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Fly Casting

Accurate and skillful fly casting improves your catch with better positions, less disturbance, and longer distance. casting can only be learned with practice.

See: [Trout Fly Fishing] [Saltwater Fly Fishing]
[Balanced Fly Fishing Gear] [Fly Tying] [Fly Casting]

Good Fly Casting Improves the GameAccurate fly casting will improve your fishing. Accurate and skillful fly casting improves your catch. A well made cast better positions a fly where it can be noticed by fish, presents the fly with less disturbance and where it will follow a more realistic drift, and reaches more distant rises and pools. Accurate and skillful casting can only be learned with practice. Fishing will improve your cast but you must practice off the water for optimum results. [See: Art1, Art2].

Practice allows you to focus on casting fundamentals without distraction. Practice off the water in places such as a lawn or pool to improve the fundamentals without serious obstruction. Also, if possible, practice at a local pond or stream where you can put yourself near realistic obstacles you would normally expect on the water. You should learn to cast accurately at short distance (30 feet or so) and then work up to greater and greater distances. Many fly fishers do not need to cast more than 50 feet although some fishing conditions may require much greater distance. Practice with a realistic rigging; the author practices with an actual fly on the leader with the hook bend straightened and the bard flat; others just tie on yarn. The author casts to a specific target roughly the size of his hat. [See: Art1].

You can improve your casting quickly by following some basic fly casting principles:

  1. Aim your fly - The fly and fly line will go in the direction you point the rod tip during the cast.
  2. Work on your timing - Good fly casting is not strength related; it is timing related. Timing is a very wise use of your practice time. Stopping the rod after the casting stroke is critical to forming the casting loop as it allows the rod to unload thereby casting the line.

    To know how much line you have out mark your fly line with an indelible marker. I mark my 6 wt. with:

    • 1 stripe at 30 feet,
    • 2 stripes at 50 feet,
    • 1 stripe at 60 feet,
    • 2 stripes at 70 feet, and
    • 3 stripes at 80 feet.

    I am not a long distance caster and this schemes works for me. There are many schemes and they should very somewhat with line weight.

  3. Do not make distance more important than technique - Proper stroke and stop of the rod are a required fundamental to good fly casting. The proper grip is important. Concentrate on maintaining good casting loops. Once you can repeat a controlled cast push yourself to greater (measured) distances [See Art. 1]. Have a skilled caster watch and critique your casting. Casting principles remain the same for all casting positions.
  4. Your cast will necessarily vary - Casting arcs are small for short casts and large for long casts. The farther you intend to cast, the higher you must aim with your rod tip.
  5. Work on problems - If you backcast is hitting the ground the tip is too low - stop the rod higher on the backcast. If you whip-snap the fly or you have tailing loops you may be stroking too hard - stroke easier and concentrate on turnover, a stiffer wrist may help so watch your grip. If the cast dies before reaching the target - make a firm stroke with a firm wrist then stop the rod immediately after the stroke so it unloads.

A few minutes of practice a day will make you a much better caster fairly quickly. My doctor once prescribed fly casting for me as a way to strengthen shoulder muscles that I had sprained. An instructural DVD is very valuable in improving your cast.

Lefty Kreh on Fly Casting
A new breed of fly fishing videos
This is Lefty's newest DVD on fly casting. He's developed some new exercises to help you become a better caster and a variety of casts that will help you in certain fishing situations. The DVD has an optional 2nd angle viewing on most demonstrations to give you a better understanding on how your body motion affects the motion of the rod and line.
See also

Scientific Anglers DVD
Introduction to Fly Casting
Fly-casting team Brian and Judith O'Keefe use superb visuals to help you learn basic casting techniques. Presented material covers proper stance, the importance of stroke, 10-to-2 motion, grip techniques and much more. 27 minutes. DVD.
See also
Joan Wolff's
Fly Casting Technique
This remarkable book is for everyone who fishes with a fly rod - or wants to learn. With a fly rod, fishing for trout, salmon, bass, pike, panfish, or saltwater gamefish can become the most exciting kind of sport there is. Joan Wulff's Fly Casting Techniques pioneers a set of casting "mechanics" and offers precise descriptive terms of every part of the cast. There are sections on line speed, improving accuracy and distance, loop control, shooting lines, aerial mending, the double haul, correcting common mistakes, and much, much more.This is the most comprehensive book ever written on fly casting - and it's for everyone from beginning to experienced anglers. (81/2 X 103/4, 256 pages, bw photos, diagrams, charts)

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Good Fly Casting Links (Add URL)
Fly Casting LinkFundamentals of fly casting - a Fly Fisherman Magazine article
Fly Casting 101 - by Capt. Pat Damico
Fly Casting LinkVirtual Fly Caster - Dedicated to the enhancement of fly casting instruction, and is specifically for those interested in becoming certified Federation of Fly Fishers™ (FFF) fly casting instructors.
Fly Casting LinkLetsFlyFish - Double haul and single haul fly casting
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