landing in a heap

Discussion of tenkara lines, tippets, etc...

landing in a heap

Postby mikeywill » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:41 pm

so i take out a 13', 5:5ish rod (a la a green ayu) this evening with 15' of 4.5, and 2' or so of 5x with a small white popper on the end. some cast were beautiful, but most were very short and landing in a heap. for the life of me i could not speed up or slow down my motion, nor ease off or muscle it to make the line go where i wanted. only by accident would it unroll out to its full potential. finally, i asked myself, "is this because the line was to heavy?" truth is i have no idea.

any help would be huge.

signed - sore neck and shoulders

p.s. on the upside, the 'gills didn't care and i landed 6.
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby Tenkara Guides » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:53 am

Without being able to see you cast, this will be sort of a guess as to why this is happening.
Here is a short list of things to look at:

1. Are you letting your rod tip drop too low on the forward cast? Don't let the rod become horizontal to the ground/water on the forward cast.

2. Are you giving enough of a pause on the back cast for the line to transition direction? Give it a count of 2 on the back cast to let the line unfurl. The longer the line, the longer the pause. Try counting like this, initiation of the back cast count one, count to two then begin the forward cast.

3. Loosen your grip on the rod. Hold the grip with the same tension you would hold an egg. Keeping a death grip on the rod just causes a lot of problems. Remember you are fishing not using it as a baseball bat. Loosen up on the grip.

4. Make the stops on both back cast and forward cast positive but not hard. If you stop or snap the wrist too hard on the casts, you initiate a wobble or out of sync flex in the rod and now one end of the rod is moving in the opposite direction as the other end.

5. Keep your elbow low, to your side, and relax your shoulder and elbow. Try to keep anatomical alignment of your casting hand and the top of your casting shoulder. This helps to keep the rod tip and line moving in a linear, aligned position. Using too much arm in the cast also causes all kinds of weirdness. If you feel muscle tension in bicep, deltoid, neck, you are using way too much arm,

6. Keep your eyes on the target. Look at where you want the fly to go and just point your casting hand index finger at the target. Don't get in the bad habit of trying to watch your line behind you on the back cast. Keep your eyes on the target.

7. Shorten your line to about 12 ft and about 3 ft of tippet practice lawn casting with the shorter line. Put a paper plate or something about that size on the ground and practice casting until only the fly lands on the target. Once you can consistently do that, add line length and practice some more. The 4.5 line you have is not too heavy for that rod. As lines get longer, they do become more difficult to keep off of the water. If you plan on fishing with lines any longer than 15 ft, a lighter line will be easier to keep off of the water. Heavier lines are easier to cast. Lighter lines require better technique. I have played with size 1.5 and 2 level lines in lengths of 30 ft. To cast super light lines like that it takes a lot of practice and the right rod to cast lines that light and long but once you get the rhythm down, it all works.

8. Take a deep breath, slow everything down and let the rod work hard for you, don't work the rod hard.

John
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Last edited by Tenkara Guides on Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby Karl Klavon » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:08 am

John gave excellent pointers above. Here are a few more things that I would like to add that you may also find helpful.

1. The line has a tendency to follow the motion of the tip of the rod. If the rod tip is moved in a strait line, the line will follow the same path.

2. If the rod tip moves in an arc or a circular path, the line will be driven into the ground behind you or the water or ground out in front of you if your casting stroke is too long. For T-rods, most of the casting action should be done with the wrist, and not the fore arm as in hammering a nail into a board as is done with Western fly rods.

3. Shorten the stroke up, being sure that your index finger is on top of the grip or the rod blank, which will make it impossible to break your wrist on the back cast, which drives the line into the ground behind you if you are breaking your wrist. The thumb on top of the grip almost insures that you will break or cock your wrist during the back cast for most people, until it is trained out of them, which is not a natural thing to have to do. The finger on top fixes that.

4. Stopping the rod motion at 10:00 on the forward cast, and not lowering the rod as the line drops to the ground or water, will propel the line to its full length out in front of you and keep most of the line off of the water.

5. The rod tip should be kept between 10:00 on the fore cast and 12:00 on the back cast.

6. Try doing some bow-and-arrow casts, where the rod is held parallel to the ground or water, the fly is pulled back behind the rod hand with your other hand until the tip of the rod tip is bent into a half circle, and then the fly is released, allowing the flexed rod to catapult the line and fly out to its fixed line length in front of you. A total line and tippet length a couple of feet shorter in length than your rod is long really help with doing this cast, but it is possible to do it with longer lines as well. This is a useful cast for casting under tree limbs and through foliage where you can not cast in a more normal overhead or side arm way. It will also teach you that it is the flexed rod that does the casting, and not your hand movement. The hand moves the rod in normal casting, the weight of the line loads the rod by putting a bend in it, and stopping the hand movement allows the loaded rod to cast the line forward or backward, just like in the bow-and-arrow cast.

Of course none of this is etched in stone. And as you become more proficient in your casting, you will find reasons to depart from these suggestions to meet some unusual fishing conditions and situations. But by that time you will have a much better handle on your casting proficiency and be able to adjust accordingly to the situations as they arise.
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby dwalker » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:21 pm

damonmichaels wrote:... but most were very short and landing in a heap. for the life of me i could not speed up or slow down my motion, nor ease off or muscle it to make the line go where i wanted. ....


Yeah, all what they said. Plus this.

The top three drawings on this page might be helpful.
http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~tenkara/page010.html

( fyi, I believe this is Eddie's web page. Thanks Eddie)

Notice 2 things about drawing 1 at the top, a) the cast is 12:00 to 10:00 b) the cast is basically on a plane of 45 degrees. Up+back and down+forward.
Keep that 45 degree image in your mind and your brain will help your arm cast the line to fit the image.

Look at the second image from the top, drawing 2. a) Notice the casting angle is 1:00 to 10:00. b) Arrow shows the the 45 degree plane is no longer followed, it is now more back and forward. The result is the line gets all squiggly and falls short.

Drawing 3 shows what happens when you do the right thing as shown in drawing 1, that is cast on a 45 degree angle, but do not pause long enough for the line to extend up and back before starting the down and forward cast.

Another thing to keep in mind is do not let your forward cast imitate an NHRA dragster. Do not spin and smoke the tires at the beginning. iow - with low power get the line moving forward before adding more power into the forward cast.

This drawing shows what happens when you put to much power into your forward cast, too early, at the beginning of the forward cast. The line gets this downward loop in the middle, instead of following the ideal dotted line, and the line just kind of looses energy and falls. Easy to describe, more difficult to develop the skill to gradually increase power after the line starts moving forward. Point is you can't muscle it.

http://www.ikufuan.com/image/image1/z_9.gif

Image

The parent page, titled Ideal Transfer.
http://www.ikufuan.com/tenkara/tuduki23.htm

D
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby mikeywill » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:00 pm

thank you john, karl, and d for all of your advice. i'll be heading out tomorrow afternoon and working on my casts, and i can already tell that your recommendation are going to set me on the right path.

-mike
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby dwalker » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:18 am

Here are a couple of cool animated images showing what your cast ought to look like.

I do not know who made this first one. You can see 2 small icons or soft buttons below some text beneath the image. Click on the right side icon and you can single step forward, frame by frame. A frame counter will appear between the 2 icons. Click the left icon to single step in reverse. Click the larger soft button below them to return to full automatic play.

http://homepage1.nifty.com/anraku/turi/tenkara/hurikomi/hurikomi.htm

This next one is from the web page of Hiromichi Fuji ( 冨士弘道 ). A well known tenkara master in Japan.

http://orange.zero.jp/tenkarakai.wing/kouza/kouza2.htm

This page shows still frames from the above video.
http://orange.zero.jp/tenkarakai.wing/kouza/furikomi.htm

His home page
http://orange.zero.jp/tenkarakai.wing/kouza/kouza0.htm

David
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby mikeywill » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:33 pm

again, many thanks to all for the sage advice. i went out both yesterday and today and worked on keeping it short and close to my body. it is obvious to me that i need to keep practicing. it makes it easy when the fish are biting.
popper gill bw.jpg
popper gill bw.jpg (41.6 KiB) Viewed 9726 times
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby dwalker » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:40 am

damonmichaels wrote:..... i went out both yesterday and today and worked on keeping it short and close to my body. it is obvious to me that i need to keep practicing.


Great to hear using a shorter line worked for you when actually fishing.

Yesterday I spotted a book on a shelf I had not looked at for a long time. Fly Fishing for Beginners by Chris Hansen. In Chapter 7 Fly casting he mentions something that he does with students who are having trouble learning to cast. Specifically learning to sense the rod loading during the back cast. He does what is called Overlining the rod. That is he puts a line on the rod that is a couple of sizes larger than the rod is designed for. With the heavier line on the rod it is easier to learn to sense the rod loading. Once he puts the heavier line on the rod the student usually has an "Oh, I get now" moment after only a few minutes of casting with the heavier line. He switches the rod and line back to the proper size and the student does much better.

You can essentially do the same thing with a tenkara by practicing with a longer or heavier line.

I am convinced what helped me to learn to cast better is practicing casting a line 6 meters long. Which essentially does the same thing as overlining a western fly rod. The longer line weights more so on my back cast I began to feel or sense the little tug of the rod loading. (You could probably do the same thing with a shorter but heavier line). Once I learned to sense this with a longer I could more easily sense it after going back to a shorter line.

Practicing casting a longer line also forces you to slow down your cast. If you don't get the timing right when trying to cast a line that is approaching being 1.6 or 1.8x the length of your rod to get anywhere close to making a decent cast you have to slow down and get the timing right and make a definite pause on the back cast.

After a little more time casting the line you are using now you might want to try practice casting a heavier line of the same length or practice casting with a longer line of the same weight and see what you learn. See how it goes after you switch back to casting a shorter line. Worked for me. ymmv ;)

I rarely fish with a 6 m line , really its 7 meters with 1 meter of tippet added. But I still practice once in a while with a longer line and usually find my casting of a shorter 4.5m line is better after practicing with a 6 m line. I did that for 30 minutes this after noon. I need the practice since not doing any fishing all winter. And I'm certain my cast of a 4 to 5 meter line be will better when I go fishing after this practice time.

fwiw,
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby Paul Arnold » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:24 pm

After having a chance to see the popper you are using, and speaking as a former Green Stripe Ayu owner who fishes for sunfish, you might try using something less wind-resistant on your Ayu. You are, in my opinion, pushing the envelope with that particular bug. The rubber legs, for instance, make the bug more difficult to cast with your Ayu.
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Re: landing in a heap

Postby Paul Arnold » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:44 am

Another idea would be to substitute a furled line for 4.5 fluorocarbon line you are using. Furled line (especially after it is wet) will propel a heavy or wind-resistant bug or fly better than what you are using.
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