The Jump Roll Cast
Learning the Jump roll cast
When learning to spey cast the jump roll cast forms a natural progression from the standard Roll cast. During the standard or static roll cast, we raise the rod and sweep slowly backwards and upwards into the casting position. This is all done at a fairly slow pace; however, during the jump roll cast the movements are much more dependent on timing and rhythm in order to jump the line into position to form the anchor and D loop. It is essential that we do not tug or pull, but use the flexible nature and action of the rod to reposition the line effectively, using a bottom hand dominated technique. Time invested at this stage in learning how to correctly change the angle of the rod while forming the D loop and also to stop and block the rod in the last margin of the forward delivery, will be time very well spent.
Jump Roll cast-Stance
As with the other casts, I will place my leading foot forward on the same side I am casting from. i.e. right hand uppermost on the rod and right foot forward with my feet placed slightly wider than during the static Roll cast. The jump roll cast is very reliant on fluent movements as are many of the Spey casts, much of which can be gained from correct use of the body. During the sweep and formation of the D loop, our body weight is transferred onto our back foot and then progressively onto our forward foot during acceleration and delivery. The use of our body significantly aids smooth transition, it can also assist in maximising the range of movement available while maintaining a compact casting stroke if required.
Forming the D loop (60ft line)
There are many variations in D loop formation ranging from a fast shallow dynamic sweep to a slower steeper climbing incline to form a larger D loop. Ultimately it is the path and speed and trajectory of the rod tip that will influence the shape of the D loop. This jump roll cast, like many others will start with the rod tip low to the water, the rod will then be raised sufficiently to get the line moving and eliminate any slack in the system. There are a number of factors that will dictate how high we lift the rod, such as, what length of line we are trying to move or the shape and formation of D loop we desire, but around 45 to 50 degrees will often be adequate. As the rod and line respond to the lifting movement and slack has been removed, we will see a small V shape forming behind the line as it is pealed from the water’s surface. This is a good visual indication that we are providing smooth acceleration and also when to apply the appropriate amount of controlled speed required to jump the line and leader into position effectively. The rod will continue to accelerate and blend into the desired incline to form the D loop. At this stage the hands and arms will be repositioning into the key casting position as the line momentarily touches down into position and the anchor is formed.
The angle of the rod during the stages of the sweep is important. If the rod is positioned at too low an angle then it will be difficult to move and peel the line from the water’s surface correctly. If the rod is positioned too high then there is a possibility that the rod tip will travel in a convex movement rather than a gradual or straight incline. This would then cause the apex of the D loop to travel downward to the water’s surface and the anchor will be arched or misshaped making it completely ineffective. This should not be mistaken for a timing error.
Jump roll cast- the V loop
For the most efficient V loop formation the rod tip path will be travelling in a near straight line incline. It is important that we use the rod’s own flexible nature combined with the appropriate hand, arm and body movements to form the neatest, fastest V loops. This combined with the water’s surface tension will provide the best overall results.
Forward delivery of the Jump Roll Cast
When we have mastered the timing and can form our anchor and rearward loop effectively the upper hand will be around forehead height with the arm resembling 90 degrees. The lower hand will be positioned out from the centre of the body with the arm bent at around 45 degrees. We must arrive in this position as the anchor momentarily touches down. Hesitating a fraction too long means that valuable rearward momentum and maximum tension may be lost. We can then lead forward initially with our body, using weight shift transfer. The hands accelerate in a downward and forwards movement before adding speed and slight rotation in the last margin of the cast, prior to a firm stop and block to generate maximum rod tip speed and fast line speed.
Getting the correct fly fishing tuition or instruction is important in order to understand the fundamentals and progress while learning to spey cast effectively. Understanding how we can use the flexible nature of the rod correctly and influence the shape of the line is essential. Every cast we do depends on forming a loop of some form or other. This is greatly influenced by acceleration and rotation of the rod with the rod tip turning over speed, the latter being mainly a product of an efficient stop. We can cast the tightest, fastest loops with maximum efficiency by following a few practical rules. It then becomes very easy and second nature to make any necessary adjustments to cast an open, slower or wider shaped loop. The main difference being that we have the choice to do so through understanding and ability.
The rod tip is the last point of contact between the angler and the fly line and it directly transfers speed into the line. As previously mentioned, maximum tip speed requires the correct leverage and acceleration followed by a firm, positive and efficient stop to gain maximum rod tip turn over speed. Let me assure you, there would be no debate on how we can create effective leverage and how to stop the rod. It cannot be done correctly without the use of both hands to stop using the upper hand and block using the lower hand.
In order to cast tight efficient loops we need provide smooth and appropriate acceleration. This allows us to maintain the bend in the rod and track the tip along as near a straight line path as possible. Acceleration should peak at the very final phase of the cast and end in a firm stop. By stopping the rod with our upper hand and blocking it firmly with our bottom hand as mentioned above we are able to control and minimise over rotation of the rod and avoid opening of the loop. By doing so we can create maximum rod tip speed which results in fast, efficient speed in the line.
Opening the Casting Loop
If however, we wanted to adjust or cast an open loop then the acceleration and body movement would be different. The body movements, stroke length, power application and rod arc etc. would be over a longer distance and with slower speed in the final section of the cast. This would blend into a softer or slower stop. The rod tip would no longer be travelling in as near to a straight line path.
We would intentionally rotate the rod over a greater angle than before and adjust our top hand to increase the stroke length. The softer stop combined with the larger arc and adjustment in acceleration would result in slower rod tip speed and more overall rod rotation. This additional rotation will produce a more rounded or open loop form. We will always aim to cast an efficient loop. The density of the line and the weight and size of fly along with any other contributory factors will dictate whether we need a tight fast loop or a slower more open loop.
The simple fact is, if you cannot provide effective leverage and stop the rod effectively then you will not be able to influence alterations and speed in the casting loop very effectively.
It is about having the ability to adjust our movements and more importantly to adjust the stop and control the rod tip speed to influence loop shape and speed. I am fully aware of the great difficulty people have in gaining enough control to suppress the use of the top hand in terms of power application while still maintaining stroke length and acceleration with it. Many people find this technique so simple to understand however, their body simply does not cooperate.
Everything in fly casting has an optimum and you only have to learn it once.
If you are interested in scheduling some fly fishing tuition or Spey Casting instruction contact Andrew.