Casting the Hexagraph
"...you simply shouldn't be able to cast that much line with rods this tiny and delicate" -
James Babb, Editor, in Gray's Sporting Journal
If you've not used a solid rod, your new HEXAGRAPH may seem different to you. Here's a short perspective that may help you discover this wonderful "new" world. HEXAGRAPH fly rods perform somewhat differently than do rods made of hollow, tubular graphite. The design characteristics of a HEXAGRAPH give you a whole new range of control in your casting, and the stroke you use will reveal that control.

Tubular rods generally possess a "designed in" load point. That means that at some point along their length, with some specified amount of line, they bend and load optimally, by design. That specific design also dictates that at other points along their lengths, with other amounts of line and other amounts of applied power, they perform "less than perfectly." Think about that. That's how they are made. In addition, a hollow tube deforms slightly into an oval when it is flexed - it flattens a bit. That defines a plane of preferred bending. Think about that also. Built in imperfection, by design. "Today's" rather aggressive casting stroke and instruction is an effort to make your tubular rod perform at or near that load point, and to stay in a common plane. The rod's in charge and you do most of the work.

HEXAGRAPHS are tapered uniformly from butt to tip, and as such, they will bend and load progressively, at different points all along their length. Exactly where they load for any given cast depends upon how much line you may have out and how much effort you are putting into the cast. The HEXAGRAPHS are also solid rather than hollow, so they don't deform when bent. This allows you to utilize a wide range of versatility in your delivery. This is also why our rods can be used effectively with multiple line weights and a variety of casting strokes. You, not the rod, are in charge.

The casting stroke that will allow your HEXAGRAPH to demonstrate its incredible range of power and precision differs from the exaggerated power stroke used for many of today's fast tubular rods. If you have learned fly-casting only recently, using "modern" rods, it may surprise you to learn how easy the task really can be. My advice... slow down, let it happen, you'll be amazed!

The overall action of a HEXAGRAPH is perceived to be slower than that of tubular rods, but that is partially because the entire rod flexes, if you want it to. For best results, allow plenty of time on the backcast for the rod to load and then just "turn over" the forward cast. There is very little need to "drive" or "snap" the forward cast. Load the rod with the backcast, and then let the rod deliver the forecast with just a firm "push" to complete the turnover. Let the rod do the work! You will find that you can throw any size loop you want, but you don't have to overpower anything (and as old Walton Powell once told me, "The fish don't give a flip about what size your loop is!")

Concentrate initially on accuracy at your normal fishing distances... pick it up... pause... and then lay it down... concentrating on a specific target. Change targets, change planes, and change directions without a series of false casts. You'll discover an incredible range of control and precision. As you develop the feel for the timing, gradually increase the amount of line you're working with. You will find that the rod will "shoot" line very well if you cause it to flex a bit more deeply - further down into the length of the rod (something you cannot do easily with a hollow tube). It's less work, and that means more time on the water. Once you get the timing down, I am sure you'll see what I mean.

As you become more familiar with the performance capacity of your rod, try changing the plane of your casting stroke. From a vertical straight overhead (your casting hand right by your eye) all the way through a nearly horizontal sidearm, you'll find a range of deliveries that will help with situational casts. Likewise (despite what "modern" casting instruction says) you'll find that you can begin to use your wrist for finesse, control, and variety. You can throw tight quick loops from the tip or deliver a surprising amount of power with only modest effort by employing the "deeper load." Just pay attention to the timing that is involved with the loading and unloading of the rod. Spend some time practicing on the water instead of the front lawn. Your roll casts and mends utilizing the surface tension on the water will amaze you, as well as the simple "pre-loading" that occurs when you pick your line off the surface. There are a lot of little tricks hidden within these rods!

In summary, casting a HEXAGRAPH is a little like learning to play a fine musical instrument instead of a high-school production model, or it's like driving a fine sports car instead of the family truckster. One will do things that the other will not. Your HEXAGRAPH will bring you great amount of satisfaction as you learn to "play" it.