In fly fishing, your cast is affected by a multitude of things, both major and minor. Although this blog post won’t fix your cast, it’ll offer two of the most common things that fly casters of all skill levels can be held back by. If you feel that your casts aren’t going as far as they should be, aren’t straightening out all the way, or are lacking power (or maybe all three), try again with these two tips in mind.
Tip #1: You might be getting overly cocky. What this means is that you are letting your wrist flex too much on the backcast, therefore letting the rod move too far back. Keep in mind the when you are casting you should have a stiff wrist. A relaxed wrist will lead to an overshoot in rod motion and a loss of power, because your arm will stop but your wrist will keep going, slower and with less purpose. If you’re relaxing your wrist too much, try keeping the rod butt pressed to your forearm by pinning it under your sleeve or a rubber band.
Tip #2: You may not be stopping hard enough. Each time you move the rod, whether on the back or forward cast, there is a crucial stop that must happen. Picture this scenario: I’m at the edge of the water, thirty feet of fly line out in front of me, and I’m ready to cast. My rod tip goes from being pointed down at the water to straight above my head pointed at the sky. Do I stop crisply when my rod tip reaches this position, or gently press the brakes like rolling a car up to a stop sign? Those of you who said I need to stop hard are correct: A hard stop will catapult the fly line with more power than if I used the previously mentioned stop sign approach. Try it for yourself! The stop sign approach will result in a loss of power, which also means a cast that isn’t straight. In sum, a harder stop equals a farther, straighter and more accurate cast. **Caution, although rare, it is possible to stop to hard!**
These two tips interlock with each other regarding when to stop: How far back should your cast go before I stop? The answer to this question will change as your casting distance changes (see our 10-and-2 casting blog here). Basically, your rod movement will increase with cast length. A twenty foot cast requires much less of a front-to-back or back-to-front motion than a fifty foot cast, and a fifty foot cast will require a harder stop than a twenty foot cast.
Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing