One of the most common fly casting faults of all time, the number one cause of those pesky ‘wind’ knots, is known as “creep.” Most simply put, creep occurs most commonly by starting the forward cast too early, before the fly line is able to straighten on the back cast. The result? Too abrupt of an application of power, within too short of a stroke, causing the the rod tip to dip, thus creating a tailing loop (or ‘wind’ knot if you prefer). It’s a common casting fault amongst beginner and elite casters alike, although can be corrected on the forward cast by one simple adjustment.
However, while the most common execution of rod creep typically occurs at the start of the forward cast (due to the fact that the back cast is more difficult to watch), from time to time we see anglers creep on the other end of the cast as well – when beginning the back cast while false casting. Allow us to explain..
Barring any outside variables (wind, heavily weighted flies, etc.), all fundamental elements of the cast (timing, stroke length, power, ect.) should be exactly the same between the forward and back cast. Thus, while false casting, it is absolutely critical to allow the fly line to completely unroll on the forward cast before initiating the back cast. Starting the back cast too early will cause the same issues, creating tailing loops on the back cast, as well as dramatically throwing off proper timing for the following forward cast.
This is a mistake we see all the time on the flats, particularly from those rushing to get the fly to the fish. The fix? Slo-o-o-w down, watch the fly line closely as the loop unrolls on the forward cast, and envision lightly “catching” the last few feet of leader and fly in mid air before accelerating in the opposite direction to start the back cast. Doing so will help create tighter (but not tailing) loops on the back cast, which in turn will help keep your timing in check for the next forward cast.
In summary.. Creep can occur on both the forward and back casts. Make sure to allow the fly line to unroll completely during each before initiating the next phase of the cast and your cast is bound to become more efficient.