Skip to main content

Casting: Breaking the Wrist

Casting: Breaking the Wrist

Many casting instructors teach anglers not to break their wrists during the cast. Breaking your wrist prevents the rod tip from traveling in a straight plane, and most importantly, can create tailing loops on the back and forward casting stokes. While this is true, many anglers don't realize the benefits of breaking their wrists to create power during the casting stroke. They lose the chance to make a quick cast that can shoot numerous feet of line with one back and forward cast.

I realized the benefits of breaking your wrist on the backcast while watching those Best of the West distance-casting championships at the International Sportsmen's Expo.

Some of the competitors would use what looked to me like an incorrect backcastthen they would make a 115-foot cast with a 5-weight rod. The sheer power they were storing in the rod made it possible to cast so far.

Here's how it works: When you pull the rod back on the backward casting stroke, briefly pause the tip at two o'clock and allow a tight loop to begin rolling behind you.


Then, instead of keeping the rod in this position, allow your arm to drift back while you begin to break your wrist. Stop the rod at three o'clock, with the rod tip pointed straight behind you. Once you reach the flat-rod position, stop and begin the forward cast by rolling your wrist forward until the rod is back in the straight plane of two o'clock.


Then push the rod forward on the front casting stroke while performing a haul. Stop at ten o'clock in front of you, and then extend the bend from breaking and rolling your wrist and match that with a haul. Stop abruptly at ten o'clock in front of you. The rod will bend so aggressively it looks like it is going to snap, and low-­quality graphite will do just that.

This method provides a huge advantage when using streamers or casting heavy nymph rigs in tight quarters or when you need to cover a lot of ground without overcasting and spooking fish. When using streamers you can strip line into the bank pickup with one broken wrist backcast and shoot 2030 feet with one single casting stroke.

Landon Mayer is a guide on Colorado's South Platte River and is the author of Colorado's Best Fly Fishing: Flies, Access, and Guide's Advice for the State's Premier Rivers (Headwater Guides, 2012). This feature is an excerpt from his most recent book 101 Trout Tips (Stackpole Books, Headwater Books, 2014)

Breaking the Wrist Step 1 of 5

Starting with your line taut behind you on the backcast, allow your wrist to break with the rod at the two o'clock position. To visualize the proper position of the wrist, imagine you are holding a baseball bat with the top of the bat resting on your shoulder. Photos: Jay Nichols

Breaking the Wrist Step 2 of 5

Push the rod straight forward with your elbow at your side. At the same time, push your thumb straight forward as if you are trying to pinch your index finger through the cork handle of the rod.

Breaking the Wrist Step 3 of 5

Your wrist should roll and 'break ' forward, increasing the speed and power of your cast.

Breaking the Wrist Step 4 of 5

Stop the rod at ten o'clock on the forward cast in the direction of where you want to present your rig. A tight loop will begin to unroll in front of you.

Breaking the Wrist Step 5 of 5

If you cast correctly, the line and loop will travel at maximum speed, without any shock waves in the line from power being applied too early or too late in the cast.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

A backhand cast is when you use your backcast to deliver the fly.

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity

Rio Technical Trout

Rio Technical Trout

Rio Technical Trout

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Some of the best scud fishing occurs during higher flows, or periods of extreme variation.Scud Patterns for Trout Beginners

Scud Patterns for Trout

Pat Dorsey

Some of the best scud fishing occurs during higher flows, or periods of extreme variation.

Here are seven important strategies from some of the world's best nymph fishermen.7 Tips for Rigging Your Nymphs like a Pro Beginners

7 Tips for Rigging Your Nymphs like a Pro

George Daniel - March 11, 2019

Here are seven important strategies from some of the world's best nymph fishermen.

It's a land of beautiful rivers, friendly people, and like a magnet it will draw you back.South Island: The Mount Everest of Trout Fishing Worldwide

South Island: The Mount Everest of Trout Fishing

Barry Beck | Photography & Text - September 25, 2019

It's a land of beautiful rivers, friendly people, and like a magnet it will draw you back.

Best Panfish Flies Best Panfish Flies Flies

Best Panfish Flies

Skip Morris

Best Panfish Flies

See More Trending Articles

More Experts

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast Experts

George Daniels Hauling Tuck Cast

Fly-Fisherman Staff - July 10, 2020

"The Professor" George Daniel demonstrates how to stop the rod high, and haul the line to make...

There have been many excellent books on fly casting but nothing quite like this one.Performance Fly Casting Experts

Performance Fly Casting

John Randolph - January 05, 2012

There have been many excellent books on fly casting but nothing quite like this one.

You need to add these methods to your arsenal.4 Unconventional Competition Fly-Fishing Rigs Experts

4 Unconventional Competition Fly-Fishing Rigs

Jay Nichols - March 18, 2020

You need to add these methods to your arsenal.

Try some of these tips the next time you find yourself face to face with a quality trout, you may be pleased with the outcome.Mastering the Short Game Experts

Mastering the Short Game

Landon Mayer - March 27, 2019

Try some of these tips the next time you find yourself face to face with a quality trout, you...

See More Experts

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Fly Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now