Antietam Fly Anglers Casting Club featuring

FFF Certified Casting Instructor Robert Davis

Fly Caster's Rendezvous - April 2, 2016

This event is an Antietam Fly Angler's (Charter Club of the IFFF) event sponsored, in part, by the Chesapeake Council of the IFFF
This is the first iteration of the "flier" for this year's Fly Caster's Rendezvous (attached).
Please consider attending the event, teaching or participating in the event and encouraging others to do so.
This year's Rendezvous will include a certified Kayak instructor (American Canoe Association)
for those who would like to learn to be facile with this style of fly-fishing.
Please pass this around at Shows, Meetings and Outings so that the public can participate.
Please call me with questions: 301 800 2270

Bob Abraham Casting Club
International Federation of Fly Fishers
Seventh Annual Fly Casterís Rendezvous
9:00 AM TO 4:30 PM, 2 April 2016
River-bottom Park, Williamsport, Maryland
Beginners Learn to fly cast - equipment provided
Experienced Casters Improve your Fly Casting
Spey Casting Instruction
Fly Fishing from a Kayak: On-water instruction with an American Canoe Association Certified Instructor.
Pre-registration required. Contact
Dress for the Weather - Outdoors, rain or shine.
Lunch Available

Progress Document
Skills Document
Bob Stouffer
Training Tip for November, 2011

Recent Practice Review

In October, the Bob Abraham Casting Club worked on straight-line presentation to targets at various distances - generally progressing in ten foot increments from thirty to seventy feet. We laid-out lanes with mason's twine and placed the targets in the center of the lanes. The first week, the lanes were four feet wide. The second week, the lanes were three feet wide. Last week, the lanes were two feet wide. This week we are all looking forward, with great joy and anticipation, to eighteen inch wide lanes. The object is to hit a target and maintain all of the line within the lane. Begin at the closest target and work out to the farther targets. Encourage yourself to extend the distances beyond your comfort zone.

The wind was strong on the first week and the lanes were set at angles to each other to practice wind casting strategies.. With two lanes set at 90 degress from each other and practicing from both ends of each lane, you can work four separate wind exposures. Success is measured by the layout of the fly-line within the lane and the closeness of the fly to the target. During the practice, work on increasing line-speed while maintaining good rod tip tracking. A well-tracked, fast, tight loop is the key to success in this practice. The skills will extend to sight-fishing and fishing in wind.

The constraints of lateral boundaries and varying target distances together with the variables of line-speed, loop shape, windage and trajectory combine to challenge even the finest casters. Use this practice for self-improvement and self-evaluation. Re-rolling the eight-hundred feet of mason's twine is great reeling practice.

Bob Stouffer, FFF CCI

AFA "Bob Abraham" Casting Club

The casting club meets from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. on selected Saturday mornings at the Williamsport River Bottom Park
We share casting ideas and learn techniques to improve our casting. Please join us, bring you favorite outfit or you can use one of ours. A few of us normally meet for breakfast at the Hagerstown Farmer's Market beforehand at 7:45 a.m. Please join us or suggest this to your friends who are interested in our sport. For further information, please contact Bob at (301) 739-3336 or at . We will meet each weekend in February, weather and conditions permitting. As of now, the field is covered with snow. Please call Bob Davis to confirm the meeting.

The AFA Casting Club helps participants to improve their casting skills. It is an outdoor activity for practice, education and development. Currently, there is an FFF Certified Casting Instructor and other members who share the duties of presenting a skill and give encouragement and tips to the members. It is intended that the members who attend regularly will gain mastery of casting fundamentals and the ability to teach others.

Each session begins with some aspect of the Fundamental Casting Stroke. We then move to the skill for the day. The sessions usually last an hour and a half.

You will need a basic training rod, reel, floating line and 7 1/2 foot 2x leader. If you do not own fly casting equipment, email Bob Stouffer and he will scrounge one up to use on a temporary basis.

Training Tip
Casting Practice

Despite the amount of time spent in developing and outlining topics for discussion and practice at a regular meeting of the Bob Abraham Casting Club, the sessions often degenerate into play. OK, I like that too. One of the favorite things is to see how far you can throw a piece of yarn. None of us in the club are bona fide distance gurus. It must be said, though, that progress in distance casting has been made by many of the club members. To what end? The answer is, clearly, that fishing conditions require us to perform accurately and with delicacy in wind. If you can cast well at thirty feet and the heavens dictate strong winds, you may find yourself short. Planning a trip to the Bahamas? Fifty feet will be the normal cast to bonefish on the flats. Add the wind from all quarters. Will your casts get there softly with the accuracy that is demanded? Remembering that a day's guided fishing can cost some money, every hour of improvement on grass near home will pay dividends. Stripers? 50 feet with heavy flies. Tarpon? 75 feet. Single large bonefish or permit? Accuracy and delicacy required at great distances. Wading trout on a Western river such as the Rio Grande? Again – often out of reach. Learn to cast some distance. It is fun, practical and beneficial.

The following are things to learn.

Distance Skills

1. Develop a tight loop (2 feet or less between parallel rod-leg and the fly-leg) at 40 feet, then extend the amount of line held outside the tip in false casting while maintaining the loop size and shape. This is accomplished in one foot measured increments.

2. Tracking. Present a straight-line delivery by being self-critical and learning to track the rod throughout the back-cast and delivery strokes in accordance with the 180 degree principle.

3. Learn "Lay-back". After the stop of the back-cast stroke, increase the available arc for the delivery stroke by rotating the wrist in the direction of the unrolling back-cast.

4. Learn "Drift". After the stop of the back-cast stroke, increase the arc and stroke length available for the subsequent delivery stroke by reaching in the direction of the back-cast stroke while maintaining rod tracking.

5. Learn "Follow-through". After the stop of the front-stroke false cast, reach forward in the direction of the un-rolling loop to increase the available arc and stroke length for the subsequent back-cast stroke.

6. Learn to increase the length of the casting stroke.

7. Learn to increase the arc within the casting stroke.

8. Increase line speed. Learn to apply more power smoothly during the casting stroke. Begin each stroke at zero mph and smoothly accelerate to X mph. The first back-cast at normal speed, the first front false cast somewhat faster, the second back-cast faster yet, and the delivery cast fast and smooth. A crescendo.

9. Learn to "double-haul" smoothly on each stroke without harming the loop. Combine, through practice, the application of the double-haul to assist with higher line speed. Haul in "Mirror-Image" – as the rod hand increases speed during the stoke, increase the speed of the haul in the direction opposite the unrolling loop. Symmetrical movement. As the rod hand rotates quickly (snap), rotate the hauling wrist (snap).

10. Learn to stop the rod and "shoot line". Think "Stopshoot".

11. Consciously modify the trajectory to suit the distance cast. In false casting, gravity pulls down on the line. Make your trajectory higher in the direction of the unrolling loop for both the front false-cast and back false-cast to give the increasing line length time to unroll almost completely before beginning the next stroke.

12. Get your body into the cast. Open the stance to accommodate for a more powerful stroke and add momentum in both the back and forward cast by beginning the stroke with a body movement in the direction of the cast. Use your body as a "block" for the delivery of each stroke.

13. Straight line path of the hand in the direction and attitude of the proposed line-launch in the desired trajectory.

14. Learn to "delay the rotation" of the hand until the very last instant of the stroke.

15. Learn to shoot some line on each stroke.

16. Learn to "drag". The movement of the rod in the plane of the proposed trajectory without rotation (loading) of the rod (think throwing a javelin) preparatory to the delayed rotation.

17. Learn to "slide-load" by moving the rod, unloaded, in the direction of the next cast while the line is still shooting from the previous cast; i.e. starting forward while the back-cast is still pulling line through the guides.

18. Learn to observe the back-cast loop and to deliver after a good back-cast.

19. Learn to deliver the fly on the back-cast (Barnegat Bay Cast).

20. Learn to "triple-haul", which is the execution of a double-haul with the addition of a single-haul during the flight of the presentation cast to speed the loop for a good turnover.

21. Learn to "single-haul" (no "give-back") on either the back–cast or presentation cast.

22. Learn to be patient and incremental in your approach to training for distance. Work on one thing at a time. Warm your muscles by practicing skills at short to medium distances prior to giving your all on distance. If you are having trouble with a particular skill, strip some line back and put it on the reel and begin again at a distance where you see good loops. Add a foot at a time.

A note about lines for distance casting. You do not have to purchase a special line for distance casting. My favorite lines are weight-forward lines with longer heads so that I can turn-over a roll cast or switch-cast at distance and which allow you to false-cast more line for distance casting. Most companies make these lines. "Easy-mend" and "Steelhead" "Triangle" and "Delta" and "Long-belly" lines are well-rounded lines that work well in fishing situations requiring casts of fifty feet or more.

A note about rods for distance casting. Most rods with a moderate to moderately fast action and with good damping will serve you well. Go to a fly shop and cast the rods without thinking much about the label. Make sure that they have the ability to carry some line. Use the link to see the 5 wt Fly Rod Review.

Bob Stouffer

Training Tip

February Casting Practice

Review of Two of the Icons of Fly Casting - Contrast and Contradiction

There are many ways to do most things. Some of us drive with hands at 10 and 2, some of us stick our elbow out the window and drive with one hand and some of us drive with the knee while texting and drinking coffee. If we are walking by the road looking for our hubcap, the drivers that pass by at 70 mph seem just a blur. Only the trained eye of an astute State Police Officer knows which to arrest.

On Saturday, 22 January 2011 at the Somerset N. J. Fly Fishing Show, Lefty Kreh presented casting at 10:00 AM and Gary Borger presented at 12:00, both to large crowds. The casual observer might describe the contrast between the two as personality differences - the straight-faced wry educated humor of Gary Borger and the crazed grin and bright-eyed Baltimore style bravado of Lefty Kreh. Since they were both casting fly lines, they appeared to the casual observer to be doing the same thing. They were not.

Are there significant differences in their methods? Do you fit into one of the two camps - the elbow raiser or the elbow on a shelf?

Lefty's style is characterized by considerable body movement to get the rod moving, coupled with an angle changing pulling-in of the elbow at the beginning of the back-cast and the pushing back of the elbow after the rod crosses his center-line and continuing the back-cast (keeping the elbow on the shelf) to a speed-up-and-stop. His body movement is much like the "redirection" in Spey casting and the straight-line-path of the rod tip is maintained by a thirty to forty-five degree change in the angle of the upper arm to the torso, using the back and shoulder muscles to track the rod tip. If the angle of the upper arm did not change in relationship to the vertical axis of the body, the rod tip would swing in a semi-circle with the swing of the body and the rod-tip would direct the line in a horizontal wide swinging loop. He does not use wrist movement except for his very longest casts (Presenting the Fly by Lefty Kreh). Gary uses his shoulder and back muscles to initiate the cast and his shoulders remain square to the target, whatever the range of the cast. Gary's initiation of the back-cast is a vertical lift of the reel and a rotation of the rod-butt into a high back-cast motion that sends the fly-line higher than the horizontal (but not "up"). All of the joints, including the wrist and finger joints, come into play.

This motion, like Lefty's, requires a change in angle between the upper arm and the axis of the body. Since Gary is not crossing the rod past the axis of the body, the angle change must take place wholly in front of his body and increases as the reel rises until the angle it reaches approximately ninety degrees at the stop.

Lefty's style allows you to peek at the back-cast without much turn of the head because of the stance and body rotation. Gary's motion, shoulders remaining square to the target, requires an over-the-shoulder head turn to follow the back-cast. In both styles the thumb remains on-plane, behind the rod. Both presenters state that the line goes where the rod tip stops (or "speeds-up and stops"). Both presenters say to begin the cast slowly. Both throw curves by moving the rod tip off plane during the casting stroke. Instead of drift, Gary uses "lay-back" (he keeps his hand in the same spot after the stop and then rotates the rod butt without drifting which increases the arc). Lefty does not use drift or lay-back, he strokes as far as needed to a firm stop with a slight thrusting motion along the axis of the rod. Lefty throws "bullets" (according to Tom Scally). His line, for the most part, is horizontal with tight loops. Gary throws "paper clips" (parallel rod and fly legs). Lefty's cast requires a specific stance where that the rod hand foot is to the rear and the line hand foot is forward. The foot position in Gary's cast may be any balanced position.

These two presenters, thinkers and teachers represent very different methods of presenting the fly. Many of us have taken part in the contrast between and contradictions presented by these two visually dissimilar styles by planting ourselves in one camp or the other without first learning the best parts of both. The lesson I learned by observing these two icons of our sport is that I must give both of these styles their due. After learning and studying both ways of casting, I must then do something creative and allow my own style to emerge without asking permission of either of the protagonists.

Bob Stouffer

Training Tip

January Casting Practice

January is the more important month than May for casting practice. Whatever you have gained in skill this year requires repetition in order for the skill to be used on the stream this spring. For me, since I am not a natural athlete, I must preserve the skills by constant practice. At least once a week to maintain the skill and more than once a week to improve the skills. It is not like canning fruit or bottling wine . . . the skills do not improve on the shelf or in the cellar.

That being said, there are other opportunities to learn, even on the harshest of days when the fly rod will not be held. The following are some training suggestions to be found on the internet and library:

1. Somerset New Jersey Fly Fishing Show, 21-23 January, 2011. The show is filled with opportunity including hands-on and demonstrations. Look at the show on-line by googling Somerset Fly Fishing Show. There is a listing of many classes and lectures. Gary Borger is presenting a group lesson on Friday afternoon. He is one of the very best teachers (all levels) and my first teacher. Lefty, Bob Clouser Steve Rajeff, Cathy Beck, Jim Valle and others will be presenting fly casting. Some of these cost money, most do not.

2. On-line videos of fly casting techniques. Try googling these: Technique Lancia Totale (five weight fast rod, 3 weight line - thrust cast, Italian origin). 170 fly cast (distance back-cast using at least 170 degrees of arc). Tim Rajeff - He has short videos of techniques, but you can branch-out by looking at the other video offerings on casting. Some of the videos are little gems.

3. If you do not currently have a book, consider borrowing or purchasing one of Joan Wulff's books as a primer. Look for interlibrary loan for Gary Borger's Presentation or Jason Borger's paperback Nature of Flycasting, a Modular Technique. Get one of Lefty Kreh's books; Presenting the Fly or Casting with Lefty or Solving Fly Casting Problems, etc. etc. etc. or Joan Wulff's Fly Casting Techniques or Fly Casting Accuracy, or George Roberts Jr.'s Distance Casting. Many of these books can be borrowed from public or other libraries. Then read it critically, even the bibliography.

Add these exercises to the indoor casting opportunities (fly-o) or pantomime (in front of a mirror while brushing teeth or along a wall for tracking while waiting for water to boil) and outdoor practice in barely tolerable weather. They will help you through the season in good form.

Bob Stouffer

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