I never thought much about leverage as it applies to casting a fly line until last week at the Somerset show. Joel and I had decided to check out a couple of the new rods being offered by Sage and Scott. While Joel, and several other people were casting, I was talking with Bert Darrow, the TGA president who is also a certified casting instructor. He was pointing out to me the way several of the casts we were watching (not Joel’s of course) were dying at the end of the cast. You know what I mean. The cast would roll out very nicely until the very end, and then the end of the line and leader would collapse in a bundle instead of splaying out fully and dropping gently to the floor.

Bert said to me, “Do you know why that is happening? It has to do with leverage.” Well he must have noted the blank expression on my face which meant, I didn’t have a clue.

He proceeded to explain how the length of the flyrod acts as a speed multiplier. If your hand is moving at say, 4 miles per hour(mph), as you cast your fly, the tip of a nine foot rod is moving at approximately nine times 4 mph or 36 mph. This is what causes the line speed necessary to cast the line 80 or 90 feet. The problem occurs when a novice caster like me, after one or two false casts, try to put some extra energy into that last forward cast and over power the rod. This causes it to over flex. The nine foot rod is now effectively a 7 or 8 foot rod, and the line speed is only 28 or 32 mph. The result is not enough line speed (energy) to splay the line out completely.

Keep ‘em tight,

Bill Stio
(AKA flyfisher)