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Seven Steps To Learning Fly Casting


  1. Setup. Proper grip and stance.
  2. Pickup and delivery. (Stop and wait. Stop and wait, and deliver.)
  3. Pickup, false cast and delivery. (Stop and wait. Stop and wait. Stop and wait. Stop and wait and deliver.)
  4. Stop and hit the target. Where the rod stops determines where the fly goes. False cast and deliver.
  5. Introduce the line hand. False cast with both the line hand and rod hand moving in unison.
  6. Introduce line control. False cast and deliver. On the hand, off the hand.
  7. False cast, shoot line, and deliver. (Stop, let go and deliver.)

The set up

The preferred grip for holding the fly rod is with your thumb on top of the cork handle. This “handshake” style grip gives the caster the strength for endurance, control, and distance. Another style has the index finger on top of the cork. Some people prefer this grip for accuracy, but it can result in fatigue on longer casts and or when casting heavier line weights.

The preferred stance when practicing on land is at 45o from the direction of cast. This is referred to as an open stance and allows the caster to watch the back cast more easily to aid hand-eye coordination. Other, more direct, or “square stances” are also acceptable but require more effort to watch the line lay out on the back cast. Watching the backcast and focusing on the rod tip, will dramatically aid in determining where to stop the rod, and how long to wait to begin the forward cast. In the water, anglers generally stand fairly square to the target after checking for obstacles behind them that might interfere with their back cast.

The pick-up and delivery

Rule #1: The line follows the rod tip. To make a cast, one must stop the rod and allow the line to go past the tip.

The pick-up and delivery are very important because they get the line from the water and return it to the water so that the fly can be fished. The motion involves picking the line up from the water and stopping the rod to allow the line to pass by the tip, propelling the line high behind in back. When the line is nearly straight (which allows the hand time to prepare for the forward cast), move the rod forward dragging the line through the air and stop the rod to allow the line to once again pass the tip. The delivery is accomplished by simply allowing the line to pass the rod tip, waiting for the line to lay out fully, and then following the line to the water.

The Pickup
The Delivery

Pickup, false cast and delivery

Rule #2: The shape of the loop is determined by the path the rod tip travels before the stop.

False casting is the same casting stroke as normal casting but without the delivery of the fly. We false cast to shorten or lengthen our casts, change direction, dry our fly, or even delay our delivery to wait for a rising fish. False casting is also a good way to watch loops form and learn to control their shape. Pick up the line as usual. As the line lays out above and behind you, make your forward cast as usual. (Stop and wait.)

This time when the line lays out straight in front of you, rather than dropping the rod tip to the water, repeat your back cast. (Stop and wait again… Stop and wait, stop and wait.) Make several false casts in succession being careful to watch your loops as they pass the rod tip. Make the necessary adjustments to your stopping points to affect the shape of the loop. Make 3 or 4 false casts and then a delivery to a designated target. If the line piles up, your loop is too wide and you will need to move the rod tip in a straighter path.

Pickup, false cast, delivery, hit a target

Rule # 3: The fly will go in the direction the rod tip is traveling when it stops.

First, the fly will go where your rod tip is pointing when you stop it and form a loop. In a perfect world, your loops are tight and the line will lay out in a straight line to the target. Yet, there are additional factors that affect accuracy. For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume there are no external elements (i.e. wind) to affect the cast. The most accurate casts result from a perfectly perpendicular (not off-the-shoulder or side-armed) rod and a tight loop that lays out straight toward the target. We refer to this as a perpendicular plane. Since we almost always add more power than is needed to make the line lay out fully, the fly wants to continue beyond a straight line. Thus, for every degree a caster cants the plane of the rod off the shoulder, the fly will go a corresponding distance past the target. When accuracy is paramount, use a perpendicular cast to the target. To practice, pick a variety of targets around your practice area, and then add the elements (wind strength and direction, bushes, trees). As the distance increases, it will surely challenge your accuracy.

The line hand

Line control enables you to lengthen or shorten your line, set the hook when a fish strikes, add energy to the cast (hauling line), stop a fish from running, strip line in to land a fish and other techniques to help you cast and fish effectively. Once you have made your delivery, place the fly line under the index finger of your rod hand so that you are in control of your line.

  1. Before you begin pick up the line, take the line from your finger on your rod hand and hold it with your free hand (line hand).
  2. When casting, keep your line hand and line the same distance from your rod hand at all times. Hold your line hand next to or ahead of the rod handle. Move your two hands in unison as you false cast. This will avoid unintentionally pulling the line (hauling) or creating slack. It will also prevent you from inadvertently hooking the line on the butt of the rod handle or around the reel.

Line control

Line control enables you to lengthen or shorten your line, set the hook when a fish strikes, add energy to the cast (hauling line), stop a fish from running, strip line in to land a fish and other techniques to help you cast and fish effectively. Once you have made your delivery, place the fly line under the index finger of your rod hand so that you are in control of your line.

False cast, shoot line, and deliver

Shooting line enables you to cast farther. When you stop the rod to make a delivery and allow additional line to travel through the guides, you are shooting line.

Pull an additional 6 feet of line off of the reel and let it lay at your feet.

While holding the fly line in your line hand while you cast, make a false cast and create tight loops in front and back. (“Stop and wait. Stop and wait.”)

When you decide to deliver the line, add a little extra energy, stop the rod solidly to form the loop, and then let go of the fly line in your line hand and allow it to shoot through the guides adding length to your cast. You must stop the rod before letting go of the line or the line will not shoot. (“Stop and wait. Stop and let go.”)

Once the line is on the lawn or water, place the line under your rod hand finger, and strip in the additional line you shot by stripping it in behind your finger.

Controlling The Cast

Loop Control


By controlling the line, we are able to reach targets that are farther away with greater accuracy. We control the line by controlling the shape of the line as it travels past the tip of the rod. These shapes are called loops. There are several loop shapes. The most important aspect of fly casting is understanding and learning to control your loop shapes while casting.

Understanding the dynamics of casting allows you to analyze and correct your own casting problems, even when you are on the stream.

Loop Shape


Rule #2: The shape of the loop is determined by the path the rod tip travels before the stop.


Tight Loop
A tight loop is a fly line loop shape that is narrow in profile and is produced by moving the tip of the fly rod in a straight path with a small arc. Tight loops are easier to control, travel through the air more efficiently, and can control the delivery of the fly more accurately.
WideLoop
A wide loop is a fly line loop shape that is open and large in profile, and wind resistant making it difficult to cast with accuracy. These loops will not lay out fully and usually pile up well short of the intended target. Wide loops are produced by moving the tip of the rod in a wide arc.
Tailing Loop
A tailing loop is a fly line loop shape that is closed on itself in profile and is created by the abrupt application of power that causes the rod tip to travel in a concave path. Knotted tippets, and collapsed leaders are the undesirable results.
Note: Remember, to make your loops tighter, move the rod tip in a straighter path to the stop, with a shorter arc, and with slightly more energy. When practicing, 2 or 3 false casts is sufficient before your delivery.
Contact Information 

Address:
Streamside Orvis
300 E Front Street, Suite 101

Traverse City, MI 49684  

Phone:
(231) 933-9300  

Email:
StreamsideOrvis@mail.com

Store Hours

Monday–Thursday
10am–5pm

Friday
10am–7pm

Saturday
10am–6pm

Sunday
11am–4pm



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