[Casting Log] PULD & wind.

Back on the lawn yesterday, there’s a lot going on castingwise these days, so I decided to start a casting log, if only to keep actual track of what I’m doing.

I’ll probably never really get past this distance mental illness that compells me, when I’ve got a fly rod in my hand, to try and see how far I can punch the line. I may resist, but sooner or later I’ll be zinging all out. Still, I’ve made some progress: in a 60mn session, I kept the madness well under 10′, which left me plenty of time for doing actual training.

I was back to basics, and doing Pick Up and Lay Downs, focussing on loop shape, accuracy, and changing directions. I was inspired to learn the PULD again by that great piece of teaching (and loosy piece of filming (man, get a tripod!)) by Peter Hayes:

What made things interesting was constant guts of wind, as I was using a 4wt. I like to train with a light line in the wind, because the wind is an unforgiving sonnovabitch. If you don’t get a good loop at good speed, your cast goes poopshaped. And not in a good way.

It’s also good for staying focussed on trajectory. Marc once said to me that every training cast should have a target, and daisies patches make for great rises. Aiming in the wind is a good drill, and most certainly something very useful when you fish. If you’ve got some space around you, just turning around to change the wind’s direction will put you in a whole new setting and keep things interesting. You’ll have to do backhand PULDs for instance.

After an hour or so, the kids came in and they had invented a new casting game which was great fun. More on that later.

Rudd test, the roll and the tail

Tuesday I got to see some water with actual fishs in it. It was cloudy, and rather windy with pretty decent gusts around 40kph. There were lots and lots of stuff growing on the banks of the pond, so the practical thing to do would have been to bring the 6wt.

But I’m not a practical man.

As you know, I’ve just built a tadpole. ‘So’, I thought, ‘today will be the day where it will become a proper rod’. Which means: where it will start to smell like fish. Casting a 5’10” 3wt glass rod among the bushes in the wind made up  for an interesting training session. It turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought (even if sometimes it was just impossible to cope with the conditions, I had to resort to the old “light a smoke and let go” trick.) I lost flies to bushes, I tangled line, I filled a boot with water, but man, I fished, and I fished glass.


And I caught a handful of those lil’ guys, which I love because they are really into surface feeding and they won’t give you more than the blink of an eye before spitting the fly, so you need to put your nerves on overdrive.

But let’s talk casting now, I’ll go back to the tadpole in a later post.

I realized something interesting, castingwise. In the whole session, I tailed exactly once. As you may know, I had a serious tailing loops habit, and I really struggled to understand where it came from. And now the tails were gone (or at least quite fewer), and that was a bit of a surprise. Especially because last year I did not train that much. So I wondered where the progress came from. And what I found is refreshingly odd: indoors roll casting. You see, the only serious training I did with a rod since a long time was roll casting in my flat with the MPR. I suck at roll casting, and it’s not an option, so I concentrated on it (plus, you’re less prone to domestic disasters when roll casting at hoome than when you cast overhead, unless you’ve got a really big home.) Anyway, a couple thousand casts later, I have made some progress on this front. Apart from what I could call (probably inadequately, but Marc will hopefully correct me) anchor management, my problem with roll cast was power application. So I concentrated on late rotation and smooth acceleration.

The problem when you carry line in the air is that all the components of the cast must be dealt with more or less simultaneously: timing, power, casting arc, stop, etc…. You can simplify things with the PULD, but it’s with the roll cast that you can really focus on power application. Especially indoors, since you don’t have to deal with current. So, here’s my casting tip of the day: roll casting is good for tails. And here’s some fantastic footage with Carl McNeil explaining the roll, how to do it and why it’s important.


Ros knew very well that streetfishing was not only a matter of fashion statements, even if the way you look does matter when you fish in Camden. In this particular occasion, the fish — a good mackerel — was in the sewage system and getting anywhere near the open hole would have certainly spooked the hell out of the fish. So it was quite literally a matter of putting her fly on a dining plate at 15 yards.


After the brilliant catch, Ros congratulated herself on two accounts: first, her fishing outfit was a perfect match for the beautiful colors of the fish; second, she had been most inspired to book those lessons for accuracy casting.

‘Now’, she wondered, ‘maybe that 12′ 10wt is indeed a tad too much for mackerel. I should get one of those little Ritz rods, maybe I could get one with a grip matching my bag…’

Glass, again

This glass thing is strangely insistent.

Very cool loops here, and a rather random video edit, especially without any proper end. But what do I know? I hear that even for fly casting, the stop is quite an overrated notion.

Speaking of glass, the tadpole blanks should be somewhere along the Morbihan’s Gulf anytime soon. With these I’m gonna build me a fun little glass thing. And, modulo a couple of stylistic adjustments, what I’m going to do when it gets warm again is that:

Of course tadpoles are no Kabutos, they aren’t bright yellow with cool white spigots for instance. But I don’t care. They’re cheap, and very chic. Or vice versa.

A first step

I’m in London. Today, I’m taking a first lesson with a couple of great great guys from the Sexyloop wild bunch. We’re there thank to Mark Surtees, who organized this meeting to raise some funds for Knut Syrstad. The preliminary rounds of beer went reasonably well, Mark, Steve, Mike and Vince being all jolly good fellows indeed. One hour from now I’m hitting the lawn, and for the first time in my fly casting life, someone will really know what he’s doing.

Actually, I will quite possibly be the only one not knowing what he’s doing. I expect to learn a lot, although no one seems to know what. After the fourth round I’ve been assured that most of my casting faults were to be solved in 5 mins top.

Now that would be grand. I’m more excited than Blair Waldorf on Cotillion’s day.

Flesh of my flesh

This is Noam, my elder.

I told him: focus on your stop, and let the loop happen. Then I returned to the big boys’ business (there was a shootout going on). Happily, someone with her priorities better sorted than mine took a couple of pictures (let Isabelle be wholeheartedly thanked here).

He was doing really good on his own, boy I’m so proud.

I’m building a sweet 6’6 3wt that will be a better match to his arm.

News from the bench

A sneak peek from my next build: a sweet sweet 9’/4wt, on a MHX blank. Her big sister, the 9’/6wt is my favorite toy on the lawn, and quite the fishing tool also, but in most situations I find myself involved in, a 4wt would be better suited.

I’m prepared to fall in love with this joy stick. Here’s a sneak peek of the build in progress

the babe

Unrelatedly, I’ve been training on the lawn this week. Three 2h sessions. My leader was none too happy about it.

Am I trying too hard?

Actually, I think I invented a new kind of wind knot. It’s cute in a way.

About yarn

The stuff has some cool and hardly foreseeable uses. 1: the infamous fly casting practice fly. 2: the line on an indoors fly casting practice rig.

The following is Tim Rajeff trying hard to make you want one. The bastard got me. I’m not buying one, but I’m sure as hell will build one. Except mine will be cooler, with a cork grip.

Since we’re talking casting…

I’m back on the lawn, harder than ever. It’s great, except my casting sucks as usual. I’m currently incredibly regular at producing tailing loops that fuck up my forward cast at around 19-20m. Backcast looks much better usually, no idea why.

It didn’t prevent me to win my club’s casting event last sunday. I wouldn’t have boasted much, but since Julien already spilled the beans in the coms… It was a little weird: you could use whatever you wanted (nobody uses a double handed anyway), but you just had 3 casts. I was using my usual 6 wt (F906-MHX) rigged with the excellent Barrio GT140. Long story short, I won with a whooping 26.5m cast.

I guess it says more about the lack of real competition than my virtues as a caster, but I won’t deny it was flattering.

Also, it was good to demonstrate to a bunch of friends waving 10′ 8wt cannons that really, really, it’s the arm that does the job. The lawn session this morning tells me I would have ranked 2nd with a Mallard 4wt, a truly marvelous finesse line I will review here as soon as I’ve caught a couple of fish on it.

So really, it’s the arm. See you on the lawn.

Dirt cheap

that’s what you’ll pay for absolutely first class casting tuition if you go shopping for that in Sexyloop’s Auctions. It’s for a cause and here’s what you can do to help. Helping is good for your karma, and my honey bunny — who holds a doctorate in Indian Studies — assures me that karma enhancement translates immediately in tighter loops. A known fact at least since the ninth century. 

Casting gods. You want to be like them.

The best guys in the world commit to works their ass off in order to tidy up a little our crappy casting. It’s too good to be true, and it’s happening there, there, there, there, there, and there. That’s right, no less than six different opportunities to take the next step on the soteriological stair that leads to the casting gods.