How to Cast Your New Fly Rod the Easy Way
So you have now gone out and purchase a fly rod but not sure what to do with it?
I was there. In your shoes.
I had just spent a couple of hundred bucks on fly fishing equipment and did not know how to use it.
Lucky for me, the fly shop that I purchased from, offered a free casting lesson class on Saturday morning to show the basics. And that is exactly what it was “The Basics”
The instructor taught the class a few simple movements to get the fly moving through the air. However, it was not as easy as I thought it was going to be.
Why do you care about my story on how I learned?
Let’s dive into what they taught me I will fill in the gaps on what YOU NEED to learn to make it all work together and getting your flies in the water.
Fly Fishing Reel and Rod Terms
- The Reel is what holds the line, allows you to retrieve your line back after the cast and reel in your fish when hooked.
- The Rod is the long fiberglass shaft. It is what causes the line to generate speed to cast the fly line forward and into the water. The fly rod is the most important aspects of fly fishing.
- The Line is weighted giving you the ability to cast an unweighted fly (your lure) into the water.
There are a lot of variations to the equipment or gear that you can use when fly fishing. We have created a great article breaking down the further basics of fly fishing you can read here about the gear needed to get started.
Here is what I chose, a great combo from Orvis, the Encounter 8-weight 9′ Fly Rod Outfit. Perfect middle of the road combo for both fresh water and saltwater fishing that has not let me down yet.
The Basic Roll Cast
This cast is a must to get started. To begin fly fishing you are going to pull about 25 to 30 feet of line off of your reel and allow it to coil on the ground in front of you.
Make sure to pull the leader past your rod tip to allow the fly line out of the tip of the rod until a length is touching the ground in front of you.
Next, perform the Roll Cast to straighten out your line. Once the line is straight out in front you can either begin fishing or begin the Basic Cast to get more distance to your cast.
This video by FFF certified casting instructor Capt. Chris Myers of Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters is one I used to connect some of the dots.
The Backcast and why it is important
Creates line speed. Without line speed, you do not have a cast. As you pull the rod back into the back cast is causes a loop (candy cane loop) effect. As the loop straightens behind you, then you move into the forward cast.
Control Wrist and Rod position are important throughout the entire cast.
You must work in a straight line fashion.
Pro Tip: If you struggle with wrist break during cast losing the straight line motion, place your thumb on top of the rod handle. This little quick fix corrected this fault in my cast almost immediately.
As you go through the back cast make sure to keep your hand moving in the same straight line as the rod. If you break this straight line you will lose the loop that creates the line speed resulting in slack in the line and a terrible cast.
This was one of the hardest things for me to grasp when I started fly fishing causing a lot of grief and bad casting habits.
“Control Back loop shape and all else will fall into place; literally.”
If you maintain the loops through your cast you will generate all the line speed you need to have pinpoint casting.
But, once you lose the loop, all efforts go right into the pooper.
YOU GET A PILE of slackline at the end of a very short cast…
Pooper… Pile … Get it?
Haha. Funny right?
Anywho. Let’s Move on!
[Tweet “Maintain a good loop and everything else almost falls into place.”]
Forward Cast and Why it is important
- The false cast, not shown in this video, is when you forward cast and bring up the line back into the backcast to generate more speed for longer casts. You need to be careful with the false cast as if brought back too fast you will lose the loop and your line speed resulting in a pile of slack line.
- Control Wrist and Rod position as stated before must work in a straight line fashion. As you go through the forward cast make sure to keep your hand moving in the same straight line as the rod. If you break this straight line you will lose the loop that creates the line speed resulting in slack in the line and a terrible cast.
- Control the line and hand movement at the end of the forward cast are just as important. Once you lay the fly down (that’s the lingo for making the fly hit the water) just need to get the line ready to retrieve. By using your index finger on your right hand (if right-handed) which is holding the rod, gently hook your finger around the line to control tension. Now with your left index and thumb, pull the line back to you in short bursts. This is called “striping the line”.
There are many other ways to retrieve the line back you creating different swim patterns for the fly which we will get into more depth in a later post some make sure to become a tribesman and have that article delivered straight to your inbox. (Coming soon!)
Release and Line Retrieval
When to shoot the line?
Setting the hook
Hookset on a fly rod is really simple.
As you are striping the line back to you with your left hand and feel the fish take you fly, strip and hold the fly line firm in your hand. As the fish pulls, the hook will set in the mouth and the fight will begin.
That’s all there is to it.
Fighting the fish can get a little tricky and there are several different ways to fight according to the type of fish you catch. We will dive deeper into this in another article, so for now, work on the simple hookset mentioned above and get comfortable with your gear before we move to more advanced techniques.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Now that you have a better understanding of the required movements to casting your fly rod and you should feel comfortable with the casting. Remember these techniques are not set in stone and you can make adjustments if needed to fit your style.
That is the beauty of fly fishing. It is more like an art form as you begin crafting your own style. Just use the easy to learn techniques discussed as a baseline to start and progress to your true custom style.
We will dive deeper into more advanced casts in the next article to our series, but for now, work on the two casts and start catching fish on your new fly fishing rod.
- What casts have you tried as of now?
- Where are you struggling with your casting techniques?
- What fish are you targeting?