July 18, 2013
Casting Issue: Your fly nearly takes your hat off on the forward stroke.
This is common when these things happen:
1) You place the anchor too far away from your casting position while thinking, “If I just move it farther away, I’m safer”.
The tendency then, is to put too much power into the forward stroke causing the fly and leader to whip into a position related to the direction of the D loop. This pulls the fly right towards the caster. If you continue with too much power too soon, the anchor blows up. It has to follow the path of the fly line, which might be blocked by your face. This dangerous scenario can be worsened if you are tossing the D loop back behind your shoulder. The only place the fly can go, to follow the path of the fly line if you blow the anchor or put too much power into the forward stroke, is through your body. To reduce the chances of perforating your face, hands, eyes, neck, etc. the most counterintuitive thing must happen; place the anchor CLOSER to your casting position. Keep the rod canted off the casting shoulder throughout the casting stroke by keeping the bottom hand in front of your torso and the top hand in front of the casting side shoulder. Begin the forward stroke smoothly, make the rod tip travel in a straight path and stop abruptly at the end of the casting stroke. The fly will then travel out and away from your body as it leaves the water if the traveling rod tip is even with or slightly outside the anchor position.
2) Your D Loop is poorly formed and you try to make up for it by pounding the forward cast. All of the above happens. To correct the D Loop flaw one needs to be conscious of your tempo in the sweep portion of the cast as you approach setting the D loop. Whether you use sustained anchor (Skagit Style) or a more traditional cast with long bellies, the rod tip must be maintaining momentum, or increasing it. Decelerating during the sweep and into the D Loop causes it to crash or not form at all. You can make sure your momentum is maintained by watching the path of the rod tip during the sweep; it must be level with the water/horizon, or slightly increasing in elevation. One of the biggest flaws is to have the rod tip dip towards the water anytime during the sweep, before the turnover and forward cast. This kills all the energy in the cast and you have to make up for it by pounding the forward stroke. You can remedy this flaw by dumping your rod tip into the water after setting the anchor (Snap T and Double Spey casts). This guarantees you are coming to a full stop and the only place to go from there is horizontal or up. The sweep to the casting position is the most important part of the entire effort. Done correctly, the rod nearly casts itself after the D loop is in position.
Just my thoughts. They work for me. Hire a good teacher if you really suck. I nearly lost an eyeball learning to cast a two handed rod.