Fly Casting - Accuracy Above All

 Fly fishing and fly casting - Accuracy above all. With Joe Mahler “Now, drop it in there again, but this time a quarter-inch to the left.” I had just placed my fly in a doormat-sized opening in the mangroves at 75 feet, and that was as close to an “Atta-boy” as I was going to get from Captain Kevin Merritt.

fly rod casting tips

Fly fishing and fly casting - Accuracy above all. With Joe Mahler

Fly rods and fly casting accuracy

 

“Now, drop it in there again, but this time a quarter-inch to the left.” I had just placed my fly in a doormat-sized opening in the mangroves at 75 feet, and that was as close to an “Atta-boy” as I was going to get from Captain Kevin Merritt. No fish struck on that particular cast, but a feisty 22” redfish nailed it on the next one. Those two casts were not luck (maybe a little), but rather the result of hours of focused practice on the grass. 

Accuracy skills are probably the least-practiced, but most valuable of all casts. The most common request I get from students is “I want to work on my distance”. Ironically, the best way to increase distance is to start with accuracy. Here are a few tips. 

Do a One-Eighty

The first important element in accuracy casting is the back cast. The most efficient and dead-on casts will feature a back cast that is 180 degrees from the target. Straight back, straight forward and there you have it. By the same token, the trajectory of the line should follow that same 180 degree rule, with a shorter cast having a steeper downward angle than a long cast. 

Take a stance

 With all fly casting, there are a variety of styles that work. The one that works best for me is to square-off to the target. Point your eyes, shoulders, toes and even your belt buckle at the target. For the best results, I prefer a closed stance – placing my right foot slightly forward (the left foot for a left-handed caster). This helps to keep the rod tip traveling in a straight-line path. Try engaging the body by gently gliding back and forth, but not rocking. This will allow you to move the rod in a very straight path and decrease arm movement.

The eyes have it

Serious cyclists know that when you are in danger of crashing, you should not look where you are heading but rather where you want to go. The same holds true for fly casting. While there is some benefit in watching your back cast, especially in long-distance casting, I tell students to keep their eyes on the target. If you are sight fishing and you turn to watch your back cast, you will likely not be able to find your target when you turn your head back around. Even when blind casting, pick a flicker of light on the water, or a piece of floating grass and keep your eyes on it.  

Keeping the rod hand in line with your line of sight will also add accuracy. If the rod tip is traveling far from the line of sight, a triangular problem involving the target, the eyes and the rod tip is created (see illustration). When keeping the rod in line with the eyes, the only consideration is how far to cast. As the rod tip path is placed further out, you will still have to gauge distance but now you must factor in an additional angle coming from the side (see illustration).  One common mistake I see often, particularly when casting longer distances, is the caster tilting his head in the direction opposite the rod. This may give the caster a feeling of added power, but doing the opposite and tilting the head slightly inward will help keep the stroke in alignment and keep the rod closer to the line of sight.

Hovering

While it is usually best to keep false casting to a minimum, hovering over a target is the best way to hit a target dead-on. Not a great idea on a bonefish flat, but very beneficial in the backcountry or when placing your fly under a dock. It is common to see a caster make a couple of beautiful false casts and on the final presentation, overshoot the target by as much as three or four feet by extending the arm too far forward. Make sure that the stop on the final stroke is precisely the same as on the previous ones. Remember also, to make the stops on the back cast “cookie-cutter” as the tendency is often to drop a little further back with each false cast.

 

fly rods how to improve your fly casting

 

A properly executed double-haul will add distance and control to accuracy casts. The description “In-line hauling” best describes how the haul should be executed by keeping the line hand in direct alignment with the rod hand, line, and rod. The haul itself should mirror the casting stroke in speed and length and, when done “in-line-style”, will aid in accurate casting by keeping both hands moving in line with the target.  

 A Few Drills

In fly casting, great things happen on the grass. Practice is important and practicing the right way is even more-so. Always do your drills with an outstretched high-visibility cord, or better yet, a tape measure. Frisbees, soccer cones and tennis balls make great targets. There is an adage among flint-lock shooters “Aim small, miss small”, and casting to a tea cup-sized target will definitely improve your average. In my experience, the more care that I take in setting up my course, the more seriously I will take it. You may also want to mark your lines with a sharpie at significant distances. Always practice with a yarn fly of some sort. A five-inch length of brightly-colored surveyors twine doubled and nail-knotted works nicely, tied to the end of an eight-foot tapered leader. 

Place targets at ten-foot intervals along the tape and place a few to the outsides. Pay particular attention that the entire length of fly line and leader lands parallel to the tape. If the line lands in a wavy formation, make a few casts and watch your hand throughout to be sure that that it is moving along the straightest path possible. When casting to the out-laying targets, take time to square-off in that direction. 

As you practice, try to make your loops tighter and tighter. Strip off another ten feet and do it again. You will find that as your accuracy improves, added distance will naturally follow.

Fly fishing and fly casting - Accuracy above all. With Joe Mahler “Now, drop it in there again, but this time a quarter-inch to the left.” I had just placed my fly in a doormat-sized opening in the mangroves at 75 feet, and that was as close to an “Atta-boy” as I was going to get from Captain Kevin Merritt.

Author

Joe Mahler fly casting

Joe Mahler is one of the USA's leading fly casting instructors and author and illustrator of “Essential Knots & Rigs for Trout” and “Essential Knots & Rigs for Salt Water”. You can Book a fly casting lesson with Joe via his website here


 

The Black Mamba - Carbon fibre fly rod from top to toe

carbon fiber grip fly rod by epic fly rods

A Special Limited Edition Custom Epic
Derived from our renowned Graphene G series carbon fibre fly rods and fitted with a custom woven carbon fibre grip. 

The stunning Black Mamba is extremely light and durable. The carbon fibre grip is totally non-slip and smooth in the hand.

A fly rod that is both light and incredibly tough! you can check out the Black Mamba here

CUSTOMER FAVOURITES

GUIDES CHOICE

Epic Gift Card - Gifts For Fly Anglers
Epic Gift Card - Gifts For Fly Anglers from $50.00
Give the Gift of Choice No Delays, No Shipping. The Perfect Fly Fishing Gift On Time Every Time - Instant Delivery! Looking for the perfect gift for the Fly Angler in your life? Give them the gift of choice with a gift card. Gift cards are delivered by email from you directly from our website and contain instructions to redeem them at checkout. Gift cards are charged and redeemed on our stores base currency - $US For customers outside of the USA you can still shop and check-out in your native currency, our store does the conversion for you. Shopping for someone else (or yourself) but not sure exactly what to choose?Not sure what to get? Length, color or size?  It's very easy with an Epic Gift Card. You give - they choose! Schedule a Time to Send!You can even prescheduled  time / day / date that you would like your Gift Card delivered What is this?Gift Cards are delivered to you the purchaser by email and contain simple instructions to redeem them at checkout for products in our store. Each gift card features a unique code. Your gift card can also be printed out and gifted to the recipient, or it can be emailed to them immediately. Need Help? - drop us a line and we'll help you or your gift card recipient choose. How does it Work? Simple, you purchase the gift card you would like to give and check out just like you would for any online purchase. Our system will send you an email the recipient your gift card with your custom message. (That gift card has a unique voucher code on it) The recipient uses the voucher code to redeem against the purchase of their choice. Questions: Gift Cards work just like cash Any unspent balance can be used later Purchases can be topped up with cash, credit card or Paypal for larger purchases Customers can check their balance by visiting the unique gift card link sent via email Gift Cards have no additional processing fees. Purchase in your native currency to be redeemed at any time.Any questions or problems, just email us
Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Bag Epic Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Bag
Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault $119.95
Backcountry Double Fly Rod & Reel Vault Fish faster and smarter with the Backcountry Double Fly Rod Vault! This powerhouse of a storage solution is designed to carry two 9ft fly rods and reels, rigged up and ready to roll. Durably crafted from tough, water-resistant 600D Cordura material and reinforced by 210D Ripstop Polyester inner, you can rest assured your valuable fly rods and reels will be safe in all conditions. Waterproof YKK zippers keep moisture and dust out while the thickly padded interior protects your precious fly reels from being scratched. A hardshell outer helps look after your fly rods no matter what terrain awaits you. This is an unbeatable way to transport two complete setups. Save time and be ready to fish at a moment's notice!
Best fly reel for fly fishing as voted by field and stream best of the best Best fly reel waterproof fly reel
Backcountry Fly Reel $399.95
Large Arbor Backcountry Fly Reel II The best looking fly reel on the river. Our Backcountry fly reel features a smooth, sealed ceramic drag mechanism that boasts 3kg of drag and is easily swapped from left to right-hand wind. Super smooth sealed drag, lightweight large arbor, stealthy satin finish. Suitable for both fresh and saltwater use. CNC machined from cold-forged tempered 6061-T6 aluminum, High capacity large arbor spool Waterproof sealed stacked ceramic drag Type III military spec hard anodised finish Suitable for both fresh & saltwater use Large Arbor Spool The large arbor spool features a curved U shaped design that adds strength and assists in line levelling upon retrieval. The exposed reel edge makes for easy palming. A no-nonsense, tough, waterproof and lightweight fly reel. Epic in every way. Finished in a stealthy low sheen type III hard anodised satin finish available in any color as long as it's black.  Backcountry 3/4 Backcountry 5/6 Backcountry 7/8 Weight: 115g (4oz) Weight: 131g (4.6oz) Weight: 139g (4.9oz) Capacity: line + 50m  Capacity: line + 100m  Capacity: line + 150m  Dia:  84mm Dia: 94mm Dia: 104mm Got questions? - Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.
Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic Fly Tying Tool Kit by Epic
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit $199.00
Backcountry Fly Tying Kit Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry Fly Tying kit features the very best Italian made tools by Stonfo and a pair of remarkable hand crafted fly tying scissors by Renomed of Poland. There are no finer fly tying tools made. We've taken the best of the best and presented them in a thoughtful waxed cotton canvas tool roll featuring genuine leather trim and straps fastened with classic brass catches. The hand stitched waterproof tool roll houses & protects these high quality tools and features two additional pouches to tuck away fly tying materials and hooks. The Renomed "Fly Tier" scissors feature a 'super cut' finely serrated blade that makes cutting deer hair and fur a breeze, and the larger scissor handles afford comfort and extraordinary durability and functionality. Tool Collection  Renomed Fly Tier Super Cut scissors (retail US$45) Stonfo Dubbing Twister Stonfo Hackle pliers Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Dubbing Brush Stonfo Bobtec1  Adjustable Bobbin With Ceramic Insert (Stainless Steel) Stonfo Elite Bodkin (Stainless steel) Stonfo Elite Whip Finisher (Stainless Steel)
Streamer wallet fly wallet Streamer wallet fly wallet
Backcountry Streamer Wallet $69.95
Back Country Streamer Wallet Carry and show off your streamers in style in our cotton canvas fly wallet Handcrafted and waterproof in waxed cotton Canvas, genuine sheepskin and hand tooled leather. Each wallet is hand cut and stitched from waxed cotton canvas and lined with lambswool. Measuring  12cm wide by 17 cm closed (4.5" x 7") Big enough to house and protect even the biggest lures and streamers. Streamer wallets have a few advantages over dropping your expensive streamers in a fly box. The open ended design and fine lambswool liner drys flies and lets them breath Flies are kept separated - No more tangled flies and hooks Easy to see and easy to grab - particularly if you have stinger hooks on your streamers They look sensational and big fish love them! Measuring 11cm wide by 17 cm long closed (4.5" x 7") Waterproof, small enough to fit in a wader pocket but capable of holding a large collection of flies
Fly Tying Vice Travel Fly Tying Vice
Backcountry Travel Vise $69.95
Backcountry Travel Vice Equally at home on a trip or on your fly tying bench, our Backcountry vice is a robust, beautifully built, no-nonsense fly tying vice. Featuring hard steel jaws, quick lock cam and all packed away in a stylin' protective felt case made from recycled plastic bottles! Holds hooks from size 2 to 22 Hard steel jaws Quick-lock cam' operation Rotary head Fully adjustable Allen key Recycled PET felt carry pouch

The Epic Fly Rod Chooser

Find your perfect fly rod with our 10 second quiz

TAKE THE TEST
Lifetime Warranty
Lifetime Warranty

Love It or Return It

100% total satisfaction guarantee

5 Star Support

Industry leading support and service

Easy Returns

Hassle free returns

World Wide Shipping

Shipping worldwide daily
Experience the Epic® difference.