Saltwater Fly Fishing In The United Kingdom

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 Getting rid of wrinkles. - The Minute Waltz

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 like this:

Tra-lala la. la, la, La La La!
Tra-lala la. la, la, La La La!
Do bity dooooo do-beee dooooo!
Tra la! Tra la! Tra La!
Dum be Dum!

Or in other words, The Minute Waltz.
No, I'm 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:

No Wrinkles

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 forth.

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 and orchestra.

In the beginning it will look something like this…

Wrinkles

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 smooth resistance.

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!

Be Smooth

Oh, and you can stop singing now :)

See you in the Forum

Tight loops,

Carl

Carl Hutchinson

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 in Canada.

 

 

 
 


 


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