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I just bought some land next to my house in the NC mountains

Trip reports, findings, events, and general experiences with tenkara fishing. Tell other tenkara enthusiasts about your tenkara experience

Re: I just bought some land next to my house in the NC mount

Postby dwalker » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:57 am

petertohen wrote:..
My casts are still stacking up and falling short much of the time (any advice, other than watch videos and practice?). ....

This is just my opinion on the fundamentals of casting the line to full extension.
[Sorry, but to not just say watch casting videos & practice, takes a lot more words/reading]

Of first importance is allowing the flex of the rod to throw the line. [ rather than trying to throw the line by speed and power of your arm motion].

Think of the rod as a spring or like the stretched elastic of a sling shot. Ideally - You want to start the forward cast at the precise moment when the rod tip is at maximum flex rearward. That is the point when the spring is fully stretched - with the most stored energy.

You want to start your forward cast at the precise moment the rod tip is fully flexed (curved) rearward - you will have to develop a sensitivity to feeling that position in your finger tips. Keep a loose grip on the rod.

Others may disagree with me, but I think the best way to learn to sense the rod flex in your finger tips is to spend some time casting either a heavier line or a longer line.

The line will have greater mass (weight) on the tip of the rod. That will make the rod tip load or flex more. Thereby making it easier to be felt by your finger tips. With experience you will be come more sensitive to it, once you know what it feels like.

Just lay the line out straight on the ground in front of you. Do a back cast, stopping at 12:00 or straight up. Try to learn to sense when the rod tip if curved fully rearward. You will feel a little jerk of the rod when the rod tip flexes rearward. Almost like sensing a fish hit you fly. It takes just the right balance of: rod rotation speed/power, & quick stop at 12:00, and light grip on the rod, to begin to sense when the rod tip finishes it's flex rearward. [actually I think it works better if you can cast into water, the line dragging in the water as you do the back cast will load the rod tip more than dragging the line off dry grass]

Don't try to do a forward cast at this point. Just do back cast - stopping with the rod vertical at 12:00, let the line fall to the ground. Turn and do a back cast the other direction. Oh, and think of trying to throw the line back & up at 45˚. Not straight back behind you. [ you want to think of the line as going back and forth along an imaginary 45˚ line from where you want the fly to land to where the fly should go in the air up & behind you. ]

Secondly: casting is like telling a joke well. The secret to success is in the timing, the stop positions, the speed & power of your arm/ or wrist motion. Like the rhythm of the delivery when telling of a joke. The punch line has to happen at the right moment.

[Know where to stop the back cast, where to stop the forward cast. Make the stops definite, but not abrupt like the rod hit a mechanical stop. More like extreme hard breaking in your car, not your car hitting a cliff face. ]

The tenkara cast is really rather slow with not to much speed /power from you arm. [ I admit, this is a difficult thing to understand, & learn how to put into practice or to execute]

Most people new to casting a tenkara line try to put to much power or speed into the line via arm motion, or wrist snap. Rather that letting spring power from the rod tip flex do it for them. Oh, and they put to much hard acceleration into the rod motion at the start of the forward cast with their arm motion.

Try not to start the forward cast with abrupt hard forward acceleration. If you do your line will belly downward in the middle, taking on the shape of a poorly written letter U. Let the acceleration forward increase gradually, or linearly. Coming to maximum acceleration and rod speed forward just as the rod reaches the stop position of the forward cast. About 40˚ from vertical position where the forward cast started.

You might find the casting procedure diagram on the below linked Honda website useful. The text is in Japanese. But the drawing of the 8 steps of the casting process, I think, are still useful. Scroll down to the bottom diagram labelled キャスティングの手順 [Casting Procedure]

My Explanation of each of the 8 steps in the diagram. What I believe happens when casting:

Step 1 - Make a back cast stopping at 12:00. Make a quick definite stop with the rod motion. You might also want to make the back cast a little faster than you intend to make the forward cast. It has been said that the energy to make the forward cast comes from the energy input during the back cast. [dragging the line from water helps here. Dragging the line from the water will cause the rod tip to bend more (load) than dragging the line off dry grass, this will increase the spring energy in the rod tip. Thereby helping to throw the line up and back.]

Think, throw the line up & back at 45˚. Most people find it helpful to think of having a short pause at 12:00 before starting the forward cast in Step 2. But after gaining casting skill, there is no need of a short pause, or it becomes so short it is practically nonexistent.

[I recommend you just practice this step for 15~30 minutes with a heavier line, #4 or #4.5, or a long line, 5m or 5.5m [16ft ~ 18ft], before going on to doing the forward cast part. And concentrate on trying to sense when the rod tip is maximally flexed rearward [as shown in Step 2]. I believe this will help you develop the ability to sense this point. Once you learn to sense this you will be able to sense it with shorter lighter lines. [like learning to balance a bicycle, you get better with experience] But some people disagree with me about this. You might want to try doing a few forward cast with the longer or heavier line before switching back to the line length/weight you want to fish with. Not to many, just a few to get a bit of a feel for it.

Then - switch back to the line you normally use. Same weight & length. Say a line about the same length of the rod, or a little shorter or a little longer.

{ after you can make decent forward cast with a shorter line. You might want to again try doing forward cast with the long line. It wont matter if your forward cast with the long line are not very good. I think you will learn something from just trying it for 15 minutes or so. Some believe I am wrong about this. But I believe it helped me develop my skill at casting a shorter line. This was most noticeable to me after 15 minutes of making terrible forward cast with an 18 foot line, then immediately switching back to a 13 foot line. I could cast it better. Because my casting rhythm had slowed down - it had to slow down to cast the longer line. But your experience / results from trying it may be different. }

Step 2 This is where the rod tip has maximum stored spring energy. The line may still be uncurling up and back. But this is the instant to start the forward cast. Don't accelerate to hard at the beginning of the forward cast. It may help to think of it as slow acceleration for the first 1/3 of the forward cast, then harder / faster acceleration for the next 2/3 of the movement of the forward cast. [ I don't think the acceleration is ideally done in one third steps like this, but it may be helpful to think of it that way when first learning to improve your cast.]

Steps 2, 3, and 4 - Includes the full rotation of the rod to make the forward cast. Note at Step 4 the text says 2:00 [2時] as the stop position. Which would be 60˚ of rod rotation from the 12:00 position. This is your stop position of the rod for the forward cast.

I would not go that far forward, especially when trying to learn to improve your casting. Stop sooner. at say 1:30 = 45˚ from vertical. Make a definite rapid stop of the rod motion at that point. I think stopping the rod motion to abruptly makes the rod tip oscillate to long or to much, before it dampens to a stop, thereby adding wiggle into the line.

This, definite stop, is very important to do ! ! - to cause the rod tip to now - flex forward and downward, to put the maximum energy into the line and propel the line forward as far as possible. Note how at Step 4 the rod tip is now curving in the opposite direction {from how it was flexed in Step 2.}

Steps 4 ~ 7. You are no longer moving the rod. You had rotated the rod by movement of your forearm or forearm and wrist snap. And had stopped the rod rotation at Step 4. The line is still moving and uncurling forward / downward at about 45˚ angle.

[people vary in how they do the rod rotation. Most use a combination of forearm movement with a bit of wrist snap. Some mostly just forearm movement others mostly wrist snap with only a little movement of the forearm. A bit of wrist snap at both the end of the back cast and at the end of the forward cast, to the stop position is probably most common.]

Anyway, note at Step 5 the rod tip has reached it's maximum flex forward. Which is pulling the line forward and downward, at 45˚. At Step 6 the line is still uncurling forward, but the rod tip is now rebounding, moving in and upward direction. As it does so - it is also pulling on the line, which helps the line uncurl and layout to a longer extension forward. [think of how when you snap a towel, it is the rapid pull back of your hand than makes the end of the towel whip around and Snap. But it this case. before the end of the line & fly can snap back like a towel. The fly should land on the water.

Step 7 - the rod tip has completed it's rebound. And the motion of the rod tip is dampening down, to where the rod tip stops vibrating. The line should now be almost completely curled forward.

Step 8 is just before the fly lands on the water. You may find it helpful to lift the rod tip very slightly, say 5˚, just before the fly lands on the water. That should make the line extend ever so slightly just a little farther. But it is a difficult timing to master.

The note/text below the diagram. just says. Tenkara Line Trajectory [テンカララインの軌道]

Hold the rod lightly, No Death Grip, this helps sense the rod tip flex, and helps the rod top motion to dampen out more quickly at end of back and forward cast. Thereby decreasing wiggles in the line, and increasing the cast distance.

Don't cast to fast or hard with arm/wrist motion. Let the rod tip flex energy cast the line, not arm motion, but that only happens correctly with proper timing and rhythm. Takes time and many cast to develop.

Softer acceleration at the start of the the forward cast, before increasing the rate of rod rotation forward. [ this will avoid the line curving down in the middle making a short cast]

Make definite stops of rod motion at 12:00 & 1:30. Oh, and heavier lines are easier to cast than lighter lines. Shorter lines are easier to cast than longer lines. [ You did not say what kind and size of line you are using, I assumed Fluorocarbon Level Line of size 3, 3.5 or 4 , about the same length of the rod].

And I think you will find it is easier to cast the line with the Sato at full extended length than at the shorter lengths. A longer rod has higher rod tip speed than the tip speed of a shorter rod. And higher rod tip speed = more energy input into the line. After you can cast the line well at the longer rod length, then it will, I believe, be easier to develop the skill the cast the line well at shorter rod lengths. Shorter rods require you to have better timing and sensitivity to how the rod is flexing. And they require you to have the skill to rotate the rod faster during the cast without overpowering it. Lastly, each combination of rod model, and line weight and length, will have a different rhythm and timing. With experience you can adapt quickly.

Hope this was understandable, and helpful if it was.
It's just the way I think about it. Others no doubt think about it differently and would describe the process differently.

Good Luck.
Last edited by dwalker on Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tenkara is fundamental fishing fun
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Re: I just bought some land next to my house in the NC mount

Postby Rob Ruff » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:54 am

David posted some great info there.
Rob Ruff
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Re: I just bought some land next to my house in the NC mount

Postby dwalker » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:11 pm

Cool. Thanks Rob. I was thinking of deleting the post - thinking there was either - no interest or it was seen as complete BS.
Tenkara is fundamental fishing fun
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