Arguably one of the most difficult of all fishing techniques, fly fishing can take a long time to master. But like all things difficult, the rewards can be equally satisfying. Here are some tips on how to perform the basic fly fishing forward cast.
1. Assemble your outfit. This includes a rod, reel, line, leader, and fly.
- Attach your reel to the fly rod at the bottom of the grip. Most reels will have a reel seat that will fit into the notch of the rod and can then be secured using a metal nut. Make sure that it is tightly secured.
- Firmly attach the remaining sections of the rod together. Be sure that the guides are lined up on the rod as you put them together. The guides are the rings on the rod which the fly line goes through.
- The fly is tied to the leader and the leader is tied to the fly line. Various knots are used to tie these together, such as the improved clinch knot, the arbor knot, and the albright knot. Consult a fishing handbook to learn more about different knots and their advantages.
2. Grip the rod like you are shaking someone’s hand.
- Thumb should be on top with four fingers wrapped around the rod.
- Do not grip too tightly. A firm but relaxed grip, the same as you would grip a golf club, is ideal.
3. Load your fly rod. Your fly rod will not cast properly if you do not feel the rod bend and unbend in your hand. This is called “feeling the rod load” and can sometimes be a difficult concept for beginners to grasp.
- Let some line out of your fly rod. Your rod will not load if you do not have the right amount of line. The amount of line to let out will depend on the length of your rod and other factors such as weight. Consult your rod's manufacturer or an expert to find the perfect amount of line to let out.
4 Start your back cast.
- Keep your wrist stiff and your elbow close to your side.
- Pull your fly rod back to a 10 o'clock position. Only bend your elbow.
- Once you see the line leave the surface, abruptly stop your hand.
- Count to 3.
5. Finish with your forward cast.
- Start your motion forward smoothly in the direction of the surface.
- Stop your hand abruptly, feeling the rod “unload.” Again, do not bend your wrist.
- As you see the line in flight, slightly turn your thumb down around 1 inch.
- Keep your hand where it is and let the line fly out of the rod.
- Practice the feel of the cast using “false casts” where instead of letting the fly land on the surface you continue with another back cast. False casts are also useful for drying your fly.
- Point your thumb in the direction you want the line to go. Wherever you point your thumb, the tip will follow, and wherever the tip points, the line will follow.
- While you’re casting, think 10 and 2.
- Look behind you before you cast.