Fly-fishing-casting. It only takes a little practice.


For many people the most difficult part of fly-fishing is learning how to cast. Casting is one of those things in life that cannot be learned from a book. You need to get out there on the water and ‘have a go’. Thankfully it is not as complicated as it looks.

Novices tend to fret about how far they can cast, but when you first start distance should not be an issue. In fact most fish you catch will be no more than 30ft from where you are standing. Instead concentrate on perfecting the correct technique. You don’t even need a river or lake just an open space with enough room to cast your line.

To begin with there is no need to attach a fly or leader to your line. You are learning to cast the fly-line. Leaders and flies can come later.

Unwind several metres of line and lay it on the ground . Grip the handle of the rod firmly with your thumb along the top of the handle, fingers underneath and your thumbnail facing up. (see diagram). Your elbow should be tucked in and your wrist should be kept rigid as you lift the rod. Some anglers are more comfortable with their elbow away from their body, this is ok as long as you use only your forearm to power the rod and not your wrist.

Before you make your first cast you should position the rod so that it is angled slightly upwards (see fig 1). Bring the rod back in a smooth arc and when it reaches the 10 o’clock position snap it back until it is vertical. You should pause here momentarily, this will cause the line to straighten out behind the rod, when it is almost straight snap it forward, then as it passes through the 10 o clock position again let the rod drift down to a near horizontal position.

Believe it or not the motion required is identical to that of throwing a potato off a fork. With a piece of potato on the tines, throw a piece of potato behind you (keeping your wrist rigid and your elbow by your side) and then throw another piece forward. These backward and forward movements are identical to the ones that are used in fly-fishing-casting.

When you have completed the cast, the line should stretch before you on the ground in a straight line.

Once you have mastered this basic manoeuvre you will be ready to move on and try it with the tapered nylon lead attached.

One more technique you need to master is ’false casting’. It is a fly-fishing-casting technique where you lengthen your cast as you keep the fly-line in the air. To do this you begin your cast as normal. However, as you bring your rod forward on the power stroke and reach the 10 o clock position instead of following through and continuing with your cast you go into the reverse power stroke. This will lengthen your cast as you keep the fly-line in the air behind you.

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