Jurney Into Fly: Learning To Cast A Fly
Flies are super light and most of them are in no way aerodynamic in shape. Thus casting a fly will take lots of practise. To get one’s fly out, one will have to use one’s line to carry one’s fly out to an intended target. That is how to cast a fly, in a nutshell. Of course a “nutshell” is just that, a shell without much substance. So how do you actually cast out your fly?
The Science Of Motion
Moving your fishing rod (motion) allows you to use motion to get your line and fly out. Every movement of the rod allows you to get some line out. The more parallel front to back to front movements you make, the more line can be released depending on the distance you want. But again, it is easier said than done.
For beginners, the best way to start is to practise the said motion over and over again. Here is a step by step way to start. I will assume that you have your entire fly rod and reel setup and ready. I will also assume that you have a hook less fly in hand; one that you will learn to cast with. Do put on a hat and a pair of sunglasses or glasses for safety reasons. Also ensure that you are in a reasonably open area without trees and people behind you as well as in front of you (within casting distance).
Rod pointed to the ground in front.
Let out about 12 feet of line in front of you or a length of line double the length of your rod. Keep your rod pointed towards the ground in front of you. Secure the line to your rod by holding it against your rod with your pointer finger.
Note 1: since you are learning to cast, you will want to be able to see exactly where your fly is at all times so that you can execute the next movement with good timing.
Note 2: keep in mind that your rod will be canted or angled slightly below the vertical position during the cast and not held in an upright manner with the motion of the rod tip moving on a continuous and horizontal front to back/back to front movement (not curved or arced). If possible, stand facing both your front and back cast so that you are able to see the movement of the flyline.
Hold the line between the rod grip and your finger(s) whichever way that you are comfortable with.
Firm up your wrist to have good results. If possible have no wrist movement for a start. Raise your rod using your arm (forearm) to begin the casting sequence. Notice that the line and fly gets lifted up as you raise your arm.
Keep your eyes on the fly. The line will fly through the air with the fly in tow. It will move from the front to the back and vice versa. Allow the line to roll until it is completely open or until it has straighten out. Practise this ‘false casting’ taking 2-3 cycles before placing the fly to the ground or water. Always stop your rod decisively on the front or back cast as this propels the line in the direction of the ‘stop’.
Keep the rod canted and try to keep your wrist locked.
To present your fly to an intended target, move the rod from back to front, make a stop on the end of the forward stroke and lower the rod tip until it points in front of you. The best scenario is to have the fly and flyline land on the water at the same time.
To cast again, just lift the rod, gently peeling the flyline off the water surface and go through the steps from 1 to 3 again. Practise this over and over again. The objective of this exercise is to create muscle memory and to get used to the forward and backward motion. Also try to feel the weight of the line via the flex of the rod. Practise until you can tell when the line has open fully both at the front and the back, without having to look.
Use a fly or something similar that is visible at all times.
Once you have managed to catch the feel and have gotten used to it, we will then move on to shooting line. Practise these movements over and over again as practise makes you better. In the next issue we will look at more basic principles of the fly cast. Stay tuned.