A note from Mathias Lilleheim (@mathiaslilleheim):

“I posted a series of casts from a day of pike fishing, which eventually turned into filming as the pike lost their appeal after a couple of hours. My fishing buddy, @rustiefly, and I managed to catch a few small ones, although Vebjørn’s 4-kilogram catch surpassed mine by a significant margin.”

“As the day drew to a close, we were blessed with perfect lighting and an ideal backdrop for capturing the fly line (and fly) on film. We decided to use the yellow fly I had been using throughout the day for filming purposes. We attached a 4-gram tungsten bead at the front, making the 20 cm fly weigh a total of 8.5 grams. To add to the challenge, we included a vibro-tail, which made casting even more difficult for an inexperienced pike fly fisher and caster like myself.”

“Flies of this weight tend to induce a “tuck-effect” slack during the transitions between strokes, which, combined with gravity, causes the fly to dangerously approach the surface. One solution to this issue is to improve the timing of these transitions, thereby avoiding the aforementioned slack that results in the fly touching the water. I personally need to work on my timing, as I tend to be slightly late in my transitions. Others have been experimenting with a “Belgian” approach, employing a more horizontally oriented back cast that redirects the slack caused by the tuck-effect sideways rather than downward.”

Mathias’ General Fly Casting Approach

“A fly rod operates on the principle of being approximately 80% lever and 20% spring, which can vary depending on different rod and line combinations as well as casting styles. Consequently, loading the rod is no longer the primary factor. Instead, the distance the rod tip travels while maintaining contact with the line becomes crucial due to the lever-like nature of the rod.”

“The equation Force * Distance = Work done (line speed) illustrates that increasing the distance of the rod tip allows us to achieve necessary line speed with less force. That’s why I personally prefer using longer strokes compared to other fly fishers. By doing so, I can relax more and focus on presentation, as I always strive to exert the minimum force required to handle a fishing situation effectively.”

“The purpose of the rod bending is to facilitate straighter rod tip paths and produce more efficient loops. It is important to maintain a relaxed grip and employ patient wrist actions, avoiding stiffness in the wrists. This approach assists in initiating a fly casting stroke with an effective translation phase, wherein the rod is moved in the stroke direction with minimal changes in angle. During this phase, I aim to achieve contact with a straight line, enabling optimal effectiveness during the rotation phase. When concluding the rotation phase, I utilize my patient wrist movement to complete the rotation, but I avoid abruptly stopping the rod. Instead, I describe it as a “non-stop” or controlled deceleration of the rod’s speed, culminating in a gentle “dampening” at the very end, allowing the rod to naturally turn over. This technique can be observed in most of my videos, particularly those filmed from the side. In reality, a rod doesn’t necessarily need to be stopped at all; it will take care of this on its own. This can be observed in the videos where I showcase “MORPHED” loops, permitting the rod to drop low at the end of a stroke.”

“Regarding the double haul, its purpose is not to increase rod loading but to directly enhance line speed. Proper tracking is another crucial aspect, often challenging for many fly fishers. I have a “secret” exercise that proves to be effective in addressing this issue.”

“Ultimately, I always emphasize the development of a personal style, disregarding the notion that one must cast exactly like the “experts” to succeed. However, it is essential that your personal style aligns with the principles of fly casting physics rather than relying on outdated myths, as there are a few of those floating around. I have highlighted a few of the most significant physics-based approaches that one should consider when establishing a personal style within the text.”

Reel of the Week from Mathias Lilleheim. Lilleheim has been teaching fly casting for over forty years in Europe. Be sure to check out his Instagram @mathiaslilleheim.

Check out the articles below:

15 Year Old Maxine McCormick Is a Fly Casting Phenom

Kayla Lockhart’s Quick Fly Fishing Tips

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