The Casting Corner: Caution–Retirement May Cause Big Loops

By Rene J. Hesse

Painting, hammering fences, pressure washing, trimming hedges and taking care of my wife are my new main focus in life now that I have retired; oh, and fly fishing. As a carryover from my working days, I make a list for each day’s tasks. Then I check the lunar chart for the best fishing times, and try to maximize my day. When the best fishing time is in the early morning, my fly casting loops seem to be better than later in the day. As a matter of fact, they are a lot better. It took a few weeks of retirement to figure out what was causing my loops to be open and be poorly shaped. Can you guess what it was?

Most of my fishing is sitting in a canoe and using a 7 or 8 wt. rod. Would you agree with me that the fewer the ripples we send out while making a cast, the better our chances of catching a fish? With that in mind, the cast is done with nothing but the arm and maybe a slight twist of the upper torso. Don’t rock back and forth or waves are sent out. Using a haul really helps too. With that combination, why would my loops be worse later in the day than in the beginning?

Back when I was working, I did office work behind a desk, typing and writing. Now that I have retired, all of those, ‘I will fix that someday’, things are getting done, and all of it requires a lot of forearm and wrist use. At the office I may get writer’s cramp. At the house, my whole hand and forearm will cramp up from doing the chores mentioned earlier. With that being said, if I do my chores before I go fishing, it is painful to make a proper lift, back cast and stop when casting. My forearm is just too sore. I have used a compression band on my forearm, and it seems to change the focus point of the tension, and that helps. I have had to make a concerted effort to watch my back cast because my lack of strength going back will send the rod tip in a downward direction. Then to make the forward cast, it has to come all the way over like a rainbow. That is where the bad loop is forming. Watching the back cast and making sure it is going upward, letting the rod do more of the work and hauling, seem to be the trick to fixing my poor loops.

I have considered one other option to get my loops back in shape and that was going back to work. Guess which option I am choosing. Go fish!