Fly cast further - Add 10 feet to your fly casting pronto!
Somewhere along the line who hasn’t wanted to cast just a little further. My hand is certainly up
While this isn’t intended to be a lesson on all out distance casting, the principles outlined here to help gain a few extra feet are essentially the same as you’d employ to cast 100.
Here’s how to easily add a few extra meters / feet to your fly casting.
- Double Haul. First things first. Line speed is where it’s at, you’re not going to have any hope of gaining bigger distances without being proficient at the double haul.
- Cast “Over the top” - Tracking. Casting over the top means to cast in the vertical plane over the top of the fly rod. Casting over the top and vertical helps develop a nice long lever (your arm and fly rod) and a long casting stoke. Over the top also refers to tracking the fly rod straight and in plane rather than sweeping around in an inefficient rod tip path. Think about drawing a straight line in the air in both the vertical and horizontal planes
- Maximise the stroke. Just as the long barrel of a rifle is more effective at accelerating a bullet than the short barrel of a pistol, A long casting stroke will do a more effective job of accelerating a fly line than a short stroke.
- Drift , don’t creep. Creep is generally considered a casting fault, it refers to prematurely beginning your casting stroke before the fly line has fully straightened out; and most fly casters do it. Creep shortens your effective casting stroke. It robs you of that all valuable long casting stroke we’ve just touched on above. Instead, learn to drift. Drift is the opposite of creep. It’s an extra reach in the same direction of the fly line as it straightens - this action lengthens the casting stoke further - effectively giving you a longer barrel to fire down
- Be Smooth. As casters put in more effort they inevitably overpower the cast and throw tailing loops. The way around this is to apply power smoothly, and lengthen your casting stroke. Begin the cast with minimal power and accelerate to a stop. The rod tip, and hence fly line should be traveling their fastest at the very end of the cast - right at the stop.
- Aim High. Any distance shot requires an elevated trajectory to make the mark; fly casting is just the same. To gain greater distance aim up, out and further away
- Learn to carry - shoot the rest. Carry vs shoot. In order to cast more fly line you’re going to have to get more of that fly line in the air. There are two aspects to this. Line carry - i.e how much line you can comfortably keep aerialised up there above your head, and how much line you can shoot out through the guides after you stop the fly rod. Ratios vary from caster to caster; but in most cases you’re gong to have to learn to carry a few more feet of line. The 6 points above will help you carry more line in the air. Practice them and you’ll be casting out of the park in no time
The best fly line to use for distance casting?
A shooting head, 2nd place goes to a long belly line or perhaps a double taper depending on the front taper, the least effective line for serious distance - a weight forward fly line. More on this in a later post.
To finish up - and to preemptively answer the distance naysayers. Learning to cast extra distance requires extremely good form and the ability to maximise all points outlined above, more so than any other aspect of fly casting. And that will help your fly casting and your fly fishing across the board, particularly your accuracy.