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  #1  
Old 01-06-2009, 04:30 PM
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strippin chicken strippin chicken is offline
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Question Off Season Practice

Just wondering , during the cold season for those of us who choose not to freeze our butts off.
What practice or exercises do you do to keep your casting arm in shape and your timing up to snuff so you don't look like a newbie the first time out. Not to mention getting a tired and sore arm.
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:08 PM
Fish Tank Fish Tank is offline
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

Dragging a sled full of gear 100yards or more across a snow covered lake, and hand drilling 6-15 holes or more per day through 8"-12"+ of frozen lake ice keeps my arms and back in tune. Also, so long as it is above freezing day and/or night, and the river down the street from me isn't cranking, I'll be out with my 9wt and 8" deceivers looking for slob trout 24"+, and if the water is down it may be my 5wt. Usually it takes a week of 40deg daytime hi's to get them lookin' for eats and aggressive.

I was on the river yesterday for about 6hrs. I've been casting for so much of my life my timing is ingrained in my soul, so that, coupled with the fact that if it's above freezing, even by 1deg, I'm flycasting, unless there's ice, then I'm there until it's unsafe.

I know no offseason. There's always fish somewhere, and they're always calling me, and I'm always break'n my b@lls to get after 'em.

I won't call it cold until there's a -30deg wind chill, and then I'm still on the ice for 8hrs or more and I don't own a shed. I keep my house at 55degF, and my room is often 48degF when I wake up in the morning. I burn a great deal of calories as I sleep keeping my core temp warm. Also, to keep acclimated to the cold, at night when there's snow on the ground, I go outside in between various flies I'm tying in just my boxers; no shirt, no shoes, nothing but shorts, and stand in the snow and wind until I finish one cigarette, to the butt. This way I know what it feels like to be cold, and how long blue feet take to warm up. I've been doin this for years and it works for me.

So, to stay in shape, and conditioned, I don't stop fishing.

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Old 01-06-2009, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

Hi Fish Tank,
I wish I could do it your way.
I unfortunately do not have the luxury of doing that. Working 8-10 hour days 5-6 days a week kinda cuts into my fishin' time. And in those other hours I am maintaining my house and land. I get out there as much as I can, but my technique is far from being "ingrained in my soul". I'm just out there trying to relax have a good time and maybe catch a few linesiders in the process.
But thanks for the visual of you outside in a snowstorm in your boxers with butt in hand.
Just wondering if there were any different ideas besides " air casting" or using the old rod tip and yarn method.
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:34 AM
Jetty Jumper Jetty Jumper is offline
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

I fish for trout during the winter months.

For practice (or more for fun) I go into the yard and cast for about 20 minutes from time to time. I keep a few rods rigged in the garage and have some weighted and unweighted practice flys (cut the hook at the bend). It's amazing what you can do with a fly line.

I work on distance and accuracy using rocks, shrubs, tree stumps etc....40 feet at 2 o'clock, 60 feet at 10 o'clock, 80 feet at 12 o'clock. Practice different types of casts in different wind directions, learn some trick casts, reduce false casts, master your double haul.....its all about having fun.

I've learned more about casting on my lawn then on the water...thats for sure.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:06 AM
Fish Tank Fish Tank is offline
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

Strippin Chicken, there is a way to practice your double haul without a rod, just the line. It brings home the need to get the line moving, with hands together, before the haul.

I have to paint a few walls for a shoot now, but before the end of the day I'll post the technique.

I showed it to Joe Laniewski a few years ago.


Stay tuned.

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Old 01-07-2009, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish Tank View Post
Strippin Chicken, there is a way to practice your double haul without a rod, just the line. It brings home the need to get the line moving, with hands together, before the haul.

I have to paint a few walls for a shoot now, but before the end of the day I'll post the technique.

I showed it to Joe Laniewski a few years ago.


Stay tuned.

And I still can't believe my eyes, JUST WITH THE REEL AND LINE, Amazing.
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

I was concerned about the damage the ice and snow my do to the fly line surface.
But I was looking for a good reason to give the Shark Skin a try anyways.
Double haul with no rod ?
Can't wait to see it. I appreciate the input from everyone.
Thanks,
T
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:40 PM
Fish Tank Fish Tank is offline
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

Alrighty, paint's dry'n.

First, this excersize was taught to me by my friend Zack Judd who used to compete in a competition on a series of obstacle courses and then once the scores were in, the top few teams got to fish for the $$$'s. Now he lives in, and chases tarpon in Florida the lucky bugger!!! I'm not sure where he got this or if he came up with it himself, but this isn't an origional idea of mine, although it is a great aid when I help people get the idea of the double haul and shooting line.

Let's revue the nature of a cast and the physics at play with a fly cast. It all starts with the conservation of energy and the fact that energy is neither made nor destroyed only transfered. Remember, it's the fly line that is cast, not the fly. In order for the line to travel it's necessary to have energy imparted to it.

The energy comes from the caster enacting force upon the rod in conjunction with the mass of the line resisting that force. Consequently the rod bends, or is said to be "loaded". The energy from the caster is then transferred to the line when the rod un-bends or is "un-loaded". in the process of the rod unloading, a "loop" forms in the line.

The loop's leading edge is eliptical in profile, basically an oval shape. It's the forward energy of the loop in the head of the fly line that carries the rest of the line, that being the running line.

In a traditional cast the line hand is held stationary with a grip on the line, and the rod loaded exclusively by the weight of the fly line. Generally this is suitable for short distances, where accuracy is the focus. For trout streams and dry flies, or bass bugs from a boat to holes in lily pads, this is often all that is needed. However, once we approach the salt, and primarily the surf zone, distance trumps accuracy. In order to cast longer distances, say 80' or better, it becomes critical to maximize the velocity of the line. This is done by further loading the rod, by means of a "haul".

A "haul" is when the line hand pulls against the direction the rod is moving, further loading the rod, more so than the line's mass is solely capable of doing.

The double haul is done when the caster hauls both on the fore cast, and on the back back cast, and at the right time releases the line, there by "shooting" the line.

I hope this makes sense, and one can't be an efficient caster without bringing this fundamental home in one way or another, which brings us to our excersize, to do so.

Let's first look at what this excersize is intended to accomplish.

1.) It will demonstrate how energy is to be applied to the line through the hauling motion to shoot the line.

2.) The caster's stance through out this excersize is a full, open stance, whereby the caster's shoulder is pointed to the target, and the front of their body is on a parrallel line to the target. A fully closed stance would be to have the chest and shoulders squared to the target, or on a perpendicular line to the target.

The beauty of the open stance is that the caster, at all times, has a full view, in both directions, of the line as it travels. At no time are they blind to the behavior of the line.
NOTE: when casting, be it in a traditional style, or double haul style, before the forecast or back cast may be initiated efficiently, the line MUST straighten out in order to fully load the rod. Should the caster begin either direction of the cast without the line straight, and a loaded rod, there will not be enough energy to impart to the line and it will pile up and go no where, most likely ended up tangled all around the caster.

3.) This excersize will allow the caster to become proficient delivering the cast both on the fore cast and the back cast. For flyrodders casting in the surf this is critical to learn, because when casting east, on a southerly wind, if a dominant right handed caster cannot turn their back to the south wind, the wind will blow the fly right into their face. It will only take a neophyte caster one time, to hit themselves in the back of the head with a heavily weighted clouser, for them to see the necessity of delivering off the backcast while facing east on a southerly blow, OF ANY VELOCITY!!!

Prepping the excersize:
(For this excersize the type of fly line is not important, be it floater or sinker, jost so long as it's weight forward)


1.) Put a small piece of medical stape around the first joint of your middle finger, from the tip of that finger. {I've never burnt, or cut my finger doing this, but I was shown it in person, and saw the technique}

2.) Take yourself and your fly outfit to an area where you have approx. 100' on either side of you.

3.)Take the leader of the line. Take the line out of the rod if it's strung up, and strip all the flyline off the reel onto the ground at your feet until you have about 1' of backing off the reel.

4.) Take the reel off the rod, set the reel down away from the line where you won't step on the reel, or put it into your pocket.

5.) Set the rod aside for the time being where you won't step on it.

6.) Take the line coming off the reel where it's attached to the backing and in arm length coils, pile it neatly on top of itself until you get to the fattest part of the head. {You'll feel the diameter change as you move forward down the running line.}


The Excersize
For right hand dominant casters, reverse this for south paw.

1.) Stand with your feet about 1' behind the coils of fly line, with your feet approx. shoulder width apart.

2.) Grab the middle of the head of the fly line with your line hand{left hand}, about naval height on your body, just as you would if casting.

3.) Put your right hand next to your left hand, with the P A L M of the right hand up, with your prepped middle finger slightly raised above the index finger and ring finger, and lay the line going towards the leader end of the fly line over the tape on your middle finger.

4.) Smoothly, yet quickly, seperate your right hand from your left, letting the flyline slide across the tape, and abruptly stop your right hand about 2' from where it started. Think of a subtle flicking motion. This should be one motion and very fluid. Watch what happens with the line extending to the tip. It should lay out straight with a little pull.

5.) Repeat in the other direction, crossing your right hand over the top of your left hand covering the same distance, with the same velocity.

* The last half of the head extending to the leader should smoothly lay out in the direction your line hand is moving. If it doesn't, extend your hand for a longer distance, move it more quickly, and stop it more abruptly.

6.) Once the line is laying out nicely for you, repeat the process, but this time let about 3' of line slip through your left hand and stop the traveling line by clamping your line hand down on it. The line should lay straight out in the direction your right hand was moving. Retrieve the 3' of line, and repeat in the other direction.

* Once you become comfortable with steps 1 thru 6 you are ready to start the hauling process. Most fly lines have a 10' head. You'll know you're proficient with steps 1 thru 6 when you can perform step 6 and transfer enough energy to the line so that the head plus about 2' of line slips through your line hand. Start step 7 with the head +3' laying straight and tight, on the ground, on your left side.

7.) With the line laying on the ground to your left side, pivot your upper torso at your hips, so your shoulders are as square to the tip of the line as possible.

8.) Extend both hands fully from your body towards the tip of the line, with your right hand lightly clamped on the line, and the line to tip laying over your middle finger, with your P A L M up. NOTE: It's of extreme importance at this point that if you were to give a slight pull on the line with your right hand the whole head would slide across the ground. This is as critical here as it is when the rod is attached, copy???

*Step 9 happens in one smooth, yet powerful motion. Slowly move through this first to gain your coordination before attempting it with the line!!!

9.) GAME ON... With your shoulders, arms, and upper torso, locked in place, and your feet not having moved, swing{almost exactly like a baseball swing} your torso 180 deg. to your right, from your hips, pulling the head of the line with you. Once your arms hit the 90deg point, which is perpendicular to the path the line is traveling, powerfully {YET SMOOTHLY} seperate your hands. Your left hand and arm should pull the line across your middle finger and continue to a fully extended position, and not release the line until the right hand has fully extended with a flicking, or snapping, motion.

*What you should see happen is a well formed "loop" smoothly shoot all the line from your feet, and if the reel is on the ground, drag it a few inches, in the direction you were pivoting.

10.) Strip the line in until the starting point of the head layed out straight +3' of running line, and do it in the other direction.

*You should find that it's easier and more fluid delivering to your right as opposed to your left. Had the line been connected to the rod{and you were casting east on a south blow}, you would have executed a perfect back cast delievery!!!

Now, let's revisit what this excersize reinforces. First, nothing may be hurky jerky, and a smooth powerful yet controlled motion wins the day. By pivoting the first 90deg. with the upper torso, we have "gotten the line moving". Essentially the initial "line mass" load of the rod. When the hands seperate that simulates the haul. Now, once you get this down and re-attach the line to the rod and string it up, repeat the whole process. Roll cast the head out straight to the left side, with all the line neatly looped at your feet. Get tight to it with the rod tip pointed directly at the tip of the line and both hands side by side. Nothing has changed save adding the rod to the initial excersize. Pivot at your torso, SMOOTHLY, hands together. When your hands hit the 90deg. point extend the rod hand to the target with a sharp snap, and your left hand SMOOTHLY yet powerfully seperating, and when the rod hand is extended let loose the line. You should dump the full line in a straight line to target.

The last step is to aerialize the cast. 3 false casts should be enough. Start the same distance of line outside the rod tip as in the beginning of the excersize with same body positioning, and foot positioning.

1 false cast to get the line in the air, let the head slip out and fully straighten, the 2nd false cast with a haul and the head out + approx. 3'-5'. The 3rd false cast to deliver as in step 9. REMEMBER: The hands have to come together with the line straight, before you may move the other direction.

At this point try the excersive, feel just the line without the rod, and then use the steps with the rod.

Come back with ???'s.


So here's a solid wintertime excersise. I HOPE this helped.


Shiprweck, if you read this, CALL ME!!!

Future tightlines ALL!!!


Last edited by Fish Tank : 01-07-2009 at 05:57 PM. Reason: crazy censor edits for P A L M
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

Thanks Fish Tank, I will try this asap. I have a little eye issue that I need to have taken care of tomorrow, but as soon as I can see what I am doing I will put this to good use.
T
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:53 PM
egcove1 egcove1 is offline
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

FT, This is going to take a bit to read and digest, but I commend you for taking the time and the effort to explain this. Much appreciated

Thanks!!!!!
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:32 PM
Fish Tank Fish Tank is offline
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

No problem Egcove.

Yeah, there's a bit there, but Ya' know, there's nothing worse, that kills me, than seeing a person in the field who's missing a small piece of the puzzle, who's really after it, and because you're off to the side you can see it, and maybe have been there, but feel out of place saying something for fear of stepping on toes, or coming across in the wrong way, but in the event I hit the mark with the words, this little excersize will open doors for many. Also Strippin' mentioned having assumed responsibilities that command his time away from the water, so maybe he can take a break from mowing the lawn, pick up just the reel and pretend he's casting into a striper blitz 80' in the wash. It's much more low key without the rod(especially if working on ye' old honey do list.)


I'm pursuing a channel that maybe I might be able to get access to a video operation and do a step by step and throw it up on you tube.

It's REALLY cool when you can take just the fly line and lay all of it out straight with just your hands. Then when the rod is worked into the equation, the timing of the hands are already set so it's just a matter of feeling the rod load.

Part II is putting the hips into it and wheeling the shoulders so as to drive into a stiff quartering head wind. Furthermore, this is for distance, but I use it all the time on the trout stream delivering streamers and nymphs, upcurrent, off the back hand when the current is flowing from rod hand side to line hand side, especially in tight quarters with a heavy canopy directly behind me. I should also note that I can't keep my line hand still anymore but that aids in not having to move the rod as much cause I load it with the line hand on the haul.

Part III is hauling the roll cast.

As I alluded to earlier in the thread, I'm going on 35 and will have been fly casting close to an average of 4days/week for a quarter of a century come this spring. So I SHOULD share; that old adage "to whom much is given..."!?!{also I'm the fly moderator and it's kinda' my job}

So hopefully I can get in front of the camera and address some sticking points and help one or two people out.

Have fun and never hesitate to ask away.

Tightlines!!!
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

some of the best fishing is down south, If you have time a long weekend in Florida is OK with me. to Fly to Tampa for less than $ 200 a room nothing fancy a couple of low budget meals, transportation. The motel that is was staying picked me up for free, Hey I just asked ! I'ts a good start to the new year. Just a reminder. If you carry your fly rod ask the airlines what the overhead bagage size is , My rod would not fit on Jet Blue's overhead so it went my luggage ( in a travel case ) it counts as another piece of luggage .
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:50 AM
Fish Tank Fish Tank is offline
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

I hear Ya' Hook about Florida, and the thought of targeting the fish species that are there are tempting, the only thing is that the heat there would KILL me.

I went to the Melbourne area to attend a wedding the week of Thanksgiving about 3 years ago. Thanksgiving morning I was outside the hotel to have a cigarette with just shorts on and no shirt, it was about 55degrees.{that's what you wear in Florida right!?!} Well the old ladies coming to the hotel for Thanksgiving brunch were wearing fur coats!!! That made me sweat.

You should of seen the looks I got from them. Mind you when we flew out of Newark the daytime hi with windchill was -0.

Last, I had a hard time dealing with the southern mentality. Once they heard our yankee voices, man things changed...

Nah, I'll ice fish, and wait for a balmy 40deg. nightime low in the sods thank-you.


To each their own.


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Old 01-08-2009, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

Have to admit, I'll have to read through this about 20 times to even get close to understanding what steps 4 and 5 are.

Mind you, I have a 100% record of assembling things inversely even when given a diagram (ok, forget the fact that the instructions were translated from chinese for said items).

Looks good in "print" though... I'll print the steps out, and try it step by step some time
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: Off Season Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by HookI View Post
some of the best fishing is down south, If you have time a long weekend in Florida is OK with me. to Fly to Tampa for less than $ 200 a room nothing fancy a couple of low budget meals, transportation. The motel that is was staying picked me up for free, Hey I just asked ! I'ts a good start to the new year. Just a reminder. If you carry your fly rod ask the airlines what the overhead bagage size is , My rod would not fit on Jet Blue's overhead so it went my luggage ( in a travel case ) it counts as another piece of luggage .
Hook, where do you head once you get to Tampa and what's hitting this time of year?
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