As a guide and while fly fishing and casting, I always get asked by the novice or experienced fly fishing angler, I want you to teach me how to cast or improve my casting. I also get asked can you give me a few pointers on my casting technique. I get angles that have never been fly fishing to the ones that have been fly fishing for 20 years and some that are even self taught.
The anglers that I teach usually have a basic understanding on what to do, but maybe not how to do. So I suggest fly fishing instruction or fly fishing lessons on casting. There are no predetermined ideas about casting. Most of the anglers are good casters but there are times I see an underpowered back cast with a wide loop and an overpowered forward cast with inconsistent loops. I sometimes see wide loops, and often times I see tailing loops, or the top of the fly line of the loop dips below the bottom leg of the fly line. Many anglers can cast to about 20-30 feet before the casting stroke falls apart. They catch fish because one often does not need to cast a great distance or range, but fatigue beginning in the day, find breeze or wind an unattainable task, and experience inadequate reliability. It’s an easy addiction to drop into, and breaking it takes a conscious effort. It’s worth restoring to obtain fly line loop control which is the first step in line control. Stop envisioning a fly rod and think of a bow and arrow. (I’m sorry to the archers, I’m about to expose the limit of my knowledge on this subject!) If you place an arrow on the string, but don’t pull back on the bow, nothing happens, right? If you pull back a little, you get a little distance, pull back more and get more distance, and so on. Now think of your fly rod and your fly fishing line. If one under powers the back cast, the forward cast suffers. The back cast sets up the forward cast. The cast should be symmetric back to front. These are a few of the fly fishing techniques or fly fishing tips you should be able to remember on the water of just practicing in your front yard or driveway.
Fly Fishing and Casting for the Forward and Back Cast for Beginners
Getting back to the angler and casting, I can visualize an underpowered back cast, often with no stop, a wide back loop followed by a mach speed forward cast with inconsistent loops and delivery as the caster tries to basically throw the line forward. One can actually hear and notice the difference between the back and forward casts.
So how can I fix this? Well here are my suggestions:
- You can’t fix what you can’t see. Look at your back loops. Either turn around and look, or cast in a horizontal plane.
- Make a crisp stop at the end of both the forward and back cast. You should begin to see tighter and more consistent loops.
- Try to put the same amount of power and speed into both the back cast and forward cast. Apply power smoothly and effortlessly.
- Slow down!!! Make crisp stops at the end of the back and forward cast, but try casting so slow you think the cast will fall apart. Gradually, the cast won’t work, but along the way you will see how little effort it takes to form a good loop and cast 30-40 feet. If you don’t see improved loops with this technique, please let me know. Do this and your casting will improve with less exhaustion and fatigue. You will have opened the door to casting quality and accuracy, distance and defeating the wind. Remember, if you don’t like your forward cast, check on what’s going on behind your back. Once you are on the water and you’ve practiced your fly fishing and casting, you can start working on your other fundamentals of the cast.