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mbchilton 01-21-2013 08:40 AM

Improving my cast
 
I've been using a fly rod for a few years, but this year I want to work on improving my cast. I'm not only talking about distance, but also accuracy, roll casts, and presentation. What has been the best way for you to learn? Paid lessons, friends, videos, books, practice? I'm sure a healthy combination of all of these wouldn't hurt, but is there any specific advise or resource you would recommend that has worked for you?

williamhj 01-21-2013 08:44 AM

Re: Improving my cast
 
Practice and a lesson. I need more of both. No amount of video watching or reading or thinking can replace the physical movement if you're looking to learn. I've found that I learn in a lesson, whether a formal casting lesson or small adjustments from a good guide, what might take months of practicing to figure out. I like reading and watching videos but doing is best.

Rip Tide 01-21-2013 09:41 AM

Re: Improving my cast
 
I hesitate to say this because it goes against what everyone else will tell you, but I'm not big on "practice". :o

Real on the water experience trumps casting to paper plates in the back yard every time.
I think that once you get it into your head that the rod is an extension of your arm and the line goes where you point the rod, you can make nearly any cast you can imagine.
And the way to do that is with practical experience as in "time on the water"

jpbfly 01-21-2013 11:18 AM

Re: Improving my cast
 
Totally agree with Rip....which often happens:)....remember casting is not fishing...I've met good casters who are not very good fishermen:rolleyes:

Guest1 01-21-2013 12:14 PM

Re: Improving my cast
 
The way my distance improved was to teach a guy how to cast that became a distance obsessed person. Then he showed me some things. If you want to do it the way he did it, it was video and reading. That and a ton of practice. There is a ton of good information on a web site in Europe called SexyLoops. It would be a good place to look at. My friend who casts farther than most humans think is possible is also a member here and I hope starts to post here on it. We also have a member here that goes by the name Chuckfluffer that is one of the top distance casters on Earth. His real name is Mike Heritage. WJC is also a serious caster. Pegboy and a couple of others. One of these days we need to get all of these guys on a thread about how to hit the next county with a fly.

I'll just point out a couple of things that will help for distance with a video of Fredrik Hedman. First is tracking. Notice how the rod tip tracks very straight back and forth. Also notice that he drops the rod tip well past 10 and 2. With a longer carry and a longer casts you need to open the stroke up. Notice that he rotates the rod very late in the stroke. You can't see it in the video, but higher line speed means more distance. He gets that with all the previously mentioned details and his double haul, which is also late in the stroke. He keeps the slack out of the line between his hand and the stripper guide. That's more important than it seems. Also, he looks at his backcast. This is something I have a hard time doing thanks to no longer having a good disc left in my neck. If I could add something to my casting that would give me more distance, it would be being able to watch my backcast without a pain in the neck. :cool: By the way, this guy cast a 3 wt. 115'. Not sure if this is the cast he did it, but he is a good example to use. Look at videos of a lot of different guys and experiment. Some things, and by some things I mean tiny details, will work better for you than others. Everybody has their own style in the end. Last, if you look at the guys who win the accuracy contests, it's the same guys that win the distance contests. If you can cast far, you also cast well enough to hit what you aim at.


One last thing. Do video of yourself casting and when you really bang one out of the park look at it. It is also very good for finding flaws in your casting.

plecain 01-21-2013 01:09 PM

Re: Improving my cast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rip Tide (Post 518609)
Real on the water experience trumps casting to paper plates in the back yard every time.
I think that once you get it into your head that the rod is an extension of your arm and the line goes where you point the rod, you can make nearly any cast you can imagine.
And the way to do that is with practical experience as in "time on the water"

Couldn't agree more. My backyard casting isn't good. I'm much better on the water. I can't explain it. It just is.

jsquires 01-21-2013 01:49 PM

Re: Improving my cast
 
Most fly clubs and casting clubs (at least in my area) offer free lessons and most have some pretty amazing casters. Granted, there is a big difference between being a great caster and a great teacher, but, hey, if it's free, what do you have to lose?
Although I myself am a guide, I am a big believer in using a guide on unfamiliar waters. The good guides not only put you on fish, teach you how to catch them (or at least get them to strike), but, when they feel comfortable with a client, will offer some pointers on casting, presentation, etc. I fished with a guide a couple of weeks ago and, although I was doing fine with my mending, he showed me a better way - at least for the water we were fishing that day. There are very few of us who can't improve in some manner or another.

plecain 01-21-2013 02:11 PM

Re: Improving my cast
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jsquires (Post 518669)
Most fly clubs and casting clubs (at least in my area) offer free lessons and most have some pretty amazing casters. Granted, there is a big difference between being a great caster and a great teacher, but, hey, if it's free, what do you have to lose?
Although I myself am a guide, I am a big believer in using a guide on unfamiliar waters. The good guides not only put you on fish, teach you how to catch them (or at least get them to strike), but, when they feel comfortable with a client, will offer some pointers on casting, presentation, etc. I fished with a guide a couple of weeks ago and, although I was doing fine with my mending, he showed me a better way - at least for the water we were fishing that day. There are very few of us who can't improve in some manner or another.

It's not because he enjoys paying him that Tiger Woods has a golf coach.

silver creek 01-21-2013 02:42 PM

Re: Improving my cast
 
To improve your casting, get some casting lessons. To improve your fishing, get a guide or an accomplished fly fisher to teach you by taking you out fishing. This fishing trip should be to assess all your fishing skills.

Some of the time inadequate casting skills are the result of choosing the wrong spot from which to cast, and what cast to make. By not knowing the best place from which to cast, or the easiest cast to make, you can make your presentation more difficult.

In Gary Borger's book Presentation, he defines presentation as everything that goes into catching a fish. This includes reading water, choice of fly, type of leader, choosing your casting position, sneaking up on the fish, choice of cast, etc, etc.

The reason I mention this is that you mentioned "presentation" as one your goals. Becoming a better caster is one step. Part of becoming a better caster is not just distance and accuracy. I think learning what cast to make: curves, mends, puddle casts, parachute casts, off side casts, elliptical casts, water tension casts, tuck casts, and a combination of the previous casts with a mend. And when to use these casts is really one of the way you can tell a really good fly fisher.

The more options you have for the types of casts you can make, the easier the fishing becomes. A basic straight line cast is only the starting point. To use a baseball analogy, you are concentrating on being able to hit a faster fast ball by concentrating on casting a straight line cast farther and more accurately. When the fish throws you a curve, a slider, a change up, etc; you need to be able to hit those as well.

Or to add onto what the last poster said, Tiger Woods does not just practice hitting a driver. He also practices hitting out of bunkers, and heavy grass. He practices backspin. he practices reading the green. He practices putting uphill, downhill and along a slant. Think about adding more shots (casts) as well as improving a straight line cast.

jaybo41 01-21-2013 03:51 PM

Re: Improving my cast
 
I've often referenced that even golfers on the PGA tour have a swing coach that helps them hone in on hitting a better golf shot. Interesting to see that others are like minded.

Lots of excellent posts in this forum with very little for me to add other than I agree with what's been said.

My current formula leading up to trout season is: watch videos, read books, forums, etc then practice cast. Then repeat. I do this as much as time permits between other responsibilities and tying for my spring trip. As the trip gets closer, I take a lesson, then practice again. Taking what I've learned and applying it while on the trip is where the rubber meets the road. As Silver mentioned, learning to cast is only one step in the process. I'm fortunate enough to have a bud who serves as a guide/mentor/coach for the waters we fish together.

Also in agreement that a good guide is worth his/her weight in gold for unfamiliar waters. Even if waters are familiar, spending money to get out with a guide who is willing to teach you to become a better angler will pay huge dividends. Early on in my fly fishing journey I got a guided trip on water I'd fished many times. During that day, I learned 5x the amount of information than I had learned in months of attempting to learn by myself.

One thing I've learned over the 12 or so years I've been doing this is that I still have lots to learn.


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