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The Fly Cast Discuss fly casting with the expert, ask for help, learn to cast farther, increase your accuracy, troubleshoot your cast.

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Old 12-10-2013, 09:17 AM
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Default How far "should" I cast?

I'd like to hear from some of the more experienced casters/fly fishers here. I'm working on my casting skills and would like a realistic goal to work towards - one that would simply say I have a good skill set for fly fishing. Again, I'm not looking for bragging rights at the bar, just a realistic target that will tell me I've made it.

Speaking in terms of trout fishing with a 9' 5wt St Croix Legend Elite (fast action rod) and a SA textured GPX line, how far should I want to cast accurately?

I just bought a 9' 8wt TFO BVK (fast action) and a rio Versitip II fly line. I'll be using this for large streamers, steelhead, bass, shad, etc. This question is likely a little more complicated in that I could throw a floating or sinking tip. I've never cast a sink tip line before and don't know if there would be a difference in casting distance over a floating line. How far accurately for both?

I tried to search this question before posting. I did find the forum poll that discusses how far people can cast. The question I am asking is different. Also, the rod and line used were missing from most of the posts in that thread making the information much less usable. If this is a repeat of an old thread, please feel free to post that link.

If it helps you understand where I'm coming from... I'm 50 and have been fly fishing seriously for only two years.

Thanks,

Todd
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

An accurate 50' cast is probably more than sufficient for most situations. Will be interesting to see what the other members have to say about this.

Dave
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

The real answer is to where the fish is.

But, one with some reasonable skill SHOULD be able to cast at least 50 ft. Without double hauling, I can go just shy of 80ft. with a 7wt. I'm not casting expert, and any expers would instantly laugh at my cast. But, putting it where the fish is (or above it for a drift) is more important.

Another part is finding a rod that speaks to your cast. I've done some lawn casting with my boss and we've gone from slower Avid's to fast TFO's and it affects how things happen. I'd find the one rod/line that speaks to you and learn to put it where you want when you want it.

I've owned several St. Croix Avids over time and could never make them work. I finally got a 9ft 5wt and after actually considering what the rod wanted, it's my favorite.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

I think that the term "accurate" increases in scale in direct relation to the distance.

In other words, if you are casting 20 to 30', you probably want to be able to put the fly within 6 or so inches of your intended target.

As that distance increases, so does your range of acceptable accuracy. Of course, it would be fantastic to be able to put a fly within 6" of your target from 90' out but I am guessing that there are only a handful of people that could do that consistently. I know that I can't.

Instead, I try to be withing a foot or two when I am casting 75+ feet. My targets are different at that range though. I am not trying to put the fly right in front of a fishes face at that point. Instead, I am trying to cast to an area that looks fishy or even a shadow. I am trying to get a fly to land in a small cove on an otherwise flat bank. I am trying to hit a point of a lily pad base.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:40 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by axle27 View Post
The real answer is to where the fish is.

But, one with some reasonable skill SHOULD be able to cast at least 50 ft. Without double hauling, I can go just shy of 80ft. with a 7wt. I'm not casting expert, and any expers would instantly laugh at my cast. But, putting it where the fish is (or above it for a drift) is more important.

Another part is finding a rod that speaks to your cast. I've done some lawn casting with my boss and we've gone from slower Avid's to fast TFO's and it affects how things happen. I'd find the one rod/line that speaks to you and learn to put it where you want when you want it.

I've owned several St. Croix Avids over time and could never make them work. I finally got a 9ft 5wt and after actually considering what the rod wanted, it's my favorite.
Let me put a little more definition to my question.

A "new" fly fisher who can cast somewhat accurately at a distance of 30 feet (with a 9' 5wt rod) would likely have a good chance at catching a lot of fish. That same person with a 9' 8wt rod would likely cast 40 to 50 feet by virtue of the stronger rod and greater mass of the heavier line.

What should a good "intermediate" level fly caster strive for in terms of accuracy and distance with each rod, keeping in mind that distance will increase with the 8wt being thrown farther than the 5wt?

I do not yet know the double haul, but am working on it. Again, I'm looking for a realistic goal to strive toward.


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Old 12-10-2013, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

Todd, I've been fly fishing for about 48 years, and I'm not a great long distance caster. I can get a fly out 85-90 ft sometimes, even without double hauling, but those casts are few & far between.

IMO, for 99% of freshwater fly fishing, accuracy & line control are far more important than distance. Most freshwater fishing will be within 50 ft, and much will be in the 30-40ft range or less. There will be situations where longer casts are needed, but usually those can be minimized by finding a better casting position.

Again, this all comes down to accuracy & line control. If you're primarily fishing in waters with current, both of these become even more important. On stillwaters not as critical.

If you can accurately cast in the 60 to 75ft range, then IMO that's a good distance range with any weight rod. If you get into salt or some of the big freshwater situations, then certainly being able to cast beyond 75 ft would be advantageous for those few situations where it becomes necessary.

Learn the double haul, and practice it. But again, learn to be accurate with it, and understand that no extra distance will overcome a lack of line control.

By line control, I mean both while casting & while on the water. If you lose control of the line, you lose control of the fly, so a 75 ft cast that you have no control over the fly is nothing more than casting practice!
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

Interesting answers above, with witch I agree (50' for a 1hander). Much beyond that point (moving water) you may have to do a lot of mending in the early part of the cast.

Actually accurate (distance casting) is fairly easy with a 2hander. Once you've got the line stripped off it becomes a question of aiming where you want the fly to land. A lot of that has to do with anchor placement .... practice, practice, practice!
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

Quote:
Much beyond that point (moving water) you may have to do a lot of mending in the early part of the cast.
Fred, good point! That's why I said accurate casting is more important. I know from my own experience when I was learning, I would get too much line out on the water, and no amount of mending would correct poor accuracy. Mending is a technique of line control, but if a cast is so far off the mark to begin with, the current usually takes the line & fly so far off target before the angler can respond that it becomes a futile effort.

BTW, my idea of accurate casting at any distance is within 4" to 6" of a target consistently.

Funny, but back in Sept. I had a situation casting to a moving Redfish on a grass flat where I was making 75 to 80' casts with an 8 wt. The fly landed all around the fish, but I couldn't seem to get it in front of it. Had I been able to move closer it would not have been an issue, but the tide had started to fall & that fish was moving fairly quickly towards deeper water. I lost the opportunity to hook up with that fish simply because I could not make an accurate cast in front of that fish at that distance.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

Since the majority of the fly fishing me and my tribe do is sub-surface, our casts are fairly short and usually limited to less than 40' (this allows for better line control and mending). We generally use 10' rods in the 4wt. - 6wt. range for most of our fishing and rod wt. is determined by the size of the river, wind and sometimes the size of the intended target...

Click the image to open in full size.

My son Michael is working the soft water, on the other side of the white water, in the above photo, on the East Walker River. with a 10', 5wt. Loomis Streamdance. Dependening on the flows, we position ourselves to the side, directly below or directly above, an area to be targeted or to sighted fish . Most of the fish we catch are less than 20' away...

Even when using dries and emergers we KEEP our casts short...positioning is everything...

PT/TB
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: How far "should" I cast?

I have to be able to cast far since I am fishing the stillwater lakes from the shore so I can comb the water from 20ft-60ft. The good thing is I don't need to have a pinpoint 6" from the target cast. As I am casting farther in the stillwater, I am basically blind casting. The fish are more scattered and much deeper in the stillwater compared to the stream or river where the fish are more isolated in pools or eddies. It takes a lot of energies to repeatedly cast 60ft into deeper water with sinking line or leader trying to figure out what depth the fish are holding.

I never caught anything when I bombed my line out. Sad but ALMOST true, you'll mostly catch them in the 40ft.
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