See that photo above? That is Greg Holt Casting. Nice eh? He is a proponent of the CM/CL theory of casting.
I have not personally jumped on board with the continuous motion, (cm) continuous load (cl) theories of Skagit Casting. I understand the point that is being made by the cm/cl disciples but I can’t really see the rod staying all that loaded or even bent throughout the cast although it’s not impossible to keep the rod in motion and pull off a sweet cast if you change the speed of the motion throughout the cats. I get that.
I still like to throw in a pause, or drift and I’m pretty stoked about how it works for me now, after trying for years, YEARS! to continuously keep my rod “loaded” throughout the cast. So if you’re thinking I’m not doing it right, keep in mind that I probably do it better than you. But I’m over it.
My contention is that the only way to keep the rod fully loaded throughout the entire stroke is to cast behind you…
I will say that if I am undergunned for chucking heavy sink tips and big weighted chickens on a rod too small for the task I can more or less keep the rod moving to keep the fly from sinking and sling the fly out there. But I prefer casting to slinging these days and don’t find myself fishing huge junk like that anymore unless I am really, really horny for a fish. Also, the guys that preach cm/cl are mostly good casters and they are not slinging either, they are making some beautiful casts.
William’s Famous Downstream poke (with a wrap?)
Most of the friends I fish with may not even have heard of the cm/cl style of casting. Their issues have more to do with fatigue and soreness if their casting isn’t going well, usually from hitting the forward cast too hard with the top hand without a nice big D loop.
Casting Skagit heads should be the easiest kind of casting there is, after all, the head lengths are 20′ to 24′ and even shorter and its very easy for a new caster make fishable casts pretty quick using Skagit gear. I believe the cm/cl theories can be confusing if you take them to much to heart. Then again, when helping a newbie I’ve heard myself say stuff like, “No, you kinda have to do it in more of a continuous motion! Or…they rear back with their rod almost in the horizontal 3 o’clock position and you tell them to “Poke a hole in the sky” with the rod tip, and they say, “That’s not how Ed Ward does it.” So what do I know?
There are some arden Skagit casters who are smart and very talented who disagree with me. One of them happens to be a good buddy and supporter of mine who is a really cool guy. He somewhat disagreed with my last post about Rod loading so I’m giving him the opportunity to share his views on cm/cl casting, featuring this awesome downstream perry poke cast in the video above and his Wrap cast video shown below.
“OUT AND AROUND” AS I SEE IT…By Greg Holt
You can view the constant application of tension in and out and around sustained anchor sweep and transition to delivery by imagining the bail of a small water-filled pail held by your upper rod hand, and all the tilting, twisting and steady pressure movements it would take to pull that pail from a dead stop at the lift-over in a sustained anchor double spey cast to the moment of delivery in the forward stroke ending with the pail facing the target as it finally leaves your hand. If you fail to “lead” the pail by tilting it towards it’s intended path around an arc with the caster in the center, or if you fail to maintain even pressure as you accelerate it around on its course, or if you pause (or “ease up” too much) during the transition to vertical (“pause” being an aspect correctly taught in linear casting) you risk the pail spilling its contents.
Note that within the transition from horizontal to vertical during an out and around sequence that the rod (the pail in this visualization) is drawn inward under tension towards the caster’s upper hand shoulder (by raising its angle above the water when viewed from behind) while the momentum of the line continues outward and rearward before finally aligning behind the rod tip opposite the intended direction of the cast. This is how the sustained-anchor D loop “inflates” and re-orients from more horizontal to more vertical while remaining under tension from the rod tip in an out and around set-up. (If you desire a V-loop, go ahead and pause (stop accelerating) and allow the rod and line to drift rear-ward but be prepared to re-tension the line if necessary).
Without a lessening of tension (a pause, some would say) the anchored fly line remains fully stretched during the transition to vertical, the line acting as a tethered weight orbiting around the rod tip (but in two dimensions) in a way similar to how it would behave just prior to release in an ordinary overhead cast using overhang, but in this case, not being allowed to catch up to the rod tip because the anchor holds it back!
Greg Holt, Wrap Cast
The flex profile of the rod, the elasticity of the line, the proportion of rear line mass, the length of the line and amount of overhang, the position of the anchor (out in front of/in towards the caster) and the ability of the caster to apply steady force will dictate whether a pause becomes necessary (lots of variables!). The goal (for me anyway) is to get as much fully tensioned line behind the rod tip as the anchor will allow in order to invite a smooth, long, and powerful forward stroke without any abruptness.
Much is made about “creep” (moving the rod forward without tension) and how it shortens the forward stroke. This threat is real enough, especially when the sweep and transition movements are more linear, but your hands are “smart” enough to tell you whether you are maintaining tension during an out and around move—and if you are maintaining tension, you are not creeping.
If you don’t feel the tension continuously (“heaviness”) when transitioning from horizontal to vertical before beginning the forward part of the stroke after an out and around maneuver something is amiss with your mechanics or tackle. Hint: you may not be moving the rod and line out and around (a.k.a. “cutting the corner”) you’ve applied way too much force and disrupted and moved the anchor out of position or caused it to lose its grip, or you’re trying to sustained-anchor cast with a broomstick!
And that is my opinion, based on my study and experience.
Greg Holt is a Fishy Guy…photo Steve Holt