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L to R Ruairi Costello, Gerard Downey, James Chalmers, myself.


James Chamers in action on the Shannon


Starting position


loading


Loading pressure from body turning and bottom hand pushing out


Line breaking free


Line gliding or coasting through the air


Rod straightened, relaxed lift starts with rod at same angle as the line glides through the air


top of lift and strt of final delivery - continuous motion

Power application final delivery, anchor has touched down

Top arm still bent bottom hand pulled in

While I could not over estimate the importance of the incline exercise progression in learning how to Spey cast correctly in this style, with either a single or double-handed rod. It is also actually in itself an absorbing and rewarding exercise.


A most important tool for refining fluent Spey Casting technique off both sides of the body.

This exercise was devised by James Chalmers who has produced some of the best Spey casting I have ever witnessed anywhere. I can say that standing beside him on the Spey or the Shannon and watching his line V loop perfectly across that magnificent river from his own 'Chalmers Chop' final delivery style is a sight to behold. He manages to keep perfectly in plane consistently with the forward cast, the line and leader rolls out as if it was drawn there by someone using a ruler.

It is an exercise progression that has been incorporated into Fulcrum Fly-Casting technique as it is so important for correct technique. This technique teaches many things about Spey casting and rod loading and unloading. It is a fundamental building block of this style.


The practice of this exercise sequence leads the caster through a logical progression towards efficient Spey casting. Through a process of minor variations on the theme the caster eventually is able to correctly execute the 'climbing curve' basic Spey casting movement, both from a fly line traveling back through the air and touching down, and from a fly line placed on the water first with a line placing move. Both airborne and waterborne anchors in other words.

I have seen how this exercise, and its natural progression, utterly transforms peoples Spey casting ability in general as far as anchor placement and anchor shape is concerned and
in particular how it rapidly gives them mastery of Spey casting on their off side, which is really very important. In fact it turns people into very accomplished casters on their off side. Also in how it shows the importance of and difference in effect of the correct use of first class leverage. The versatility it allows in loop formation and in 'shaping' the D loop. or V loop, especially important for those taking Instructors examinations. I have yet to see a good V loop produced in an exam outside of those familiar with this technique.








































Practical Steps
The first exercise is sometimes called a 30 / 30 incline exercise. The first need is to be precise, a straight line incline is a straight line incline, therefore not an arched or convex curve with a pull down or any pull in out of plane behind. The furthest back position the rod tip reaches was arrived at by the rod tip rising to arrive there no matter how slight the incline. The line momentum created from the rod unloading when the line breaks free will then be all in the one overall direction and at the right trajectory, the rod tip moving a long way in the one direction overall, directing the line momentum efficiently in that direction.
The upper body turning and a simultaneous pushing out of the bottom hand provide the loading, with longer lines both hands must also slightly poke the rod in one direction just before stopping to keep the momentum and energy release in one direction, therefore using the second part of the fulcrum definition while ensuring the furthest back position the rod reached it stayed in plane and rose to that position. The top hand is the fulcrum and remains the fulcrum used mainly through the body turning it causing the majority of the movement. Very little independent top hand movement takes place, it is mainly indirect movement from the body turning. Make sure the energy is directed in the one direction.

Th
e basis of the exercise is that there are no left or right hand rods so the rod is going to work exactly the same way on either side as long as we change its position and angle and apply pressure in the same fashion so that it is a mirror image of the other side. Also that anyone can turn their upper body or torso from their ankles through. All body movement starts at the ankles, saying we turn our upper body is a bit of a misnomer although that is what we do but perhaps not literally, all of the body is on the move from the ankles up. So anyone can turn their body. If before we turned our upper body, we placed a hand out in front of us slightly and turned the body, our hand will turn with the body of course. The hand is then moving in relation to a position on the ground or in relation to your toe but you are not moving your arm to do it, you are turning your body. So as Mr Andrew Toft once pointed out, the hand can move independently of the body and the body can move independently of the hand or arm but bring the arm with it, this is still stroke length. To a fixed point on the ground body movement moves the hand, in relation to the upper body however it is not moving. Now anyone can also push out their bottom hand steadily. Both movements – upper body rotation and the bottom hand pushing out can be done at the same time, both movements can be spread out so that they happen simultaneously throughout the stroke. The top hand can ensure steering along the approx 30 degree incline desired

It is made along a shallow angle gradient. That angle is about 30 degrees as Patrick Steenhout an FFF Instructor from Belgium who is a carpenter and rod builder confirmed by eye. It is necessary to absolutely ensure this constant straight line incline at the beginning, the caster must ensure two things, that the rod is steadily rising until the stop so that it does not pull in behind or down behind at any time, it remains on a steady gradient. As there is no lift there will be serious water loading of the rod taking place
It is best to put the reel into plane first to be aware of the plane used and the tilt over the river used which is low. The greatest awareness is of
the rod travelling in a perfect straight line incline and of no tugging whatsoever occurring. The angler must feel the rod load and unload without reacting to that by hesitating or tugging. He must use a steady overall tempo and disregard what he feels. The tempo will become apparent as there is a correct position for anchor placement. too little speed or overall tempo fails to break the line from the water usually or perhaps it just managed to break the line from the water but it drops too far below the caster causing an excessive anchor. Too much speed and we do an overhead cast to the side. Just right and the anchor placement is perfectly positioned just below and outside of the caster.

The caster starts off with right or left foot forward stance, the rod tip is touching the water in front. If 12 o’clock is directly in front of the caster then the rod tip is touching the water at 1 o’clock, it is going to rise on a 30 degree incline and swing round to 5 o’clock. If only the body turning was used it would go to about 4 o’clock, because the bottom hand pushes out it can go to five o’clock. He turns his body and starts pushing out the bottom hand simultaneously, the top hand will raise the rod along the incline as the body turns.

The first, no lift, incline exercise on the river. Sorry about the pic quality as it is taken from a film, as was the top sequence on a pier on Lough Cullin one evening.
However this sequence on the river does show the resulting V loop formation. The top sequence shows weight shift and upper body rotation.
The first incline exercise using a medium belly Spey line, (Carron Pro Line 65ft head). The resulting V loop formation from the straight line inclined rod tip path.

The second one involving a small lift is a most useful exercise for examinations requiring a V loop in a jump roll.
A basic climbing curve single Spey with a straight anchor and curved D loop formation.
The Incline Exercise Progression
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