - as well as the other three Essentials. To say that this was a revelation at the time would be an understatement. If you can imagine what teaching was like before the 5 Essentials - I don’t mean actually teaching them, because I don’t use them for lessons - but it’s the analysis that came with it that was fundamentally groundbreaking.

Now of course it’s “not real”. And I think that’s really important to understand. Unfortunately many instructors try to directly fit the 5Es to the cast and then they have to do weird things to try to make them fit. It was never intended to be this way; it is a filter, it’s a matchstick model filter that you apply between yourself and the caster. There are three positions; you, filter, caster. It doesn’t fit if you try to directly apply the 5Es into the actual cast.

Why not? Well for one thing the tip path is not straight from RSP0-RSP1 and if it was the line would collide with the rod tip. And because gravity has been excluded, even slightly domed paths will/can still result in this collision. And so people sometimes try to “move the rod tip away from the SLP” afterwards, to make it fit, but if you actually look at genuine tip paths, which Jason Borger drew from video in his first book, you can see that SLP is not actually a reality. Close sometimes yes.

Bill knows and understands this of course. In fact when we were to give a clinic together in Arkansas (but unfortunately he couldn’t make it) his presentation was going to be on exactly this. So in effect what the 5Es are is a very simplified model that we use as a filter and from it we can actually analyse a few faults.

If you go back to Mel Kreiger’s book, tailing loops were caused be too narrow a casting arc, or too much bend for the casting arc, the tip path was concave (and the drawn loop was not even what we think of now as a tail, neither were my early ones, at least up to 2004). Bill came up with Creep; he actually asked me during the MCI exam, “what was the tip path for Creep” (2002). (A Sine Wave - of course that’s only if Creep causes a tail. Which is not always the case. In ‘97 the first I heard of Creep was Mel K analysing it in my Stroke :laugh: )

The question about whether it being a fault or not is wholly an instructor choice when defining. For about a year we hammered it out on the Board. I actually took the position that it was and then the position that it wasn’t. Finally after looking from both perspectives, to me anyway, I felt it better to take the position as an instructor that it was. It gave me another string to my bow.

Anyway my point is this, real life teaching is not the same as the 5E filter model. If you try to merge them you’ll get some curious results. I use both but they are always separate. The 5Es will certainly give you some assistance for understating basic teaching mechanics. They are all through the FFF CCI test (can you imagine what exams were like in the UK back in ‘96? Well indeed we can still teach without them. They’ve definitely switched a light on for many instructors myself included. They are sort of taken for granted now by instructors who didn’t know life before them and fail to realise that they are a matchstick filter!

Of course I have the advantage that I came from one to the other. More recent instructors have started with them and are realising the shortcomings. It’s important to understand this though, because in real life there is only proper and improper power application. That’s it; Application of Force. And that’s mostly what we teach - at least that’s what I teach. However in the 5Es filter you get to analyse through another perspective. The problems arise when you start mixing them up and try applying them literally.

With regards can casting arc too narrow cause a tail? It again depends how you analyse it. You see the problem actually hinges around Casting Arc and Casting Stroke definitions. And I don’t mean the descriptions we use but actually when they actually occur. When does the CS actually begin? If you look at the overall CS it can be broken into forward Drift, forward Sweep, Casting Stroke. Most analysis lumps Sweep and CS together. Most proficient casters come through, building up the force and then spike the force (speed up and stop, the “Hit” the “squeeze”). It’s quite possible to separate that out and call that alone the “Casting Stroke” which is then often a very rapid movement. If that’s Casting Stroke that’s also Casting Arc. From that position I would argue that tailing loops are a result of force being applied when the rod is at the wrong angle ie too early, for if you apply that later in rotation - rotation only that is - then it never happens. I mention this not to argue that it is or it isn’t but simply to show you another analysis of the Stroke and a completely valid one I believe.

I have had fixed arc students who have tailed and I would have said that the primary cause was too narrow an arc. You could say it was a power application fault - too narrow an arc is of course a power application fault. But the cure for a spiked application of force for me is to smoothen the force application. The cure for a fixed arc is a variable casting arc. It’s rare however. I think in 25 years I’ve seen it about three times :laugh:

As far as I’m concerned, most of the definitions we use apply to the filter.

Anyway the point of all this is that there are indeed different filters. 5Es is just one of them. I started with a far cruder one as did everyone else before they came along. Definitions are just modelling. Analysing casts can be done by placing filters between you and the cast. I don’t get too hung up on it. Now that I’m fucking fifty (almost) I have other things to worry about, like my dick falling off.

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Carol
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Re: Casting Arc too narrow, 5 Essentials and understanding casting using filters/models

#2

Post by Carol » Thu Dec 17, 2020 4:57 pm

It likely won't fall off until you're mummified.
Thanks for this post. As mentioned in FB, my mind is opening to the realization that the 5Es are exactly what you say they are, a matchstick framework. Heck, Gammel admitted later that he would now include STOP as an E. As such, they don't include every variation. Lots of things can hang off a framework that aren't specifically spelled out.
Carol
Because it's painful getting flies out of spruce trees.

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Paul Arden
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Re: Casting Arc too narrow, 5 Essentials and understanding casting using filters/models

#3

Post by Paul Arden » Thu Dec 17, 2020 6:32 pm

When I was a child we had only 3 channels on TV. It shut down at midnight and started up again about 4.30am, or whenever it is that small boys get up. After watching the test card for half an hour (man that was a creepy show) men in white coats would present “Open University”. It would always be bearded boffins with glasses and white coats talking University physics with simple experiments and matchstick drawings. It wasn’t Discovery Channel and more like a home movie with physics. And then it went back to the test card. It was like messaging from another planet.

Anyway that’s how I’ve always seen Bills 5 Essentials. Brilliantly simplified.

Cheers, Paul
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Paul Arden
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Re: Casting Arc too narrow, 5 Essentials and understanding casting using filters/models

#4

Post by Paul Arden » Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:57 am

Hi Carol,

I heard back from Bill this morning.
I don't think I ever wrote that in an article. I remember somebody pushing me to say what the 6th would be if I had to add one. I probably did say the stop, but I think the 5 are best left alone. My father would be really surprised if he knew how much scrutiny that little booklet has gotten.
Personally I would have been very surprised if the Stop was in there and I’m pleased that it’s not :D

Cheers, Paul
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Lasse Karlsson
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Re: Casting Arc too narrow, 5 Essentials and understanding casting using filters/models

#5

Post by Lasse Karlsson » Fri Dec 18, 2020 8:22 am

Me too 🙂
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