In my clinics and demonstrations, this is my number one “show me that again” cast and here is how it works.
“How low can you go?”
Chubby Checker posed the question in 1962 with “Limbo Rock,” and each time I cast under the mangrove trees, I hear that song in my head. There are several ways to get under obstacles, but the cast that I use for the tightest of all squeezes is one that I call “The Sunny-side-up / Over-easy” cast. In my clinics and demonstrations, this is my number one “show me that again” cast - here's how it works.
The cast starts essentially as a horizontal or side-arm cast. Picture two eggs- one sunny-side-up and one over-easy. During the back cast and most of the forward stroke, the reel will stay flat, or “sunny-side-up,” meaning that the inside of the reel is pointing skyward. The forward stroke begins with the reel “sunny-side-up” and continues traveling toward the target with a twist of the wrist to finish in “over-easy” position. At the finish of the cast, the outside of the reel will be facing skyward. Most casts are developed for delicate presentation, this is different. Instead of the line unrolling in mid-air, the sunny-side-up / over-easy forces the lower leg of the loop downward to unroll atop the water’s surface.
“Limbo lower now”
Now that you have the basic move, let’s go lower. Think of this cast as asymmetrical. Short in the back and long in the front. Make sure that your back cast propels the line 180 degrees away from the target and your forward stroke finishes with your rod-tip pointing directly at the target. Angle your back cast slightly, only slightly, upward. In the same path, angle your forward stroke downward. At the end of the cast your rod tip should be in the water, or very near the surface. Adding a long, steady haul precisely at the point of wrist turn over, will send the fly zinging under the limbs to the target. Expect a bit of a splash from the fly hitting the water, perhaps mimicking a mouse, crab or beetle falling from above.
The Sunny-side-up / Over-easy cast works best at distances under 50’. Practice casting under a 3’ obstruction and you may find yourself “lowering the bar” on your 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.