VARIABLE ANCHORS FOR THE TONGARIRO ROLL CAST
By Herb Spannagl
As we have seen in the previous chapter on the D-Loop an adequate Anchor is a prerequisite for the formation of the D-Loop. Both are defining components of all Spey Casts.
With the TRC the “anchor” is that part of the line, indicator, leader and fly that is resting in or on the water while other line manipulations take place. This is defined as a water born anchor as opposed to an air born anchor where the terminal end only very briefly touches the water.
It is important to understand that one function of the anchor is to prevent the lower leg of the D-Loop from blowing out. Its second function is to assist with rod loading against the fully formed D-Loop. Anchorage and the forward cast need to be in proper balance. Too much anchorage and the line does not lift out cleanly. Too little anchorage and the D-Loop does not hold and gets blown out. Somewhere between the two extremes is the ideal anchorage for each TRC forward cast
Because the TRC uses a water born anchor the resulting resistance or anchorage can vary a great deal and with it the quality of the delivery cast. It may surprise you that fly “volume” has a greater bearing on anchorage than weight. As a good example a near weightless globug offers more anchorage (drag) than a large Tungsten bead head nymph. Why, because the larger volume globug creates more drag in the dense water column than the much slimmer weighted nymph.
As I have already said the “anchor” is every part of your terminal rig that is in contact with the water. Of these components the most variable is the amount of fly line left on the water as part of the anchor package. This short piece of the fly line is also that part of the anchorage that you can increase or lessen very quickly by simply shifting “Point P” (That point where the line emerges from the water) should you decide that this is needed in order to produce a successful cast.
Whilst the various movements of the TRC follow fairly standardised rules, the amount of anchorage has to be assessed and taken into account prior to every delivery cast. Only when the correct anchor assessment has been made can the cast be fine tuned by the caster.
The tools for this include:
· Stroking the rod higher or lower to control the amount of line left on the water.
· Varying the force of the forward cast.
Let me give you a couple of practical examples. The first is with a globug at the end of the trace. You already know that a globug produces considerable anchorage. As you complete phase one of the roll cast to reposition the line for the new target you have become aware that you have not pulled the indicator close enough towards you. As a result there is now more line lying on the water than you would like, which will increase the anchorage to more than you need for a normal cast.
This leaves you with two practical corrections.
- You can project the D-Loop more upwards to lift more line from the water.
- You can stroke the cast higher while applying more force to the rod.
In practice you will probably do a bit of each.
The next example is a light summer rig with only a very small weighted nymph and a tiny indicator. This rig has very little anchorage and relies heavily on the amount of line left on the water to anchor sufficiently. If you were to stroke the cast high and with force, as you needed to do in the above example, you anchor would pop out and the cast would fail.
- In this case the correct solution would be to leave more line on the water and stroke the rod low and with medium force.
Between the two examples is an infinite variety of situations, all of which require a specific anchorage assessment prior to each forward cast. That is why only time on the water with different rig options will teach you how to make the correct anchor judgements so that you can fine tune each cast with confidence and speed.
RODS AND LINES FOR THE TONGARIRO ROLL CAST
Most rods are suitable for executing the TRC. My personal preference is for rods with a slightly slower action, even though these are not my choice for overhead casting with weighted flies. However, there is a much greater disparity in the suitability of lines for roll casting. The best lines emulate the line profiles specifically designed for Spey casting with double-handed rods. Such lines typically have an ultra long belly (up to 20m) and have the greatest line mass towards the reel end of the belly. Double taper lines also roll cast well and so do lines with a reasonably long belly because this allows the formation of a deeper D-Loop. I have found that over lining the rod by up to two line ratings works well. The reason for this departure from the AFTMA recommendations is that only the upper part of the D-Loop (which is less than half of the line head) contributes most of the inertia against which to load the rod; unlike with overhead casting where all the aerialised line head plays this role.