How to Cast a Fly Fishing Line

How to Cast a Fly Fishing Line
Casting fly line is poetry in motion, or so some would say. Whether or not this is a shared sentiment, it is a method of fishing that involves nuances that must be practiced in order to be performed under fishing conditions. Casting fly line at first seems a daunting or challenging undertaking, however, with some knowledge and understanding, practice and patience, almost anyone can learn to effectively cast a fly to hungry fish.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

How to Cast Fly Line

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fly rod Fly reel Fly line Leader Tippet Flies
  • Fly rod
  • Fly reel
  • Fly line
  • Leader
  • Tippet
  • Flies
Step 1
Begin by setting up the fly rod. The reel should be securely mounted to the reel seat by tightening or sliding the lock rings. Thread the fly line through the eyes of the rod and through the rod tip on the end. Doubling the fly line will aid in threading the line through the eyes instead of working with a small diameter line. There should be about 3 to 4 feet of line from the end of the rod.
Step 2
Begin by properly gripping the rod with a thumb grip. To accomplish this, shake hands with the rod grip and close your hand around the grip. Do not hold too loosely but do not hold too tightly either. Use a comfortable grip. It is essential that the wrist stay locked into place to avoid overuse injuries and accomplish the proper cast. You should also position your body so that you face the target and you are in a comfortable stance with feet shoulder-width apart. Remember to practice good posture for those long days on the water.
Step 3
Next, using your free hand, strip line from the reel and slightly shake the rod to advance the line forward. A slight shaking will be sufficient as the weight of the line from the tip will pull the free line forward. To advance longer sections of line, lift the rod tip up and down in small motions to false cast more line from the rod. This is a necessary step to enable enough line to be available for pickup and casting without danger of the fly hitting the angler.
Step 4
Now raise the rod up in a smooth motion to the 11:00 position. This will begin the line moving toward you. Now briskly move the rod back to 2:00, which will pull the line up and over your head. Remember to pause momentarily and allow the line to loop behind you before returning forward to 11:00. When you do return forward, stop crisply at 11:00 to allow the line to shoot forward toward the target. Allow your hand and arm to follow the line downward as it descends to the target. This will allow for a proper presentation of the fly to the fish.
Step 5
There may be times when you wish to false cast your line. This involves allowing the line to loop behind you, bringing it back forward, and returning to loop behind again before presenting to the water. The purpose in this may either be to load more line from the rod to the cast or to dry moisture from a dry fly before presenting. With casting and false casting alike, do not allow your wrist to break on the back cast, as this will allow the line to progress too far back and down.

Tips & Warnings

Practice casting on grass without a fly. This is an excellent means to gain proficiency as well as accuracy especially when targets are placed on the ground for aiming.
Keep in mind that casting with a fly attached means you are casting with an object capable of causing injury or at the very least pain if it is cast into your neck, head or ear. When beginning to perform the backward casting motion, watch the progress of the loop to know where the fly is located. As your proficiency increases you will sense the location of line.

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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