Correctly loading a fly rod will provide a more efficient cast and better loops by correctly utilizing the rod’s taper as designed by the rod manufacturer.
So how do we do it?
Well actually it’s quite simple although the majority of fly casters don’t practice it. A rod is designed to be bent “progressively” so that the bending action works down the length of the rod. Most casters know that you should start your cast slow and accelerate to a stop. The problem is that the starting point is often far too high and the rod doesn’t have time to bend along its full length.
So how do we ensure there is sufficient bending action?
Start the back cast smoothly from low down, preferably with the rod tip touching or very close to the water. Ensure you have no slack in the line either in the section extending from the rod tip or between the line hand and the stripping guide. A good way to ensure you get rid of slack is that when you are ready to begin the cast, hold the line under the line finger of the casting hand, reach forward with the line hand and grasp the line by the stripping guide. Release the line from the casting hand finger, pull back your line hand to the position you normally hold your line and begin the cast at the same time. In a way you are putting in a “pre” haul before you begin the casting stroke.
Continue the casting stroke to the upright position, apply the wrist and come to an abrupt stop while all the time holding the line in the line hand. Always ensure you cast with the “three point” system. That is the line should contact in three places; the reel, the stripping guide and the line hand. This way the rod will slide up the line as the cast is made producing friction and thereby improving the cast.
If you remove all slack (one of the fundamentals of casting), start your back cast stroke smoothly from very close to the water, apply power smoothly towards the end of the stroke and stop abruptly, I guarantee your casts will improve in both power and form.