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Fly Casting

This is where it all starts. Good casting puts the fly in motion lands both the fly and the line right where it needs to be. Whether it’s dry flies, nymphs, wets or streamers, many casting principles remain the same. But some are different. And some are not so oblivious.


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Fifty Tips Fly Casting Tips/Tactics

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #43 — Two Ways to Recover Slack

on
May 27, 2018
Much of what we learn about fly fishing comes from instinct. Fishing, after all, is not that complicated. It does not take a special set of talents or years of study to figure most of this out for yourself. It just takes a tuned in, heads up approach out there on the water, and a good bit of want-to.

Being self-taught has its own rewards, namely a certain individual satisfaction about doing and discovering things your own way. I would argue, however, that no one is fully self taught. And the motivated anglers I know all seek out information from a variety of sources to improve their game.

I like to think this Fifty Tips series and the Troutbitten site as a whole caters to that ambitious kind of angler — the one who takes pride in fishing hard and digging deep for new resources, mining information about the next small (or large) adjustment that hooks more trout to the line.

And many of these adjustment, these tips or discoveries are downright obvious. They’re the kind of thing that you certainly would figure out on your own if you thought about it long enough. They’re the things you already know, inherently, but perhaps haven’t thought about in much detail. And often, I believe within these simple things are the keys to the greatest discoveries — your biggest steps forward.

So here’s a “Duh” tip that has big consequences:

There are two ways to recover slack after the cast: stripping in line or lifting/moving the rod tip.

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Fifty Tips Fly Casting Tips/Tactics

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #38 — The Fly Line and Leader Need a Target

on
April 15, 2018
Look at the water. Your target is two feet on this side of a current seam that's drawn downstream from the tip of a gravel bar. Three trout are steadily rising within casting distance, lined up and distributed in the riffly, bubbly seam. Golden noses poke through the surface and slurp Blue Winged Olive duns without reservation, with early-season, confident rises and none of the skittish hesitation that you'll see in a month or two. It’s as if a long winter erased the trout's memory of all present dangers — of anglers and shadowy herons.

Yes, these trout should be (almost) easy. Your leader is well designed, tapered to a long soft piece of 5X nylon. Your position is downstream. Behind the trout’s vision and just off to the side, you stand in ankle deep water on the soft, inside part of the seam. You mentally process the targets and plan to pick off the most rearward riser because he’s closest to your position. And with luck, you’ll hook him on the first few casts. You’ll set the hook and use his upward momentum to pull him sideways and downstream, away from the top two risers. The other trout will be undisturbed — hopefully.

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Fly Casting Tips/Tactics

One Great Fly Casting Tip

on
April 11, 2018
I guess I take casting with a fly rod for granted. It’s not that I’m some fantastic caster or I don’t have my struggles, but in truth, I can usually put the fly where I want it. And after all these years watching good and bad casting from other anglers, I believe the difference comes down to one key element — speed.

My own education happened naturally. Over a period of years, fishing day in and day out, I developed a casting technique and style that works for me. But it took time, and not everyone has that luxury. Inevitably, the anglers I meet who struggle to cast a fly, whether working with a dry line, tight line nymphing, whether casting wets or streamers, it comes down to one thing. They aren’t aggressive enough.

The fly rod needs an angler who will take control and be bossy. Good casting requires acceleration between 10:00 and 2:00, with hard, deliberate stops at those points. That’s what I mean by aggressive. The cast should be crisp. It must stop between two positions, and it must stop with purpose. The casting stroke should never be lazy, and it should not be cautious. Otherwise, fly placement and accuracy falls apart.

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Fifty Tips Fly Casting

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #28 — Ten and Two

on
February 4, 2018

I’ll admit it. I came to the fly rod by way of Brad Pitt. When I heard Robert Redford’s overwhelming and compelling voice-over, it…

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Fifty Tips Fly Casting Tips/Tactics

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #18 — Imagine a Target — Fish to the Fish

on
November 26, 2017

You can roam the river, mending, drifting and stripping, casting into every corner pocket and straight channel. You have the skills to present the…

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Fifty Tips Fly Casting Tips/Tactics

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #10 — Mend Less

on
October 1, 2017

Many fly anglers are entertained and enamored with the fly line itself. They make loops and curls that hang and fall, watching the line…

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Fly Casting Tips/Tactics

Dry flies need slack. So give it to ’em, George Harvey style

on
June 30, 2017

Hatch Magazine published my article today: Dry flies need slack. So Give it to ’em, George Harvey style.

It’s about using George Harvey’s leader…

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Fly Casting Streamers Tips/Tactics

Fly Fishing with Streamers on the Mono Rig — More Control and more Contact

on
March 1, 2017
So why would we use a Mono Rig over fly line? What's the advantage?

Just like a tight line nymph rig, we gain more control over the presentation of the flies, and we have better contact throughout the cast and the drift. With fly line in the game, we cast and manage the fly line itself. With the Mono Rig, we cast and manage the streamers more directly.

With the Mono Rig, we can stay tight to the streamer after the cast, we can dead drift it with precision for the first five feet, keeping all the leader off the water. Then we might activate the streamer with some jigs and pops for the next ten feet of the drift. And for the last twenty feet, as the streamer finishes out below and across from us, we may employ long strips. All these options are open.

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