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wilky 11-19-2009 11:45 AM

whats a good distance
my uncle has given me one of his old fly rods and give me a quick lesson so i can practice my casting but i dont know what a good distance is for a cast i'm averageing around 35-40 yards and after reading the forums tonight i have picked up a few things i'm going to try but if anyone has any tips or can tell me a what a good distance is it would be great
by the way i am planning on fishing the rivers, streams and lakes in utah so any tips on gear and what flies to use and tie would also be great

many thanks vincent

jpbfly 11-19-2009 12:00 PM

Re: whats a good distance
Wilk,casting is not fishing.I don't know what a good distance is,if you fish fast waters and pocket waters you can get very near fish,in still waters if you are careful enough you'll take fish near the banks,if you fish too far you'll miss most of the strikes,I've met people who cast like a dream on a lawn and are not brilliant fishermen....So don't worry too much about how far you can cast but take care of the way you "offer" your fly or nymph to the fish;)

MoscaPescador 11-19-2009 12:08 PM

Re: whats a good distance

Originally Posted by wilky (Post 72764)
my uncle has given me one of his old fly rods and give me a quick lesson so i can practice my casting but i dont know what a good distance is for a cast i'm averageing around 35-40 yards and after reading the forums tonight i have picked up a few things i'm going to try but if anyone has any tips or can tell me a what a good distance is it would be great
by the way i am planning on fishing the rivers, streams and lakes in utah so any tips on gear and what flies to use and tie would also be great

many thanks vincent

If you are casting 35-40 yards, you can outcast just about anyone on this board. I take it that you meant 35-40 feet. If you can cast 35-40 feet accurately, you are in good shape.

The reality of most stream fishing is that a 20 to 30 foot cast is a long cast. Some streams can be the length of your rod. Some streams can be the length of your stride. A lot of times fish are close to the shore than way out there.

The only times that you really need to be able to cast far are in stillwater situations (lakes - assuming that you are in a watercraft like a float tube), in waters that you will swing flies (Steelheading), and fishing off of boats (Striped Bass, saltwater species). In some situations a short cast will be considered 50 feet. In some situations 80 feet might not be enough.


Frank Whiton 11-19-2009 12:12 PM

Re: whats a good distance
Hi Vincent,

You have some good fly fishing in your neighborhood. If you are picking up and false casting 30 ' and shooting 5' or 10' you are doing fine to learn. That is plenty of distance to fish in many situations. You need to work on making good loops, shooting line, roll casting, mending, and left/right reach cast. By the time you learn these cast your distance will take care of its self.

You should not be concerned about distance at this place in your skill level. Trying to get more distance will just result in learning poor techniques. When you can say you are confident in your cast and you can toss a pretty good loop with little effort, then think about increasing distance.

I suggest you measure out 30' of fly line and then mark the link where it lies under your finger on the grip. That is, cast out the line on the grass and let it fall to the ground. Now measure 30' out of the tip of the rod. Pick up the rod and hold the fly line against the grip with your fore finger. Take a black marking pen and put a half inch mark where the fly line is under your finger.

Now when you want to practice have that mark under your finger and the line held tight against the grip. You will then have 30' of line out of the tip. This is how you should practice casting. Make sure you are using a leader and a small fly with the hook broken at the bend.


wilky 11-19-2009 03:17 PM

Re: whats a good distance
thank you for the help and advice you have been a great help :D


BigCliff 11-19-2009 05:07 PM

Re: whats a good distance
40' is plenty to catch buckets of fish, now start working on accuracy and dealing with some wind.

After that, find some moving water and tackle the drag-free drift challenge.

Bigfly 12-16-2009 01:58 PM

Re: whats a good distance
Wilky, A trick I picked up at a guide school, is to find a steel mixing bowl (Thrift store, not a good one). I have a large one and a tougher size too.
Use a 6ft leader with a split shot on the end (maybe tie a knot on the leaders end). Lay the split shot in the bowl, back off until the leader and six ft. of fly line is on the ground, Point the rod tip directly at the bowl. Trap the line against the corks. Lift the BB out of the bowl and lay it in again. When you can do 10/10, add a little more line, and start again. "Blueprinting" your cast over a short distance accurately, will catch you far more fish than a 100 ft cast. I can count on one hand fish I've caught at that distance. Also, just like hammers, not every rod performs the same, work with the rod and it will tell you what it does well.
Over most fishers lives, the majority of fish caught will be at 40 ft.or less. Many fish are at your feet. The grass isn't always greener over there. Can't tell you how many fish I've spooked before I even entered in the water. Several golfing clients enjoy casting at the "pin" on a course. I also use hula hoops for distance practice. You can also hang them from a limb, and shoot line through it.
Remember, the more line that is out, the more important (and difficult) line management, or mending is.
Start easy, work up to hard. Learning good tech. from the start, is better than unlearning bad habits later.
Bass fishing is credited by some very good casters as the one thing that made them better. (Under bushes, or in a small patch of water amongst lilly pads). Good luck!

webrx 12-16-2009 07:22 PM

Re: whats a good distance
I am a relative newb, I have only been fishing rivers for for a few years. I fish the Truckee here in Reno, which is a pretty good sized freestone river and can have some pretty good flows, although right now it seems a fraction of its normal self. On a good day I can probably cast bank to bank, which is a pretty good cast for me, probably 60 to 70 feet.

Now when I am fishing the river, I pick my spots and I generally cast about 20 to 25 feet or so and let it drift through, I do this starting close to shore (where I am wading in) and then towards the middle in an upstream fan pattern, then I take a couple steps and do it again until I am in the middle of the river more or less. From there I can fish the far bank, working upstream, again I will fish a fan pattern on the river from center to edges. On the way out, I will turn around and fish a fan pattern back towards where I am going to exit.

Now, if you are fishing a big wide river or the curent is really fast and you cant wade out to the middle, you may need that 60 foot cast to hit a seam, but most of the time if you are casting that far (in my opinion), on a fast river, you are going to have difficulty getting a drag free drift accross all the changes in current and you better be good at mending or be throwing a bug you can strip accross current .

When I hear someone say I am casting 30 to 40 yards (no offense to the original poster cause I probably said it myself a time or two) I kind of chuckle. I have only once or twice (with a wind at my back on the lake) casted into my backing, and when you realize that most fly line is 90 feet (30 yards) and that in order to cast 30 yards of line you have to be into your backing, you start getting a better feel for just how far 30 yards is.

As others have said above, it is not how far you cast most of the time, it is the presentation of the fly, how well you can control the drift, getting it down to the right depth, making it look like a natural on the surface, etc. and while there may be times you need that 30 yard cast, most of those times I bet you would be better off finding another way to get a fly to those fish with a good drift. Maybe work your way around and accross and come back up the other bank? I have found I do not get a lot of shots at or catch many decent sized fish if I am casting full out and then dragging my line accross multiple seams and trying to keep my fly in the feeding lane.


Bigfly 12-16-2009 08:17 PM

Re: whats a good distance
Dave, you said it. As flows change so do tactics. Wading the middle and fishing the edges is a good approach on the T when possible.
I fish surgically, hitting every seam, say every six inches or ft. while casting my way out there. Like you said too, fewer steps between casts is also key, stealth is good. If you break up your sonic profile, many times you can ease up right next to them.
As much as I like fishing "over-there", catching them a rod length away is very fun and statistically much better.
One good rule of thumb, is to keep the number of seams your line crosses to a minimum. As soon as I feel I'm straining for any reason, (Drifts, distance, whatever), I move.
PS. you have 4-5 times more water down there, compared to us up here, fish it man!

webrx 12-16-2009 08:23 PM

Re: whats a good distance
You reminded me of a funny story, I had been fishing the T, had a couple hits, but flow was down and fish were spooking easy. I snapped a fly off on something submerged, so pulled everything in, it was getting to be dusk, and I was having trouble tying on a #16 copper john (my eyes are going), well it took me a good 5 minutes to rerig my tippet and get the fly tied on. during this time I hadn't moved at all.....

Well, got everything tied on, and dropped the fly in the water while I stripped up the slack line, about the time I got the slack in my hand, my indicator, about 5 ft to my left, went under. low and behold a 12 inch bow had grabbed the copper. Apparently he found that my legs were providing a break in the current, and when that CJ was just sitting there for a few seconds decided he wanted a snack. LOL I still chuckle when i think about this - sure taught me to strip all the way back instead of recasting 10 feet away

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