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Anatomy Of A Fly Fisherman Part 7: Casting (Pt. 1)

Lines Out!

I’ve decided to combine a skill and a piece of gear, and I do so with ominous apprehension. My gear selection is going to come across as a rant but I will avert the all-out tirade for this month's installment and conserve it for another episode. But alas, the two go hand in hand as one necessitated the invention and use of the other.

WADERS: because fly poles are so long and so much line must be let out to cast a fly properly into the water column, and because most rivers are lined with trees fishermen have made use of waders to access places not wide enough to fish and cast properly. Luckily, these are not that prevalent in the backcountry because of the weight, but there's always "that guy."

This next confession is going to either earn me fans or get me called out, I don't own waders. It's not that I don’t want them; I just can't shell out the cash for them. If you want decent waders get your wallet out because you can't "afford" cheap ones. I do, however, own hip waders, I even have light weight hip waders that I recently purchased and have yet to try. I'm not prejudiced against them and have plans to buy them in the future, but I have always prided myself on being able to overcome this deficit with superior casting. And I have never been able to see how wading into the river up to my nipples would allow me to get at anything I couldn't access otherwise.

CASTING: practice, practice, and practice, the 3 words of advice that you should never tire of hearing. Need a place to practice? Your backyard is one of the best places to start. As a kid my great-grandfather would put a hula-hoop out in the yard and us kids would practice casting all day long. Consistent landings in the hoop meant you moved back 3-5 steps. He had really large old streamer flies that he had tied himself, which then pinched the barbs down, to allow us to practice with.

Casting On A Mountain Stream

To begin, let out enough fly line that it won't fall back down through the eyes.

With your pole in front of you and the slack line in your free hand, lift the line off the ground so the fly is in the air.

Now pretend as if there’s a clock face on your shoulder of the arm that’s holding the pole. For this example we are going to say that your pole is in your right hand. Bring the pole back to the 2'oclock (this is your back-cast).

You will then bring it back to the 10 o’clock position before the fly can stop pausing for what equals a heartbeat. The slack in your free hand should start to "feed" up through the pole, thus giving more line out.

Pull more line with that hand from the reel while continuing the casting motion. As your line comes forward on the cast you will start the process over again. Remember that small pause on the cast and back-cast to allow the line and fly to catch up.

Once you have fed enough line out to reach your target cast your pole by releasing slack in your free hand and pointing the tip of your pole exactly where you want the fly to go.

Fly Casting In The Mountains

We are off to a great start! But, we are just getting started there's much, much more to come!! Until next time!

Tight Lines!!

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Check out the rest of the "Anatomy of a Fly Fisherman" Series here at!

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