Getting rid of wrinkles. - The
There is something I do every time I set up my
rod and before I ever get a fly wet. Its now part of my pre fishing ritual.
I can't remember who actually showed me this, but
whoever it was I will always be grateful to them. The following technique is a
very simple (in practice, but not necessarily to describe in writing) way of not
only getting rid of annoying rod tip bounce, you know, the thing that sends wrinkles
down the bottom leg of the fly line, but also in keeping the line in tension at
all times. It only takes minutes to learn but could well be the most important
thing you learn in fly casting!
There is a technique that we instructor dudes use
to read your loops. It's the basis of most of the analysis we do. It goes something
Tra-lala la. la, la, La La La!
la. la, la, La La La!
Do bity dooooo do-beee dooooo!
Tra la! Tra la! Tra
Dum be Dum!
Or in other words, The Minute Waltz.
not mad, I'm the conductor... but with a fly rod.
What we do is, we take
the fly rod in the casting hand and using a very loose, open grip and swish the
rod back and forth with about one and a half times the lenght of the rod of line
out of the tip. There are two objectives, apart from looking like a man waving
a fly rod. Firstly we want to keep the line in tension and also a slight
bend in the rod at all times. Secondly, we want to achieve a completely smooth
loop. No wrinkles whatsoever.
Now, the self conscious among you may want to find
somewhere away from passers by because for the next bit we are going to sing and
your average dog walker or young lady with a pram is bound to phone the men in
white coats if they hear you. We now sing the minute waltz as we are doing this.
It gives the perfect slow and easy timing to the action and can also, possibly
raise the spirits somewhat. Well, it is a good tune!
If you have
absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, here's a drawing:
Now, the wrinkles will be there for the vast majority
of you when you first begin and this exercise may even drive you to distraction!
But here are some things to watch for when you are doing this. By the way, it
may take you up to an hour to get this so don't worry if it doesn't happen immediately.
1) Too much power. We need to be a gentle as a lamb on cotton wool here.
No power at all. All we are doing is moving the fly rod back and forth. We are
not flicking, pushing, pulling or anything else. Just moving the rod back and
2)Too tight a grip. The hand should be open like you were holding
a fish. The rod handle just cupped in the hand.
3)Path of the rod tip.
The rod tip should dip slightly in the middle to produce a saucer shaped path.
Not too much as this will ruin the stroke.
4)Don't stop the rod at the
end of the stroke. Try and be fluid and graceful. Remember, you are conducting
In the beginning it will look something like this…
and then gradually improve until your loops are
clean and wrinkle free. You will then feel something quite remarkable! At the
end of the swoosh you will start to feel the rod doing its thing! Yep, the saying
let the rod do the work has just hit home. If you are doing it right the rod should
feel like it is being pulled through honey and the tip is always against a silky
Now that we have a perfectly smooth loop swishing
back and forth under the rod tip Its time to make it fly. at the end of the stroke
you want to ease in and ease out of a tiny squeeze on the cork handle. The kind
of squeeze that would tell you how ripe a grape is. Squish too hard and you'll
have grape juide everywhere. Just gentle squeeze, Squeeze, squeeze as you swish.
You should instandtly motice that the points on the swish get pointier. All you
are doing is squeezing the rod straight slightly quicker than it would by itself.
When this has all come together, slowly swish the
rod to a more overhead position over about 10 swished and admire your new loops!
Oh, and you can stop singing now :)
See you in the Forum
Carl Hutchinson is a qualified instructor
with the FFFE and FFFUSA and runs saltwater fly fishing Mullet with www.corporateflyfishing.com
He is a member of the board of the British fly Casting Club and has fished extensively
in many saltwater locations and specialises in saltwater fly fishing for Salmon