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Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:08 am

About the maximum length line I am casting today is an 18' Level Line with about 2.5' to 3' of 5X Tippet.

I have kept my casting stroke to about the 10 to 12 position (well maybe 12:45 <grin> when casting the 18' line) while casting this longer line and it seems to work fairly well.

In fact after creating a side video of my casting (found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOCEmQYxPlk) where I thought I was doing a 10 to 12 casting stroke, it may be more like 12:45 like I stated above.

Seems the longer the line, the longer my stroke has become.

I had been only doing about 15' of line plus 3' tippet all summer and was keeping my stroke short, 10 to 12, but this longer line I see I became 12:45ish...

Then I just watched John of Tenkara Guides video on YouTube casting a 32' line and man (found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBrY_lSF6EM), the stroke was much longer than I had expected. His casts were very nice and the fly seemed to go where he wanted, but it surprised me that his cast looks like about a 10 to 2 like a western stroke would be. I must say though adding a little of the Pesca Alla Valsesiana style circular casting is a pretty thing to see. I saw that in some Italian videos and sure makes the casting look elegant.

So I guess the question for us all casting longer lines, does your casting stroke get larger as your line lengths get longer?

Meaning, if casting a 12' line it is ultra short 10 to 11:30 stroke, then a 15' line is 10 to 12 stroke, a 18' line becomes a 10 to 1 stroke, etc.....

What has been your experiences?

Tenkara no Oni casts very long lines yet his casting stroke stayed somewhat short, maybe 10 to 12:15 or so.

Here is a great side video of Tenkara no Oni casting so we can see.
http://tinyurl.com/afa6qce

I believe taking a side video of your casting can be of great benefit to see what you are really doing. Even Tenkara no Oni has done this on his website and is great to see longer side profile casting of tenkara.

I started a casting video thread here a week or two ago and hoping some of you join in. It is my feeling it will greatly benefit your own casting and also help others that want to work on their own casting. Seeing it on video will help many folks I am sure perfect their casting.

Casting Video Thread
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3944

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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby erik.ostrander » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:51 pm

Short answer is yes.

Just like traditional western fly fishing, when you have more line you have to open up your cast. Watch video of western guys casting short line vs. long line, it's the same. Although, western has the added benefit of double hauling.

Every length (and weight) of line will have its own rhythm. Find that rhythm and cast better.
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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:28 pm

erik.ostrander wrote:Short answer is yes.

Just like traditional western fly fishing, when you have more line you have to open up your cast. Watch video of western guys casting short line vs. long line, it's the same. Although, western has the added benefit of double hauling.

Every length (and weight) of line will have its own rhythm. Find that rhythm and cast better.


For me so far, that is what I have experienced, but I keep trying to push back to any line length to date trying to embody that 10 to 12ish casting stroke and not allow myself to start changing how a seamless tenkara cast should and can be.

Not sure whether it is possible and I am sure it all depends on rod stiffness or softness, line being used, etc....

But I have never seen Tenkara no Oni with any broader than 10 to 12ish stroke and he casts some long lines, so just wondered if we should be able to cast that same long line with the shorter strokes like he does and that is what we should drive for.

Kind of like that golf shot that everyone has. We start changing the dynamics of the cast and do oddball thinks to make that shot. Start adding more actions in the equation to make it happen and therefore more room for error.

Wondering if we should be not allowing those extra actions to come into the picture and force ourselves to not let the body take over but stick to how the cast should and can be, and make it work for shorter strokes. Again, if that is possible.

Tenkara no Oni is a master has has casted for a very long time. Practice makes perfect.

I just don't want to get in bad habits just so I can cast a longer line and instead work at keeping the stroke more compact, less fatigue on the arm, and try to master it that way.

Not saying long strokes are bad, or good. I know mine is probably a bit too long. I know Daniel once mentioned take a shorter stroke but don't remember if that was a short-line situation or longer line also.

Anyway, just some food for thought.

I did some more video at lunch today and although I tried to stop going past 12, I could not stop <grin>. At least with a 18' + 3' tippet line. My wrist stops at 12 but then a flick of the wrist takes me to 12:45 or 1 before the rod starts coming forward.

Maybe the flick of the wrist past 12 is not a bad thing. I need to watch more videos of masters to see.

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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby goneflyfishing » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:52 pm

TJ, as Erik noted, you will need to find the rhythm for each combination of length and weight of line, but you also will need to adjust for the action and the length of the rod as well as type of line (traditional, level or weight forward).
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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:49 pm

I fish a 20' line. plus tippet a lot. My casting stroke might be a little bit longer, but more importantly for me is to watch my timing, or rhythm like everyone is talking about. It seems like a good high rod stop also becomes more critical. I feel like I really need to feel the line "sling" of the tip more with the longer lines. I don't know if that's a great way to describe it, but that's what it feels like to me.
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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby John @ Tenkara USA » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:50 pm

I fish a 20' line. plus tippet a lot. My casting stroke might be a little bit longer, but more importantly for me is to watch my timing, or rhythm like everyone is talking about. It seems like a good high rod stop also becomes more critical. I feel like I really need to feel the line "sling" of the tip more with the longer lines. I don't know if that's a great way to describe it, but that's what it feels like to me.
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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby dwalker » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:58 pm

I don't think my casting stroke or arc gets longer when casting a longer line. I try to increase the speed of the rod tip, thus line speed, and increase the pause at the end of the back stroke.

I'm probably not as good at casting long lines as John or Erik and I've never filmed myself casting so I could be doing something other than what I think I am doing. Going past 12 seems to work well for John in the video you linked. Their advice is better than mine.

Probably about the longest line I try to cast is 24 ft including tippet. What I think I am doing is maintaining the same 12 to 10 casting arc and the only difference compared to casting a shorter 15ft or 18 ft line is when casting the 24 ft line is I increase the speed a bit to increase line speed and pause a little longer at the end of the back cast. The timing maybe about the same with just a longer pause at the end of the back cast or maybe the timing is actually bit longer. Casting a longer line does feel slower. And I usually raise the rod tip a little just after the stop at the end of the forward cast.

So I increase rod tip speed and pause time. If I go much past 12 the forward cast doesn't work. I try to increase line speed and not increase the arc angle. But maybe I'm not doing what I think I am doing. Filming myself casting would probably be a good exercise to try as a way to determine just what my cast looks like.

2 cents from a self taught rube
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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby Tenkara Guides » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:06 pm

Hey TJ,
In the video of me using the 32' fluorocarbon twisted taper line, you have to keep in mind that I was using a Diawa Sagiri rod 13ft long. That particular rod is a pretty soft 5:5 flex and was not designed to cast a long heavy line. I chose that rod for the video because it was a blending of 2 extremes as far a rod design and line. In order to get that much line up off of the water, I had to load every inch of that rod all the way down into the grip segment. That is why the casting stroke is more like a western rod. It's all about getting the most potential energy out of the rod itself. That 32 ft line is not what I would choose to use with that particular rod. Kind of like putting a 500 cubic inch V8 engine in a SMART car. Can it be done? Sure. Is it a good idea? Probably not.

Also, those lines are really heavy in the 28-40 ft lengths compared to level lines. That factor also plays into the casting stroke, rhythm, and rod tip speed. Level lines need more positive stops on the back and forward cast than the twisted tapered fluorocarbon lines and a faster casting stroke to help the rod load and release energy.

I have used the same 32 ft line with a 14 ft stiff 6:4 rod and the casting stroke is much more like a traditional tenkara cast, the only change is in the rhythm of the cast. It is really hard for me to describe it.

There are some very subtle techniques to help casting lines longer than 20ft.

1. At the beginning of the back cast, slightly raise the tip of the rod to start lifting the line off of the water.

2. At the beginning of the forward cast, slightly lower your casting arm elbow keeping it close to your body. As the line lays out, slightly raise the tip of the rod to decelerate the line and land your fly gently on the water. This will help limit the amount of what I call line slap. That is where the line behind the tippet smacks the water hard. These motions are very subtle and it takes some practice to get the rhythm of it down. Once you get it, casting and managing long lines becomes very easy.

3. Get your body aligned correctly with the rod and the line. If you can, get a good solid stance with your foot on your casting arm side slightly forward. Get your shoulders squared to the target you are casting to. Keep your casting elbow low and close to your body. Align your index finger or thumb (which ever grip you prefer), aligned with your casting shoulder. Maintain this hand/shoulder alignment during the casting stroke. This body alignment puts your entire body to work durning your cast. You are being bio-mechanically efficient and the rod and line are aligned with the bones in your hand, forearm, upper arm and shoulder. This alignment truly makes the rod an extension of your hand.

Hand and arm fatigue is caused by improper body alignment. If you are feeling forearm fatigue, your hand is casting outside of your shoulder. If you are feeling shoulder fatigue, you might be keeping your elbow too high and too far away from your body. Hand fatigue I think comes from trying to generate too much speed and then trying to stop the rod too abrubtly on the back cast and forward cast.

Remember to not try to muscle the line and rod around. Let the rod do all the work and all you have to do is direct the fly to the target. I have found these methods help all my casting long or standard length lines to be more controlled with better accuracy and less fatigue at the end of a long day of fishing.

One last thing, each rod and each tenkara angler will have a sweet spot as far as line length goes. You just have to experiment with your rods and the lines you use to find the magic combination of line weight, line length, rod length, rod flex, and casting stroke/rhythm. I like to use a 12 ft 5:5 flex rod for 90% of my fishing. With that rod, I use 12, 16, 20, and 24 ft lines. Rod length is really not a factor for me as far as line length goes up to 28 ft. For 28, 32, and 40 ft lines, stiff 6:4 or 7:2 rods in 13-15 ft length really helps. I primarily use twisted tapered fluorocarbon lines with 4-5 ft of tippet. For level lines, I am not entirely sure of rod length/flex for lines longer than 20 ft or if it is all that important. Hopefully Daniel or someone else who has more long level line (longer than 25 ft) experience will chime in.

I have been trying to get the hang of the 40 ft line fishing for carp. Casting isn't the issue with 40 ft lines. Hand lining 40 ft of line with a pissed off 8 pound fish on the other end is a skill all in itself. One that I suck at for the time being. Getting a little better with each fish I catch but I still suck at it. Hook sets with really long lines is a bit of a challenge. You really have to know where your fly is in the water or you miss a lot of strikes.

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Last edited by Tenkara Guides on Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby TJ @ Tenkara USA » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:24 pm

dwalker wrote:But maybe I'm not doing what I think I am doing. Filming myself casting would probably be a good exercise to try as a way to determine just what my cast looks like.

2 cents from a self taught rube
D


Hopefully from this more folks post side view casting videos.

I think they would be helpful for everyone studying and trying to perfect their cast.

dwalker wrote:I don't think my casting stroke or arc gets longer when casting a longer line. I try to increase the speed of the rod tip, thus line speed, and increase the pause at the end of the back stroke.


And that is about what I was striving for by starting this thread. I think that is what Tenkara no Oni does and his casting stroke in terms of 10 to 12 stays the same but varies speed and wrist to work those longer lines.

It still all falls back to rod being used and lines and all that but for me, I guess I should state I am working our normal 3.5# Tenkara USA Level Line for my comparisons.

I will not say never but at this point I don't see a need for me to cast that long of a line. Heck I am just starting to tinker and ended my 2012 season catching a couple trout on an 18' + 3' Tippet line. Before that I caught majority of my fish, and I had what I feel is a great year for me, on a 13' Main Line + 3' Tippet.

I am guessing one day I may need longer and that is why I am now tinkering with 18' and feel in my video I cast it decent so will work on it for 2013 and see how it goes.

Maybe at the end of 2013 season I will try a 21' + 3' Tippet line. hehehe

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Re: Should Casting Stroke change when casting longer lines?

Postby Tenkara Guides » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:56 pm

TJ @ Tenkara USA wrote:
dwalker wrote:But maybe I'm not doing what I think I am doing. Filming myself casting would probably be a good exercise to try as a way to determine just what my cast looks like.

2 cents from a self taught rube
D



Hopefully from this more folks post side view casting videos.

I think they would be helpful for everyone studying and trying to perfect their cast.

I will not say never but at this point I don't see a need for me to cast that long of a line. Heck I am just starting to tinker and ended my 2012 season catching a couple trout on an 18' + 3' Tippet line. Before that I caught majority of my fish, and I had what I feel is a great year for me, on a 13' Main Line + 3' Tippet.

I am guessing one day I may need longer and that is why I am now tinkering with 18' and feel in my video I cast it decent so will work on it for 2013 and see how it goes.

Maybe at the end of 2013 season I will try a 21' + 3' Tippet line. hehehe

TJ


Go find some nice stinky stagnant water full of big fat carp and bust out the 30 ft lines. I guarantee you will have some major fun. Erik and I were talking last night about our absurd tenkara carp obsession of late. I hit the carp this morning and it is just plain fun. Long lines, huge fish, and a lot of laughing. It's too bad that in the video we shot of one of our carp outings you can't hear all the laughing and yelling.

Check this link: http://www.orvisnews.com/FlyFishing/Fri ... 5925417366

scroll about halfway down the page & find us. We were both using about 24-28 ft lines.

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