One Key to a Good Front Cast Is a Better Back Cast
As I started casting to targets, I began to notice an occasional dip in the fly leg of my front loop. It was a precursor to a tailing loop. If the dip was bigger or the loop was tighter, the loop would tail. No matter how slowly or carefully I started my front cast, I could not get rid of it. It also didn’t make sense that distance casters could exert tremendous forces during a cast – forces far greater than I was using – without causing a concave rod tip path.
I asked Chris Korich what was causing my tailing tendency.
His answer? Chris told me to work on my back cast. It was another WTF-moment. How could a better back cast help me with my front cast? Like many casters, I was focused on the aspects of the cast that I could see. I was ignoring my back cast.
When I started video recording my loop in the back, I discovered that the culprit was slack. If slack was present in the back cast, when I started to come forward, the entire line wasn’t coming forward until the slack was removed. At the moment that the slack was pulled out of the line, the rod tip would collapse because the line suddenly became taut AND I was now accelerating the rod more forcibly – despite having started the front cast gradually. The amount of slack present in the back cast affected how much the tip buckled which, in turn, dictated to what extent the loop would tail or start to tail.
Slack can enter the back cast in a number of ways. Here are two common sources:
- An open loop. As parts of the line are accelerated behind the caster at different trajectories, the line falls out of the sky at different rates as it tries to straighten out.
- Insufficient dampening. As the rod counterflexes after the loop is delivered, it is important to keep the rod tip still as possible. Otherwise, the counterflexing and subsequent flexing of the rod tip introduce waves into the loop, much like a serpent cast that intentionally produces slack in the laydown for a longer dead drift.
Slack in the back cast can be a cause of
tailing loops or tailing tendencies in the front.
As my back cast improved, the line straightened out more quickly. Consequently, the forward cast needed to start earlier; otherwise, waiting too long to start the front cast also created slack. Slack developed as the line fell towards the ground, as the line loaded and unloaded the rod, and as the line contracted behind me after being stretched during the back cast. This slack also made my tip collapse. Slack is slack, regardless of how it is caused. So, remember. As your loops become tighter, your casting tempo must increase.
“As your loops become tighter,
your casting tempo must increase.”
If you can launch a back cast with a tight loop and no slack, the line will be taut from the moment that you begin the front cast – if your timing is right. This is one reason why distance casters can exert huge forces without causing the tip to collapse. This is also why many argue that an awesome back cast is the secret to a great front cast. I think that many other things need to happen to form a tight loop in the front, but eliminating slack will improve anyone’s front cast – even yours.