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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 07-03-2014, 01:32 PM
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Default Casting distance, expectations

Hey everyone, looking for a little advice. I am working with my first fly rod, a Cabela's Cahill 5wt 9ft, with the pre installed WF floating line and a Streamside Furled leader.

I just began fly fishing (and fishing, really) this summer. Since we just had our first daughter and I am in a very time consuming program right now, I haven't had a ton of time to fish. I don't know anyone who fly fishes, so I've taken to youtube, the forums, and google to learn everything I have learned.

One thing I'm not really sure of is how far I should expect to be able to cast a 10-16 size dry fly with this setup. So, when I make an accurate 30-foot cast, I can't tell if that's a major accomplishment or the bare minimum to fish!

I know the requirements will vary with where I am fishing and the flies I use, but I am struggling with what I should be expecting to get out of this entry level setup and my beginner skills.

So what's the distance a beginner should be able to cast? How about those of you with more experience? Thanks as always!
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

Welcome to the sport! IMO, with ideal conditions, if you can accurately cast in the 30 to 50 ft range, you're doing fine. I've been at this a long, long time & the majority of the fishing that I do is within that same range no matter what rod weight or fly or species I'm chasing. With more experience you should be able to cast 75'. Some folks will learn to cast the entire line, depending on the type of fishing they do. It's great to have developed the skills to cast an entire length of fly line, but accuracy should be first & foremost, then presentation skills (if you slap that line down like a bull whip flailing away at the water, accuracy nor distance will make much difference!) and finally distance.
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

+1 to what Big Jim said. He nailed it!

You may never get to 75' with that rig and may never need to. Most fishing is done within about 30'. Get good and accurate there. Then, you can consider taking it out to 50'. Keep in mind, no matter how good you get with your casting, most of your fishing will still be done within that 30' mark.

1. You should learn to cast well (not long),
2. Learn to make a drag free drift,
3. Learn to put yourself in the right spot on the water to make that cast without spooking the fish.

Do these and you'll have lots of fish stories to tell!
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Old 07-03-2014, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

Granted I live in Colorado and our big rivers here aren't like other big rivers ie the Rogue, Snake, Missouri etc etc. Our avg stream is 40-50 across tops so take what I say with that as perspective

I would say for % of time and less than feet of line out

60% < 20ft floating line out
20% < 30ft of floating line out
19% < 40ft of floating line

Basically 1% of the time do I find my self flinging line. So yes 30ft is a great start, tack a 10' leader on and you are hitting 40' which for me is 99% of what I do. In my experience and the people I fish with when you start exceeding 40' of line you are either fishing the salt water, big lake fishing or chucking streamers. Nymphing and dry fly fishing require line control and good drag free accurate drifts. None of which are accomplished by hucking 60' of line across the different currents in a river.
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

Also I think that if people worked on their wading techniques to get into the best position to make a short accurate cast. I have seen people take 20-30 min wading slowly to get into perfect position to make a few accurate casts usually 1-3 perfect drifts to catch a wary trout on dries.

I would work on 20-30 ft casts that will work for most fresh water situations.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

+1 on what's already said. 30' is plenty of casting, now concentrate on fishing.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

Lots of great advice already given in the previous postís. Work on the short game and the longer casting will come with time. As many already mentioned, most fish will be caught on shorter castís. Spend more time watching and less time casting. You will see same fish to net ratio, with much less actual casting. Try to befriend a local fly fisher. Most of us love to help new fishers get into the sport. With that said, donít expect him/her to show you the best water, some fisherman hold onto that info with tight clinched fists. Welcome to the sport.
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

Great advice from everyone and I will emphasize what Cutthroat said on taking your time. If possible, find a vantage point where you can sit or stand for 5 or 10 minutes and survey the water. Look for the flashes of fish and mark the spots as the flash will mean a fish feeding and likely holding in that spot. If you have several fish spotted think about which fish can you cast to without spooking the others.

Dave
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

After all the reading I've done, this is some of the best advice I have seen! Thanks everyone.

Great wading advice. I haven't bought waders yet, as my budget is strictly limited at this time. I will hopefully before the end of the season. I have shore fished rivers and have noticed fish...swimming away as I flailed wildly. My future approaches will be more careful. Luckily bluegill, crappie, and tiny bass are less discerning species, as they are all I have caught on the fly rod.

Now one related issue I have had: I am in Southeast MI. Not many trout streams here. I have shore fished for bass (unsuccessfully). It seems, when fishing streamers, once I get the bug out and the line slack out, I only have a few good strips before I need to cast again. How far does everyone generally cast streamers, both shore and larger river casting?

Thanks again to everyone. This forum is an excellent resource, and has significantly decreased the learning curve for fly fishing.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:21 PM
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Default Re: Casting distance, expectations

With streamers I work my way from closet good spots to furthest and distance does have advantages with streamer fishing. Also stripping technique makes a difference, my favorite is rapid 4" strips (curling the wrist) but if the fish are coming for the streamer but not taking, I will go straight to long fast or long slow strips. Distance takes time so don't beat yourself up, everyone of us have been where you are and don't let the number of (or none) fish caught dictate a good time on the water. Very few of our seasoned members would tell you that catching fish makes or breaks the day.

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