Casting aspersions

Casting aspersions

Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 28 November 2017

I did not fish over our holiday weekend. I usually stay home on holidays to avoid the crowds, even though I seldom find other anglers where I fish. The “outdoor enthusiasts” who flock to the sun and fresh air primarily on holiday weekends, I prefer to avoid, but mostly I hate the traffic. My usual drive is along the same route as those partiers heading for the Florida Keys, and the traffic congestion, especially on the drive home is a real buzz kill.

Luckily, my backyard is a more natural environment than most seek for their weekend entertainment. There are no jet skis, or sailboats, or offshore sport-fishing yachts, and unfortunately no bathing beauties (lately), but I find it a welcome oasis from the above. And, my backyard affords me direct access to a wonderful casting field. So, what I did manage to do this past weekend was cast quite a bit.

For over a year now I have had the weird desire of casting a GT125 to the backing knot. At first, it was just a goal to see how close I could come, but as time went along, and I got closer and closer, it became a real possibility. But then I hit a plateau. I got close, but as they say, “No cigar!” I peaked with about 4 to 5 feet of slack between the reel and the stripper guide. And man, I really wanted to see that knot in the stripper guide. I could, as I once saw Lefty do, raise the rod high at the end of the cast, with the line already on the ground, and get the knot to slip up into the guides. But, that made it worse. If I could get that close, why could I not do it for real?

 

Thinking that maybe I was getting stale, and some other casting practice might help, I switched to a double taper line to work on my carry. I suspect, no I actually know, that my back cast can improve, and maybe if I make some progress there, I may get that knot to move.

 

I started with the DT6 on an old slow Orvis HLS that I simply love to cast. It gives me time to feel what is happening, and time to change things and see the result. It is my experimental rod, so to speak. So, guess what, I could carry almost the whole line (80’), but I had about 4 to 5 feet of slack that I could not conquer, again. Arrgh! The truth is, that old slow rod is not a distance tool - casting harder or faster is going the wrong way.

 

So, taking a hint from some discussions here on SL, I thought maybe a faster rod, and maybe one labeled for a heavier line might help. So, I got out a modern 8wt of modest price that I use for my casting lessons. Sure enough, I could carry more line. I had to work harder, and cast faster, and the feel became crap, but my carry improved.

 

So… what if I tried an even higher labeled rod? Like someone I heard uses a 10wt for casting a 5 wt line? So, I went through a few other rods, each one labeled higher, but not all necessarily faster. The results were pretty obvious I guess: higher numbers and faster meant I could more easily carry the entire 80’. I ended with a 10wt TFO BVK, a rod I absolutely hate, but it is very light and fast for a 10 and I have a particular use for it.

 

Somehow, even though I got to where I could carry the entire line, doing it with up to a 10wt rod when the line was rated 6 did not feel like much of an accomplishment. And that got me thinking about the whole 5 wt distance competition thing. If the lines are 5 wts in the first 30’ per specs, but the heads are over 60’, and the rods can be anything, even a 10wt, what is the whole idea, really?

 

And then it hit me! I’ve been going about my knot fetish thing the wrong way! I could just cut 6 feet off that GT125 and watch that knot sing through the guides!

 

I jest!