Fly Casting Tips
An article that reviews the most important element of a fly cast “Stopping the Rod”
Stop! …For Good Cast – When I was reading through The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing, this tip seemed like it is shouting out to me. Often a little voice in my head says “What’s so important about stopping the rod anyway?” This is what’s up. Always remember that the stop is the key component, the one that makes all……….
Another good pointer for your hand action when casting.
Watch That Thumb
Do you every get frustrated when your line bunches and just dies on the forward cast. This is usually caused by traveling too far with your backcast, which creates an open loop. You can’t load the rod tightly and keep a tight loop.
Here’s the trick. Try to keep your casting thumb in your peripheral vision at all times. if you lose sight of your thumb, and you’re going back too far. Simple as that.
Get out on the lawn and try this tip and you’ll see an immediate improvement with tighter loops and with better control.
Dare to be Different
Just because your casting style doesn’t look like your buddies, it’s not a problem. It just has to work for you, not anyone else.
There are certain physical laws pertaining to loading and unloading the fly rod that must be adhered to, and the timing is critical, no matter what your stroke looks like. It’s the end result that counts.
Stop that Rod on the forward stroke with whatever your casting style is and the result will impress the pros.
A good fly cast starts with the grip – If you have ever received lessons in golf, most swing flaws can be traced to your hands and how you hold the club. This holds true with your fly cast. You need a keep a firm grip. The line goes where the rod tip goes. (Burn this into your brain). Because of this, hold your thumb on top of the grip, and snap your casts, to a firm stop. When you stop the rod, visualize looking “through” your casting thumbnail, odds are that the line will unfurl right through that window.
Point Your Shots – As stated in Fly casting Tip #1, the fly line and thus the fly follows the rod tip.
Taking this one step further, the Rod Tip Follows the Thumb.
So long as you keep your thumb (or index finger if you cast with it on top) pointed at the target your cast will go where you want it to go.
“10 and 2 is too little too late – As we have heard from the beginning of our fly casting learning curve, our cast is to be imagined as if your rod moves along an imaginary clock face, with the forward cast stopping at 10 o’clock, and the backcast stopping at 2 o’clock. In reality, when we start casting, we are pretty much oblivious to this imaginary clock. It is advised to instead change the time zones to one o’clock on the backcast. If you try changing your way of thinking to “10 to 1” you may have better luck.
Don’t get Cocky ( Your Wrist is what we’re talking about) – If you’re casting and you hear the noise of your line slapping the water behind you, it is often because your wrist is cocking too far back. As it relates to fly casting, the wrist versus arm equation is a difficult balance to master, let alone explain. Remember the arm is the engine, the wrist is the steering wheel. This pertains to aiming the cast, not powering the cast. Continuing the comparison to driving, if you let your wrist power your cast you will crash. A few simple fixes to help capture the right feel are; (a) Get a large rubber band, wrap it around your casting wrist, and then insert the rod butt inside that rubber band when you practice on the lawn. If you find that the rubber band is flexing too much, odds are you are breaking your wrist too far. (b) If you are wearing a long sleeve shirt, tuck the reel butt inside your cuff. This can really sharpen up and help you regain your stoke.
Hitting the Wall – This one’s for me, being a carpenter for most of my life. Think about a hammer and a nail when loading and unloading your rod. Imagine yourself between two walls, with nails on both. Using a two headed hammer, pretend to smack the nails, first on the back cast, and again when the hand comes forward. Each time you hit the wall the hammer stops cold. This is the stop motion that in fly casting causes the rod to unload briskly. In you stop cold, the line will shoot forward powerfully, with a tight loop. If you don’t stop hard and slush your rod through the stop, the line loses speed and distance and the loop will open up, making it susceptible to wind. To get full power from your rod, hit the nail on the head.So, I’ve got a new mantra. “Nail on head, nail on head. . .”
Say Hello to good casting – Here is another tip to get used to starting and stopping the rod at the correct angles. Imagine you’re using an old wall telephone, standing a couple of feet away.
Say hello when you bring your rod hand smartly back beside your ear, keeping your arm perpendicular, and then whisper goodbye as the phone returns to the cradle. Again, perform this with crisp stops and starts.
When teaching kids and adults the art of casting a fly, one of the hardest things to get across is to not try too hard. The harder and faster your move the rod back and forth the less it seems to work. Here’s another gem of wisdom from The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing new, which is a collection of 250 tips from Kirk Deeter and the late, great Charlie Meyers.
This tip is about working on smooth acceleration while casting.
The best casting motion involves a gradual, controlled acceleration to an abrupt stop. For most people that’s easier said than done, so here’s the tip.
Imagine that you have a soft tomato stuck on the end of a stick, and you want to fling that tomato at your best buddy standing 20 feet away, how would you do it? If you whip the stick, you’ll end up blasting yourself with mushy tomato. If you gradually fling the tomato off the stick, you might get your buddy instead.
Another way of thinking about this is to imagine throwing water from a glass. You pick up the glass, accelerate, aim, and then stop to let the liquid fly.
Same deal and same feel with the fly cast.
Casting Tip – Applied Power – Too Much, Too Soon
I just started helping a local high school teach their students the art of fly casting. Many casting errors are traced to these two main causes, breaking the wrist and incorrectly applied power at the pickup of the line off the water and in this case the grass.
We’ll concentrate on the second problem here. Many anglers start their cast by picking up the line with their rod parallel to the water and then applying too much power, with too much slack line on the water. This creates an extremely large loop and will not load the rod properly. The angler spends the rest of the cast sequence trying to tighten up the loop. Bad start equals bad delivery in most cases.
The cure of this malady is to begin the cast by stripping in excess line, and then smoothly lifting the rod tip to 10:00, not 1:00. This sets the rod up for a short, quick power stroke.
Try this next time you’re on the water and you’ll see a difference.
*"Read the Full Article":/techniques/tips/casting-tips/too-much-too-soon
This summer I spent quite a few days on the Yellowstone River in Montana rowing my Fishcraft raft and helping my family to learn the technique of casting streamers and dry flies to the bank, looking for the brown trout or the occasional rainbow that hang right next to shore, tight to the bank hoping to get a grab on the fly. As much as I tried to get my son Zack and my Mom and Dad to get the flies right on the bank, their flies would mostly come up short. When they got it to the bank, hold on!
Typically, 6 inches from the bank would get a strike when 24" from the bank was mostly unproductive . Reach the bank and success would follow. When casting to the bank you just can’t worry about hanging up and loosing flies, you’ve just got to go for it. If you take the risk you may end up with a trophy in your hands.
It seems like the roll cast is used so often, whether you fishing with bushes behind you, doing a roll pickup to re-deliver a dry fly or re-casting a nymph rigg when you’re drifting down the river in a boat, that it should be on the top of everyone’s list to practice and master. So basic and such an important technique to have at your call when you need it.
I’ll never forget the casting video with Mel Kreiger, when he explains that the delivery stroke/snap when making a roll cast is like cutting of the head of a chicken with a hatchet. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean.
Once you start using the roll cast you’ll notice that you use it more often than you realize. That’s the key it should be second nature, something you don’t have to think about. Continued. . .
*"Read the Full Article":/techniques/tips/casting-tips/roll-cast-for-success
As I’ve stated before, I’ve always been a fan of Dave Hughes, his books introduced me to two casting techniques, the wiggle cast and the reach cast. By adding these two casts to your game you can just about present a dry fly, emerger or dry dropper combination in any situation. If you get a handle on these two techniques and combine them with a reach wiggle you’ll really have something going.
I’m going to go over the essence of the wiggle cast here.
The “wiggle” cast is also referred to as the “serpentine” cast, or a “S” cast. I learned it as the wiggle, so I’ll stick with it. As they say, “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it”.
The essence of the cast is to place several coils or wiggles in the line as you complete the forward cast. Once accomplished, during the precious seconds that it takes for the complex currents to work the coils out of the line, your fly will have extra drag free drift while in the targeted zone. If you add a reach mend to the wiggle you’ll get even more time in the zone. Continued. . .
I’ve always been a fan of Dave Hughes and have a ton of his books in my library. I’ve got one of them that I highlighted as I read it and he talks about the benefits of carefully and stealthily moving in position to make a shorter more accurate cast. This has stuck with me throughout my fishing career. I’ve never been a long distance caster and probably never will. So long to bone fishing.
If you can deliver a 40 foot cast when Mr. Trout raises his head to have a snack and put it on his nose you will be successful. Here is a drill to make you more accurate with you’re presentation delivery.
Here’s a couple of videos from Deneki.com with some pointers for executing a snap tee spey cast with your switch or spey rod and how to “Cast and Step” when working a run. It’s got some very good pointers.
Snap Tee Basics
Here’s one with some pointers for executing a “snap tee” cast.