Sometimes, we should be able to argue with the laws of physics and win a few. That way, we could spare ourselves from owning up to fly fishing casts that make us hang our heads in frustration. Whether it’s a matter of angle, momentum or presentation, rod, line and fly usually misbehave because we make simple, ordinary mistakes.
Causes and Cures for Seven Common Casting Mistakes
Occasionally, we all try a little too hard, overthink a little too much and fall into different fly fishing faux pas. It’s easy to do. We’re happy to report that it’s also easy to undo. We could’ve make this list a lot longer, but we decided to concentrate on seven common casting mistakes that aren’t just for beginners only.
1. Too Much Focus on False Casts
You’re gauging distance or changing direction. You’re drying a fly, improving quality control or just having fun. False casts work best when they aren’t overworked. You cut down on spooked fish and up your time for perfecting presentation. You also don’t wear out your arm as quickly.
2. Not Trusting Your Rod
Its simple but sophisticated design pretty much ensures that your rod does its job. When you start forcing a cast, you deny the setup its manufactured right to build momentum as the line loads, and that keeps the line from putting your fly where you want it. Trust your rod, and work with it to produce smooth, accurate casts that catch more fish.
3. Going Too Hard for Distance
A long cast can be a thing of extreme fly fishing beauty especially when you really need it. Unless it’s the cast of necessity for a given situation, think twice about what you’re trading for the distance. You up the chances of tailing loops, timing errors and sideways fly kicks. Resist that urge to go the distance.
4. The Dreaded Rod Tip Drop
Don’t get us wrong. We agree that sometimes you want to go with the long cast. We also agree that sometimes we mess it up by letting our tip down. Just the slightest drop on a back or forward cast dooms line momentum. Cure this casting mistake by staying focused on your rod’s tip. Concentrate on up and back and then up and forward.
5. Not Working Your Angle
When you square off and directly face the fish, you’re denying yourself accuracy and finesse. Cast from an angle that positions your casting arm farthest away from the fish so that you have to cast across yourself. Otherwise, you’re essentially fishing off to one side without the best possible look down the line at your forward loop.
6. Casting Out of Plane
Your back cast has to travel directly opposite your target to max out rod load and keep the tip from pulling sideways. Cast outside this invisible field, and your fly finishes with a classic sideways kick. Stay on plane by looking for something behind you that lines up opposite your target, and then unroll your back cast directly towards that point.
7. Assuming Why Line Twist Happens
You can’t always blame this one on sidearm casting or throwing out of plane. Take a look at your fly. If it’s canted with a wedged knot in the corner of the hook eye, a quick fix solves the problem. Sometimes a big baitfish pattern gets off balance due to epoxy settling on one side. We’re always surprised at how easy it is to get twisted over little stuff.
Enjoying Every Minute
There are as many reasons for not throwing the perfect cast as there are fish in the Kvichak River outside our back door. We probably won’t cure all our casting mistakes, and we’re pretty sure we won’t catch all those fish. That’s OK. We’ll keep on doing our best and enjoying every minute of it.
If you’ve won any arguments lately with those stubborn laws of physics, we’d really enjoy hearing about your favorite casting tips. Tell us all about it through our Comments Section. We’re living the Alaskan fly fishing dream, and you always have a standing invitation to join us up here at No See Um. We’ll save you a chair by the lodge fireplace.