Fly Casting Tips
Having solid fly casting skills are of utmost importance if you want to be a successful fly angler. Casting doesn't take much strength or stamina—just good form and timing. While not everyone casts the exact same way, investing in a casting class is a great idea. An instructor can show you exactly what needs work and correct you on the spot. Below are some basic recommendations that will hopefully help you get on your way when starting out!
1.) Stance: A comfortable stance is with your opposite foot forward. If you're right handed, stand with the left foot forward, and vice versa. This allows you to easily turn to watch your backcast.
2.) Hand Grip: Grab the rod's handle just below the top end with your thumb extended on top and reel hanging straight down.
3.) Wrist and Elbow: While casting, eliminate excess wrist movement. Using a little "wrist" in each stroke is normal and can be quite beneficial if done right, but too much will cause your loop to breakdown...among other issues! Keep your elbow low and close to the body.
4.) No Slacking: When beginning your cast, start with the rod tip low and keep slack out of the line for maximum efficiency. Don't rip the line off the water or grass—smoothly raise the rod tip and gradually accelerate into the proper casting stroke.
5.) The Long and Short: Avoid making a rainbow-like arch through the air with the rod tip. The rod tip should travel on a smooth, straight path back and forth without dipping too low on either end. Remember that the length of your stroke depends on how far you're casting. A short cast requires only a short casting stroke, but as the cast becomes longer the stroke can become longer too.
6.) Accelerate Then STOP: The last part of each stroke should always be faster than its beginning. Always SMOOTHLY accelerate the rod to a sudden and complete stop.This helps load the rod correctly and build line speed which will both aid in giving you that coveted tight loop. The amount of power applied is proportional to the distance you're casting, so you won't be using as much power/speed on a short 20-foot cast compared to a 60 footer.
7.) Timing: On the end of each stroke, start the next stroke when your loop fully straightens out. Starting the next movement too fast or too late won't allow the rod to flex or "load" at the optimal time to transfer power into the next movement.
8.) Follow-through: When you're ready to lay your line out there, don't forget to follow-through. As your front cast completes, smoothly drop your rod tip to follow the line downwards at the same speed.
*Final Note: Don't expect to learn how to fly cast while actually fishing. Not only will it frustrate you and possibly others nearby, but learning to cast with a fly tied on can be downright dangerous! Pick an open, calm area where you'll be casting onto grass or water. Deserted parking lots may sound good, but hard, rough surfaces can damage the line. Try casting just the line itself, or maybe tie on a small tuft of bright yarn to the end of a leader to simulate a fly. Be safe, take your time, and enjoy the learning process!