Going the Distance Casting

Going the Distance Casting

Let me preface this blog by saying I am a fisherman, who loves to cast. I am not a caster, who loves to fish. I began casting in my teens with no formal instruction. Then, the cast was just a means of delivering the fly. Now, I find great pleasure in not only the fishing, but also the casting. I highly suggest reading Joan Wulff's Dynamics of Fly Casting for a detailed and succinct analysis of the physics of casting. She is a great mentor of mine and I don't believe anybody does a more thorough job of analyzing the cast than her.

The first question I am usually asked by a student in a saltwater school is how far should I be able to cast?. There are a few answers to that question. For sight fishing in the salt, superstar casts are not necessary. An angler should be able to accurately cast 50-60 feet IN EVERY DIRECTION. This means against the wind, with the wind and with the wind blowing across either shoulder. Learn to work with the wind. Believe it or not, it is your friend. When it is howling, you can get much closer to the fish and they are far less wary than they would be given calm conditions. Generally, the angler does not benefit from making excessively long casts when sight fishing, because it is harder to discern the reactions of a fish at great distances. That is not to say that a "hail mary" shot won't catch you a fish, but the ability to see and respond to the fish's movements will enable you to fish the fly more effectively.

Conversely, long casts are advantageous in situations that require the angler to prospect for fish or "blind cast". For instance, striper fisherman cast extremely long distances. These casts enable them to cover water, attracting the fish into their zone and ultimately to their fly. An angler also use distance casts to help sink a fly. Heavily weighted shooting heads can descend to depths of 60 feet or more with distance and a waiting period. Although this can be an arduous task, it is effective when fish are deeper in the water column.


The following are a few things I think about when airing out my fly line:


1). No slack. Keep your rod tip down and make certain that your fly line is free of slack before you begin your cast. If there are wiggles, zigs or zags in your fly line, most of your initial stroke will be simply removing slack. You will not be loading the rod.

2). Use a smooth, strong acceleration all the way to the stop. Decelerating will reduce line speed and result in a loop that is neither tight nor aerodynamic.

3.) Keep it tight. The rod tip must travel or track in a straight line. This also tightens up the loop.

4). No creeping. Don't try to rush your forward cast. Wait for your back cast to unroll completely before you initiate the forward stroke. Think about dragging your rod and fly line through the air instead of punching the rod tip.


5). Pay attention to your grip. To drive that last cast, give the cork an extra firm squeeze.

6). Shorten it up. If your casting is off, reel in some line and make shorter casts with better loops. Also, try not to carry too much line in the air.

Again, these are tips that have helped me improve my distance casting. I suggest a 7 or 8 weight rod for beginners. Sometimes it helps me to work on one element of the cast repeatedly. If you start to feel fatigued or if you feel you are slipping back into old habits, stop and come back to it later. Lastly, enjoy the process. While goals are essential, it is important to take pleasure in the practicing and, ultimately, the casting. Go launch one today!


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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Master fly tier Charlie Craven discuss the tools and materials needed to tie the Black Beauty.

Bahamas - Bonefish

Bahamas - Bonefish

Conway casts for his personal best bonefish while fishing the Grand Bahama islands.

 Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

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

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Drift boats help you search through miles of river quickly and effectively. Here's the top models on the market today. Gear

Top Drift Boats of 2019

John Fedorka - April 02, 2019

Drift boats help you search through miles of river quickly and effectively. Here's the top...

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in United States

Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado

Steven B. Schweitzer - May 03, 2016

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in " Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado."

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the world. Worldwide

5 Best Trout Fishing Spots in the World

Ross Purnell, Editor

Fly-Fisherman Editor Ross Purnell shares his top five best trout fishing destinations in the...

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp flies! Flies

The 15 Best Carp Flies

Jay Zimmerman

As you explore your home water, keep in mind what they are eating to select the best carp...

See More Trending Articles

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

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