Journey Through Fly Part 12: Casting – The Fine Tuning II

Anglers always try to get their baits as far out as possible especially when there are no fishes spotted nearby. This is the same for fly anglers. We want our flies to reach as far as possible to cover as much water as we can within each cast. Even more so if we spot a fish that is at a good distance away.

[  For fly on the other hand, the line is the one that carries the fly out….   ]

What Does It Take

To get our flies as far out as possible we must understand what’s involved in the process. These here are involved in the casting process:-

Weight of fly

Design of fly

Diameter of lines

Smoothness of line

Efficiency of the cast

The natural conditions during the cast

And a little secret boost that I will share later in the article

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Flies ready for action.

Weight Of Fly

When it comes to casting flies, lures, and baits, the weight plays a part. For bait casting and bottom fishing styles, the weight of lures, spoons, spinners, and baits play a part in going the distance because it is the weight of these things that actually determine the distance that they reach.

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Lightweight fly that it streamlined and looks attractive. 

For fly on the other hand, the line is the one that carries the fly out. Hence the weight of the line is very important. A lighter fly will need lesser energy to carry as compared to a heavier fly. Hence, we have to balance the weight of the fly use and the line. Of course what is important is the type of fly. That takes priority. No point putting a fly out that the fishes in the place you are fishing do not take.

Design Of Fly

Needless to say a small stream lined designed fly will need less energy to carry through the air as compared to one that has plenty of wind resistance. Hence, why flies that are tied to look like a real insect such as a flying locust (to human eyes), are usually best kept in a showcase.

A bushy designed fly will catch more air as compared to one that is more streamlined.

Diameter Of Lines

Thicker lines will have more drag or wind resistance, and will need more energy to carry the fly towards its destination. Thinner lines will have less drag and wind resistance, and will be more efficient at carrying out that fly. As for weight choose one that is best suited to the condition and style of fishing. So, I will leave weight as that for now.

Smoothness Of Line

As for lines I am not going to touch on sinking or floating lines. The focus here is more on the condition of the line instead of type. Lines do deteriorate over time whether they are used or not. Fly lines can become sticky and that will certainly affect the cast.

My experience is certainly worth telling here. The first time I tried to cast a fly (learning how to cast), I used a fly set that belonged to a friend thinking that would be the better alternative to learning instead of buying a set and using it to learn. I was wrong.

Lines that are sticky will be an issue when casting.

I went to the beach where I was working then (Berjaya Redang Beach Resort, now Taraas Beach And Spa Resort) and tried casting there with the help and guidance of a friend and loyal return guests. Learning with the winds blowing is one thing. The other is the difficulty of getting the line out.

After a while of trying, we headed to the restaurant by the beach for a drink. My friend took a look at the setup I was using and realized that the lines were sticky. He then shared what he noticed with me. Being new to fly fishing I took a closer look and it was then that I learn how a damaged fly line looks like.

An attractive fly will not get far out should lines be in not good condition.

My friend handed me his setup and I managed to get the line and fly out. Needless to say that I struggled at first but I did it over and over again with my friend’s set. In short, it is best to ensure that your lines are in good condition. Also, quality of lines is an important aspect too. So, it is worth spending the little more for better quality lines. They last longer and they cast better.

Practice makes better.

Efficiency Of The Cast

The efficiency of the cast is the movements from the beginning of the cast till the end of the cast where the fly touches the water. As mentioned above, the repeated front to back to front movements are to build up energy for the cast. The rebound of the rod tip shoots the lines and the fly out. Energy is transferred from the rod to the line.

Executed well and we have an efficient cast. But energy is reduced by friction from wind, rod guides, etc. Some things are out of our control. But as long as we follow through with the cast by pointing the rod at the direction of the cast and the fly; following its flight path (instead of challenging it), the cast will be good.

One of the ingredients of an efficient cast is smaller loops.

Natural Conditions

Well, it is going to take a heck of a lot of effort to get mother nature to stop blowing wind against your cast while you are fishing. But if the wind is in your favour, then good for you. We’ll not dwell too much on things that we cannot control.

Needless to say, if the above are a little off because of reasons that are not in your control, and sometimes even if they are, the choice may not be the best (example, the flies that you need to use vs. the natural conditions), or maybe the line that you need to you for the place where you are fishing; fine tuning still helps with your cast.

Casting a fly on a windy day does take a lot more practice.

The Secret

There is a little secret that will give you that extra boost during the cast. That secret is called the abrupt stop. This is applied at the end of your cast, right before you follow through with your rod. This abrupt stopping of the rod allows the line to flex the rod a little bit more, building up even more rebound energy before shooting out the line. This extra boost provides a little bit more energy to your line as it carries the fly out.

Fine tune your movements and using the secret or the final bit (abrupt halt) to get your flies further out into the pond or lake. This will allow you to cover more water and to help you reach or get closer to your target area. Do give it a try. Happy fishing and stay tuned for the next part of Journey Into Fly.

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