The W-Word: Wind Casting

The W-Word: Wind Casting
Permit floating under the chop.

Believe it or not, in the salt, wind casting is your friend. Before you start thumping your fist, let me explain. As long as the fish are settled into the weather pattern and the barometer remains relatively stable, the wind is advantageous. Fish are much less wary when the water has a little chop on the surface, so casts need not be long and presentations may be sub par. Catching a tailing permit on a slick, calm morning is challenging and often the fish "spooks" from the crunch of a push pole digging into the bottom or the shadow of a fly rod waving in the distance. Sometimes it even seems as though cautious fish can sense your gaze and take off accordingly. Add a little wind-created surface disturbance and your catch-to-farm ratio will increase. 

The wind also presents a "fun" challenge for those that embrace it. The key is to become very familiar and comfortable with your fly rod. Practice casting with the wind blowing against and with you in every direction. Learn the basics for coping with high winds, but be creative. The fish don't know how the fly landed in their world; so the more relaxed you are with winging it, the more fish you will catch. Below are a few tips and techniques that will help you be at peace with the wind. 

1). Minimize the number of false casts. "Just one more" will usually get you into trouble and not improve your distance.

2). Tight loops. Be certain that your rod tip is traveling in a straight line to ensure that your loops are tight. In addition, stop the rod hard at the finish and drive the tip. Big, lazy loops do not penetrate the wind.


3). Wet loading. Bulky or heavy flies are more difficult to cast in the wind, especially when using the saltwater quick cast. Flick your line and fly behind you or a safe distance from your target. When you begin your stroke, the water's tension will assist in loading the rod.


Tarpon smashing the fly on a windy day.

4). Oval cast (a.k.a. Belgium cast). When the wind is blowing directly into your casting arm, this cast will help keep the fly away from your body. Casting with your opposite arm (non-dominate) will also achieve this.


5). Back cast. When it is not possible to position yourself for the shot, presenting the fly with your back cast is a game changer. In addition, the oval cast does not work when casting through the boat with the wind blowing against your casting arm. You'll end up piercing your guide or wrapping your fly around the poling platform or center console. Use the back cast to keep the fly away from your guide's and your bodies.

6). Roll cast. When casting with the wind, do not fight it. No need to struggle with a back cast. The roll cast will put the fly where it needs to go. You'll be amazed by the distance and accuracy of this cast in windy conditions.

Roll with it and learn to love the wind.


Recommended for You

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies. Bass

How to Catch Smallmouth Bass on Topwater Flies

Dave Karczynski and Tim Landwehr

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies.

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that occurred on what appeared to be a routine guide trip on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in a shallow lagoon near San Pedro, Brazil. Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly. Fly Tying

Tying the Strong Arm Merkin

David W. Skok - July 09, 2019

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly.

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.

 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 Stories

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most common applications you'll encounter on the water. How-To

Picking the Perfect Fly-Fishing Leader

George Daniel - January 22, 2018

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most...

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones are brightly colored treasures. Trout

Alpine Lakes for Remote Monsters

Landon Mayer - April 18, 2018

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones...

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...

See More Stories

More Learn

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done. Fly Tying

Tying the Kamikaze Sculpin

Charlie Craven

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done.

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

Locating fish is the first step to a successful outing. Beginners

Reading the Water: 12 Locations That Hold Trout & Bass

Ross Purnell

Locating fish is the first step to a successful outing.

See More Learn

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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