To Cast the Fly
by Harry Salmgren
Essentially fly casting is a very enjoyable and
pleasant exercise and
ought not to be made more complicated than it really is.
First, think of your rod as a "pendulum" in the air
which -when moved- will produce line speed.
Second, it is up to you to decide to throw the line
controlled loop by halting the rod so that the line can
Third, the loops are formed by the pause of the rod
Take a comfortable stance with two
rod-lengths of fly line extended behind you on the ground. Hold
the rod grip comfortably with a "tennis"grip.
Bringing the rod tip forward in an accelerated motion will give
the line enough speed to form a loop when you stop the rod tip in
a forward position. You decide how you want to form a loop and by
trying to narrow the loop you will develop more control over the
By getting familiar with the motion and by concentrating on
forming a narrower loop your casting will improve.. Think narrow
loop and you'll get there!
After learning to throw a loop in front you can
progress by learning to throw an equivalent loop behind you by
With practice you can learn to cast effortlessly
while casting forward and casting backward.
Later you'll want more control, and this
will come by casting sideways, parallel to the ground in front of
you, thereby letting the rod and loop move to the left and to the
right of you, back and forth.
This practice also gives you an insight into the dynamics of a
well performed cast.
You realize that you sometimes need something similar to a
"racket swing" and sometimes a "hammer swing"
to exactly form the desired loop you are concentrating on. There
is no need of specified casting arcs by the clock as between
11:00-14:00 or whatever. You can now grow into using longer
strokes when called for, or shorter when those are needed.
Because that's fishing practice.
At the actual fishing site you constantly need to
adjust for wind, weather, distance and types of flies used.
The casting motion to form the loop you concentrate on will also
depend on the rod and line combination at hand.
Narrowing it down
These factors mentioned, all have a bearing on your
casting arc or motion. The loop is essential. To form it is the
goal, and to think "make it narrow" will bring the rest of the
fly line into a straight cast when performed.
-Ah, if it was possible to start all over again. To
whip the loop forward for the first time. To see it throw the
tailing line into a straightforward halt and to gradually become
able to duplicate the motion -back and forward- with the mind
concentrated on forming a still narrower loop.
Well yes, the familiar movements luckily bring all this back
again, over and over, always when casting. What a joy!
See you on the waters,