Fly casting is the ability to present a fly at different distances.
Learning to cast is an important part of fly fishing. Most people
picture casting as being very difficult and hard to learn. However,
taking it one step at a time and practicing every available opportunity
will help to make the learning process easier. It is known that most
fish are caught between ten and thirty feet, so learning to cast doesn't
have to be at long distances to successfully fish.
Gripping the rod
properly is important before beginning to cast. If you are right handed,
then you will grip the cork with your right hand. Most fishermen will
grip the rod with their thumb on the top of the cork, pointing toward
the first guide. (see fig. 1) This grip is preferred, because the thumb
aids in stopping the rod during the back cast and helps to get the rod
started for the front cast. Your other hand is
equally important. Its job is to control the fly-line making sure it
remains taut and will be also used to provide line speed during the
double haul cast.
The overhead cast is the most basic and first cast
everyone should learn. Different angles can be used in this cast. Some
people choose to cast with the rod tip following a plane almost directly
over their shoulder while others cast with the rod tip away from their
body. No matter what angle you use, the rod tip needs to follow a
straight plane or path in order to have a successful cast. The basic cast
has two parts; the back cast and forward cast. The back cast is the
first part of your cast and will dictate how good your forward cast will be.
To start the back cast, the rod should be in a low position with
approximately fifteen to twenty feet of line outside the tip of the rod.
The line should be straight so no slack has to be picked up. The rod is lifted and accelerated in a straight plane to about the
one o'clock position. Drifting back to the two o'clock position will
increase the distance of your stroke and ensure a better cast. The
acceleration should be towards the end of the stroke making sure not
to create an arc motion with the rod tip. You want to create a smooth, tight loop. At
the end of the stroke, hesitate and wait for the line to tighten behind
you. When the line is fully extended behind you it will "load" the rod. (create a bend in the
rod from the weight of the line) At this point you will start the
forward cast. The forward cast begins with the rod loaded at the 2
o'clock position. From here the rod is brought forward in the same plane
with an acceleration towards the end of the stroke which is at the ten
to eleven o'clock position. The rod will unload the line at the end of the
stroke and propel it forward.
The false cast is the overhead cast done
repeatedly without letting the fly hit the water. False casting is done
to dry off a fly, get more line out, or change the direction of your cast.
Limit the use of false casting as much as possible. When done over
the top of fish it may spook them. You also have a better chance of
catching fish the more your fly is in the water. False casting is still an
important part of fly fishing, it should just be done with moderation
The roll cast is used to
cast in areas where there is no room for a back cast. The water is a
necessary ingredient to having a successful roll cast. The water is
used to load the rod since a back cast can not be used. With this in
mind, practice this cast on a local pond or lake. Even a swimming pool
would suffice. To make a roll cast, bring the rod slowly behind you so
the line lays at your side in the water. Once the rod is behind you
(where the rod would be at the end of a back cast) simply make a
forward cast. Most people feel that a roll cast is a different stroke
then the overhead cast. Contrary, the same principles apply to this
cast. The resistance of the water will load the rod and help propel the
line forward. This is used in tight areas at short distances (up to
approximately forty feet for experienced casters).
Most fly-fishing can
be accomplished with the basic overhead cast. This must be practiced
to understand the loading and unloading of the fly rod. Practicing
anywhere there is enough room will help insure proper technique and
line handling. Once the fisherman has mastered this cast he can begin
to focus on the specialty casts, giving the fisherman the ability to
overcome many obstacles and enjoy fishing under any conditions. A few lessons
from local shops can help greatly. A fly casting lesson is usually not that expensive and
the time and money spent is well worth it.