Tips on Mastering the Fly Fishing Cast
Fly fishing is very popular, but it isn’t an easy sport to learn. To be successful, you need some specific skills and a lot of practice. Probably the hardest skill to master is the technique of casting, which differs from regular fishing. In fly fishing, the weight of the fishing line bends the rod, which results in stored energy. When the casting movement ends, it is that stored energy that plays out the line.
Understanding the physics of the movement, though, isn’t enough. You also need to understand the art of the fly fishing cast. That is the more difficult part. There are several tips listed below, however, that should put you on the right road to mastering the fly fishing cast.
It Isn’t All in the Wrist
Have you ever heard someone explain an amazing action by saying, “It’s all in the wrist?” Sure you have. We all have. That doesn’t apply to fly fishing, though, at least not during the casting movement. Keep your wrist straight while casting and use your arm instead. It’s much stronger.
Pick Up the Slack
Keep your fishing line fairly taut. If you don’t take out the slack, the fishing line won’t move during the back cast until the slack is gone. That’s just wasted movement. Plus, you lose some of the momentum of the cast, which means you won’t get much distance.
Smooth is Better than Fast
Keep the backward and forward movement of your fly fishing cast very smooth. You aren’t in a hurry. Well, maybe you are when you see a huge salmon heading upstream, but the point is to get the line to the fish, and fluid motion keeps the physics where you want it. The only time speed or jerky movements are necessary is just before you end the cast. You accelerate, and then stop suddenly. The abrupt stop is the difficult part, and is best done with a flick of the wrist. (Yes, now is the time to bend the wrist).
If you spot a huge salmon, you’re going to get excited, but don’t. At least, don’t tense up your body. If you keep your body relaxed, the cast will flow more smoothly, and you’ll have greater success at placing your line exactly where you want it. So, take a moment and take a deep breath. You’ll be happier with the results.
Just Do It
You can read books, articles and listen to lectures about the best way to learn how to fly fish cast, but none of that can substitute for getting out there and doing it. Find your favorite stream and practice. Give yourself a “target” and see if you can gently land the hook on it. When you’re practicing, keep telling yourself that when you stop the forward cast, the fishing line follows the tip of the fly fishing rod and projects forward. It’s the fundamental action of the cast.
Most of all have fun! Don’t tense up over methods and techniques. If you get stuck, take a break and watch the experienced fly fishermen. In time, you’ll be one of them. Good luck!