- Field Skills
All fly casting revolves around the basic backward and forward casting strokes and the control of loop size, direction and speed. Your eyes, legs, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands should all combine to energize and control the rod to cast the fly line, its leader and the fly to the target area.
Standard Casting In a standard cast the fly line and rod are lifted with a smooth motion in an up-and-back direction. This backcast motion is stopped when the rod reaches slightly past vertical. As the fly line begins to fall or straighten out, the forward cast begins with increasing acceleration as the wrist snaps the rod from the 11 to the 1 o'clock positions, shooting the line and fly forward toward the presentation area.
False Casting False casting means fly casting backward and forward without actually presenting the fly to the target area. It is useful when you wish to gain distance by working out more line, when you aim the fly over a certain target or when you want to remove water from a dry fly or a hair bug.
Roll Casting In a roll cast, the fly line is not lifted from the water for the backcast but is simply pulled back along the water and then cast forward. Roll casting is used to best advantage when backcasting room is unavailable or when strong winds make backcasting impractical.
Curve Casting A curve cast bends to the right or left of you and is a variation of the standard forward-casting stroke. Curve casts are useful when presenting the fly around surface objects or when preventing the leader and fly line from being seen by a fish as the fly passes over it.
Slack-Line or Serpent Casting A slack-line cast causes the fly line to fall on the water in a series of "S" curves. Such a cast allows the fly to float without dragging and is especially useful when casting across current or directly downstream.
Reach Casting Reach casting allows the fly, leader and line to be presented to a target area at an extreme right-hand or left-hand angle from the caster. It is especially useful when presenting a fly across a stream that has several current speeds. This prevents the fly from dragging downstream faster than the water on which it lands.
Shooting-Line CastingA shooting-line cast is accomplished in either the backward or forward cast by using considerably more power than is needed to cast the line already extended. This cast is similar in purpose to the false cast when it is used to extend out more line.
Hauling Hauling is a technique of increasing line speed or overall fly-casting efficiency by using the power of both the rod arm and the free-hand arm. To accomplish a haul, the caster, just as the power stroke is applied with the fly rod, simultaneously pulls down on the taut fly line below the first stripper guide. This pull - or haul - increases the line's outward speed. Double hauling involves hauling on both the forward and backward strokes.
Mending LineMending line is a technique of repositioning the fly line and leader on moving water. It is accomplished by using various rod-lifting and roll-casting movements. When you are fishing streams, mending line is about as important as casting.
* From the L.L.Bean® Fly-Fishing Handbook, written and illustrated by Dave Whitlock.
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