How to Cast a Fly Fishing Rod

How to Cast a Fly Fishing Rod
When properly performed, casting a fly rod is a rhythmic motion that seems to place the fisherman in synchronization with his surroundings. Rather than a haphazard back and forth motion, the fly cast is a precision motion that involves timing, discipline and practice. With the proper understanding, knowledge and time, most anyone can learn to cast a fly rod and conquer what most consider to be a mystique.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Learning to Cast a Fly Rod

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly rod Reel Line Attached fly
  • Fly rod
  • Reel
  • Line
  • Attached fly
Step 1
Understand the fly rod before you learn to cast. At the end of the rod is the reel seat and locking rings. This is the point at which the reel will be situated and held in place while fishing. The handle or grip is typically made of cork rings, preferably Portuguese, glued together and shaped. The rod itself will be made of graphite, which makes up the bulk of modern fishing rods. Expensive and high-quality bamboo rods are still produced; however, their price tag is a limitation to the advanced fisherman willing to invest in such a rod. Located along the length of the rod are eyes that hold the fly line during the cast and fishing.
Step 2
Work on your body position and stance. The stance should be comfortable with feet shoulder-width apart. Keep in mind that many times you will be casting while wading, so a proper stance is critical to avoid taking an unwanted swim. Your body should be positioned so that you are facing your target or area of water to be fished. Good posture will be rewarded at the end of a long day--your back and shoulders will thank you.
Step 3
Gripping the fishing rod is extremely important. Most beginners will feel most comfortable with the thumb grip. There are also other grips, such as the golf grip, but the thumb grip provides perhaps the most control and is excellent for the beginner. Make sure you maintain a stiff and almost locked wrist during the casting motion. This is crucial to not only proper casting but to also avoid repetitious motion injuries such as tendinitis.
Step 4
To cast the rod, you will move the rod between approximately 45 degrees in front and behind you. This is also known as the overhead cast. Another way of imagining this is to cast between 11:00 and 2:00 on the face of an imaginary clock. When moving from front to back you should slightly pause. This is necessary when you are using line to allow it to loop without "cracking the whip," which is an excellent way to lose flies. Many professionals employ the use of a metronome to help students develop rhythm when practicing.
Step 5
Practice makes perfect. Learning to fly cast is just like any other sport you may decide to learn. It takes time, practice and patience to learn fly casting. Do not become impatient or frustrated while practicing. Also do not allow yourself to become sloppy with your forward and back motions. Stop and resume at another time to avoid practicing poor form or becoming frustrated.

Tips & Warnings

At first, practice without fly line and a fly. This will help to avoid the potential frustration of tangled line and will remove the possibility of becoming unintentionally hooked.
Practice in an open area where you can concentrate and where there will be no possibility of hitting someone with the rod. Also watch for overhead wires and cables.

Article Written By Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

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