Gunther Feuerstein - Back hand power haul

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Gunther Feuerstein - Back Hand Power Haul - YouTube

My best experience in fishing casting this year - as opposed to in Competition casting - was when Gunther Feuerstein was over casting in Connemara with myself and Pat O'Toole in the spring.

He taught us his high back hand power haul with a singe hand rod and I must say its something I made really great use of throughout the year and wish I had of learned earlier. I did cast on the off side before using various methods, usually tilting the rod over while still using standard double hauling technique but that option is not as effective as this cast. This one is more ergonomically efficient.

The first time I made note of it in real life was when I Guided an Italian called Valerio Santagostino on Lough Conn for dry fly mayfly fishing about two years ago. He was a most impressive single hand caster and it was the first time I seen someone use the back hand power haul to great effect. Very useful in a boat. I also noted he spent the entire day fishing dry fly without making a single tailing loop for the day, not one. I was going to ask him about the back hand cast but did not want to interfere in his days fishing. It turned out that he was an E.F.F.A. Master Instructor.

This year myself and Pat O'Toole brought Gunther Feuerstein of E.F.F.A. over to Delphi Lodge for some single and double hand fly casting workshops. He taught us the high back hand power haul technique. It looks easier than it is and delaying the haul so much is not so easy at the start as there is a little muscle memory to overcome.

A lot of single hand rod salmon fishing takes place on the Delphi system both on the river and on the Loughs. There's also on some days a serious wind blowing in from Killary Harbour. Three thousand miles of Altlantic Ocean and its storms make first landfall in the West of Ireland and Connemara. This cast became a firm favourite for me, no more turning around to make the back cast the delivery cast, though that works fine it is now unnecessary. I can face the river and handle any wind, the stronger the more it leans on the line and keeps all taut.

Not only is it effective but it looks particularly impressive. It has become my favourite single hand rod cast. I consider it invaluable for adverse winds and also for boat fishing if you are on the left end of the boat and right handed. There is a delay in the hand movement and haul, rod moves first, line hand makes a small haul towards the end of the rod movement and then follows back to a high stop as if you were waving at someone. You can cast a long way on the off side with relative ease. Using the rod hand in the normal plane is fine for six weight nine foot rods, however I was often using ten and eleven foot seven and eight weights. I found my wrist not strong enough on that side to effect turnover of the longer rods and heavier lines with the speed and power I would want, fortunately however turning the hand 90 degrees so the back hand faces across the river and palm faces behind, rather than back hand facing up to the sky and palm facing down to the ground, made handling the heavier lines and longer rods a matter of ease. The speed and power I wanted was there again. The arm could be ussed as a support a little too if one wished. Its a magnificent and powerful cast, one that is a joy to use.

People also notice its different to a normal double haul. Twice people asked what I was doing differently, including one woman who said I was doing a cats cradle. I did not know what she meant but she explained about loops of string manipulated in her fingers.
 
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dexterbuchanan1

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Gunther Feuerstein - Back Hand Power Haul - YouTube

My best experience in fishing casting this year - as opposed to in Competition casting - was when Gunther Feuerstein was over casting in Connemara with myself and Pat O'Toole in the spring.

He taught us his high back hand power haul and I must say its something I made really great use of throughout the year and wish I had of learned earlier.

First time I made note of it in real life was when I Guided an Italian called Valerio Santagostino on Lough Conn for dry fly mayfly fishing about two years ago. He was a most impressive single hand caster and it was the first time I seen someone use the back hand power haul to great effect. Very useful in a boat. I also noted he spent the entire day fishing dry fly without making a single tailing loop for the day, not one. I was going to ask him about the back hand cast but did not want to interfere in his days fishing. It turned out that he was an E.F.F.A. Master Instructor.

This year myself and Pat O'Toole brough Gunther Feuerstein of E.F.F.A. over to Delphi Lodge for some single and double hand casting. He taught us the high back hand power haul technique. It looks easier than it is and delaying the haul is not easy as there is muscle memory to overcome.

A lot of single hand rod salmon fishing takes place at Delphi both on the river and on the Loughs. There's also on some days a serious breeze blowing in from Killary Harbour. Three thousand miles of Altlantic Ocean and its storms make first landfall in the West of Ireland and Connemara. This cast becme a firm favourite for me, no more turning around to make the back cast the delivery cast. I can face the river and handle any wind, the stronger the more it leans on the line and keeps all taut.

Not only is it effective but it looks particularly impressive. It has become my favourite single hand rod cast. I consider it invaluable for adverse winds and also for boat fishing. There is a delay in the hand movement and haul, rod moves first, line hand makes a small haul towards the end of the rod movement and then follows back to a high stop as if you were waving at someone. You can cast a long way on the off side with relative ease. Using the rod hand in the normal plane is fine for six weight nine foot rods, however I was often using ten and eleven foot seven and eight weights. I found my wrist not strong enough on that side to effect turnover of the longer rods and heavier lines with the speed and power I would want, fortunately however turning the hand 90 degrees so the back hand faces across the river and palm faces behind, rather than back hand facing up to the sky and palm facing down to the ground, made handling the heavier lines and longer rods a matter of ease. The arm could be ussed as a support a little too if one wished. Its a magnificent and powerful cast, one that is a joy to use.

People also notice its different to a normal double haul. Twice people asked what I was doing differently, including one woman who said I was doing a cats cradle. I did not know what she meant but she explained about loops of string manipulated in her fingers.


Hi Robert
I found it easier to learn to cast left-handed when i fished an upstream wind right bank
But lost it very quickly after a couple seasons off the single hander,may try this next time with single in an upstream wind,very disappointed with myself not keeping it going now!!!
 

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Witnessed Minitube demonstrating this cast at the Irish Angling Show on 18th this month.
I have to say I was awestruck with the demonstration as a whole and not least so by this cast.
Haven't had a chance to practice it yet and this post will be a great reminder when I try to learn it.
Can't recall seeing any 'slack' in the cast as demonstrated at the show!
As the demonstration became more technical, the audience largely slipped away!
H:confused:

PS Are such long hauls really necessary?
 
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minitube

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Witnessed Minitube demonstrating this cast at the Irish Angling Show on 18th this month.
I have to say I was awestruck with the demonstration as a whole and not least so by this cast.
Haven't had a chance to practice it yet and this post will be a great reminder when I try to learn it.
Can't recall seeing any 'slack' in the cast as demonstrated at the show!
As the demonstration became more technical, the audience largely slipped away!
H:confused:

PS Are such long hauls really necessary?

Thanks for the kind words Donal.

There was more people around for the demo on the first day (Saturday). You are right though about the technical side not suiting everyone, I love it however, but only to a certain practically useful point, not as far as mathematical equations and the like. On the first day I did the single hand part of the demo with a five weight and a light coloured line, however changed for the Sunday to the six weight and an orange Triangle Taper line which shows up much better.

The slack might be obvious or show up because of the slo mo camera, not sure if its that or not, i.e. whether its there always but just not noticed normally. Gunther is easily among the very top few single hand casters I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot, really a lot of Instructors too.

I'd say own execution of this cast is made with a slightly lower rod hand position and I will have my hand turned a quarter turn usually but do both. I find the quarter turn also keeps the line moving freer as it cannot stick in snake rings or have any friction through contact along the blank. For me anyway the quarter turn is essential with longer rods and heavier line ratings otherwise I cannot close the wrist forward powerfully enough as I'd like to at the end of the forward cast. While it certainly looks like a real long haul, it does not feel that way when casting as the rod hand is moving away from a stationary line hand at the start, only towards the end of the stroke does the line hand then haul and so it does not feel like so much. Having said that the hands certainly are far apart at the end of the casting stroke, particularly on the forward casting stroke its possible for a long haul to be made.

Its a great cast to do just for castings sake alone as well as being such a most useful fishing cast for adverse wind, it feels so good and rewarding to control as the hauling is somewhat different to the norm. You realise that when you try to do it normally, not the same thing at all. I found it best to take time to practice the cast just placing the line hand after the rod movement for a while with no hauling at all with a suitable length of line out, that was good practice first. I introduced the haul at the end later when I had that rhythm and timing of the delayed line hand move well sorted. Paying attention to directing the rod tip beind is all important of course, as with all overhead casting. So easy to go too far and pull in out of plane.

Anyway it was really good to see you at the show Donal, and good to be back demonstrating. I was glad to be able to use that cast for something a little different in a demo. You're very kind to me Donal, I must owe you a cheque now as my publicist.
 
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minitube

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Hi Robert
I found it easier to learn to cast left-handed when i fished an upstream wind right bank
But lost it very quickly after a couple seasons off the single hander,may try this next time with single in an upstream wind,very disappointed with myself not keeping it going now!!!

Hi Dexter,

Yes, the good thing about casting on the off side is that when these casts are necessary to use due to the wind, the wind is actually then a big help. It is leaning against the line and keeping ecerything taut and safely away from us. To be honest the wind is actually then a frend and a big help.

I cast on the left side single handed as normal with the left hand on the rod, hauling with the right hand and keep in practice for it, mainly for teaching purposes. That means then I can teach double hauling hands on to any right handed person, which is often the fastest way for them to pick it up. I can then stand in front of a right hand caster and teach them double haul. It is invaluable in single hand instruction to be able to do that, hence I keep my left hand single hand casting well practiced.

Having said that between using left hand on the rod, tilting the rod over with the right hand and normal hauling, this cast of Gunthers is I find the best fishing cast option once learned, the exception being unless one is very well practiced with the left hand on the rod, which most aren't. Takes a little time to learn but well worth it in the end, easier to attain control of than learning left hand on the rod, very satisfying and one can shoot a lot of line on the last cast. Of course its all vice versa for natural left hand casters on the right side.
 
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Rrrr

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Im useless with a single handed rod and i rekon theres a fair to good chance i would punch myself in the face trying that one lol.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 

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Hi Dexter,

Yes, the good thing about casting on the off side is that when these casts are necessary to use due to the wind, the wind is actually then a big help. It is leaning against the line and keeping ecerything taut and safely away from us. To be honest the wind is actually then a frend and a big help.

I started using a similar cast a few years back to help defeat an omnipresent downstream gale coming from under a certain upper Clyde road bridge.
Works a treat
Couldn’t quite figure out why it was so successful, but now I know .

Thanks , Robert ?
 
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minitube

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Gunther.jpg


Length of the last haul on the off side can be seen in this pic of Gunther on the Delphi lawn.
 

(Smolt)

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Gunther has a certain flair, I imagine watching him cast is like watching a performance.

Just one question, if you were just to switch hands and use your "bad" hand with a haul would you overcome the problems this cast is designed for? I don't do much boat fishing so maybe I am over looking the efficacy of the cast, it looks beautiful regardless!
 

minitube

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Gunther has a certain flair, I imagine watching him cast is like watching a performance.

Just one question, if you were just to switch hands and use your "bad" hand with a haul would you overcome the problems this cast is designed for? I don't do much boat fishing so maybe I am over looking the efficacy of the cast, it looks beautiful regardless!

Hi Liam,

You're right about Gunther. He has great knowledge of casting too.

Absolutely you would overcome the problem that way.

The problem this cast is designed to overcome is efficient casting on the off side when there are adverse winds for casting on your good side. Rather than making the back cast your final delivery, or turning around to make two forward casts e.t.c., or for those who have not yet learned double hauling on their off side - which it has to be said very few will ever do.

If you do learn that however (double haul on your off side) there's no need to cast this way except for the style and joy of it, it sure looks good, and feels good. One of the best looking casts to watch I've come across when looking at it performed well. It has a certain unique look and attraction.

The good thing about this cast, or indeed double hauling with left hand on the rod and right hand on the line, is that the days you have to do such casts due to adverse wind on the right side, the wind is then actually a big help as it keeps everything taut and safely away from you.

For casting techniques sake, and absolutely really only for the sake of casting technique alone, if you can double haul on your off side, you can even then do that particular cast by switching hands and sides. Change hands to put left hand on the rod (for a right handed caster), move the rod over to your right side, line in the right hand and delay the haul. However its completely redundant to cast that way on your good side except purely for messing around.
 
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(Smolt)

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Cheers Robert,
Lovely to watch, absolutely. You mentioned double hauling on your bad side, it is a skill that is time consuming to get to grips with, I've been trying to learn it intermittently but you've highlighted another option for me so will gladly take it up ;)
Over the past 2-3 seasons I've been using a single hander for my salmon fishing as much as a I possibly can. There is a pure enjoyment to it and it is interesting how you sometimes naturally try to overcome obstacles/issues in achieving the desired cast/distance with a single hander. Gurus like Gunther are very refreshing.
 

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Cheers Robert,
Lovely to watch, absolutely. You mentioned double hauling on your bad side, it is a skill that is time consuming to get to grips with, I've been trying to learn it intermittently

Essential to get the rod movement perfected alone first with different lengths of line up to what is reasonably manageable one handed. In the Peter Anderson style I was taught by him right from the very beginning, from the basic cast, to use both arms. He changed your rod hand every half hour for the basic cast. Its relatively easy to spot and Anderson trained caster as they do not drop the rod tip behind during the power application but work along an incline with the wrist and arm. Some E.F.F.A. Instructors I have met do this too as the norm during the power application and refer to it as directing the rod tip, or ensuring the directing of the rod tip.

but you've highlighted another option for me so will gladly take it up ;)
Over the past 2-3 seasons I've been using a single hander for my salmon fishing as much as a I possibly can. There is a pure enjoyment to it and it is interesting how you sometimes naturally try to overcome obstacles/issues in achieving the desired cast/distance with a single hander. Gurus like Gunther are very refreshing.

I have been using the single hand rod much more myself over the last two seasons on both the Erriff and Delphi systems than I would have on the Moy. While I can double haul left hand on the rod I now prefer to use Gunters cast. There's just something special and very rewarding about it. As mentioned before I will turn the wrist a quarter turn though for the longer heavier rated rods and lines.

Twice over that time I've had strangers come up to me and ask about it with the comment what is that cast you are doing? They noticed that it was somehow different from what eveyone else does. Not to mention it was worth a few euro in tips at times from guests for teaching them it to more effectively deal with the wind without having to use their left hand.
 
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Hibernicus

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Robert, what about Gunter's index-finger-forward grip?
What's the advantage of that grip over the more usual thumb-on-top grip?
Does Gunter's grip help in the quarter turn stance?
I noticed you used the same grip at the demonstration.
I would associate such a grip with lighter lines than the #7 or #8 weight one might use for single handed salmon fly-fishing.
H
 

minitube

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Robert, what about Gunter's index-finger-forward grip?

Hi Donal,
the finger on top grip is the standard grip for fly casting in most of mainland Europe. Certainly for river trout fishing. Its the norm there.

What's the advantage of that grip over the more usual thumb-on-top grip?

They consider for accuracy, for fine tuned control over presentation casting - where they make curves and bends in the line for obstacles or to counteract currents that would cause fly drag. Also that it helps prevent over rotation of the wrist on the back cast.

Personally I noticed that it definitely tightens up the back loop a little. I think due to it allowing a slightly sharper or more solid stop on the back cast.

Does Gunter's grip help in the quarter turn stance?

Do you mean his open stance or turning the wrist and forearm 90 degrees as I mentioned for longer rods?

That is the grip he always uses no matter the stance, as do most mainland European casters. My 90 degree turn when I check it is not an accurate description its actually more probably another 30 to 40 degrees with that a 120 - 130 or something. Basically my hand turn for longer rods is the back of my hand facing trajectory used and the palm facing the back cast.

I'd say that grip probably helps some people stay in plane better and not 'over rotate' or pull in the rod tip behind, however any practiced caster will generally not do that anyway with either grip.

I noticed you used the same grip at the demonstration.

That's observant. I had decided to use this grip almost exclusively since last spring in order to become very familiar with it. As the demo was with a six weight it was no issue. First day I used a five weight but used the six weight the second day as the line on it was orange and therefore easier for people to see. However the rod cork was not a cigar or half wells but a full wells which is not as ideal though can still be used. Much better however with a cigar shape cork taper for finger on top grip casting.
It feels strange at first when a change is made from anything familiar to something different. The only way for the new way to become normal is a forced familiarity. In the past I was formally trained via strict discipline, there was no choice given. I still use that 'old school' way to learn or change. No pain no gain.
Its very easy to slip back into what one is most familiar with, its just too easy, and then stop making a change to discover a new and dfferent way. When you give yourself no choice in the matter its the best way.

I have used finger on top before when distance casting using the 170 degree casting method which uses a finger on top grip for the back cast, and then changes to a V grip for the forward cast. But that's not normal delicate, or fishing casting.


I would associate such a grip with lighter lines than the #7 or #8 weight one might use for single handed salmon fly-fishing.
H

Exactly, it seem for me that there certainly is less power for the forward cast with a finger on top grip initially, that is one of the reasons to persevere with it, to train some muscles up for that way, also that simple familiarity with the technique will improve it through fine tuning. its more at home with trout rods than salmon rods for me normally (apart from the back hand with a quarter turn plus on the off side).
 
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minitube

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Impressive stuff indeed Robert and a very interesting read

Its important to note Damien that is not the same as double hauling on your left side wth the right hand, its a better variation on the technique to achieve the same type of result. Its more ergonomically efficient. The delayed haul is vital. In a normal haul the line had is moving away from the rod, in this one the rod moves away from the line hand initially. It is best learned with the rod only movement first with no line hand move until that is correct.
 
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