There are a lot of moving parts in a fly cast.
There’s a lot of talk about the double haul and the tight loop, and there should be, they are hugely important skills that every angler should practice. It always surprises me, however, how many experienced anglers can’t, or don’t, shoot line in their backcast. I’m also surprised I don’t hear more about it.
I consider this simple technique essential for every type of fly fishing. The efficiency of working out line on both ends of the cast translates to more fish in hand in almost every situation. I don’t remember when I started casting this way. It’s a habit I’ve had for as long as I remember. I do remember when I became aware of its importance.
I was working with my friend Bruce Chard who was teaching casting to some anglers new to saltwater fishing. I picked up a rod and made a cast. Bruce stopped the group and pointed out that I was shooting twenty feet or so of line on every backcast. I wasn’t even aware of it but his point was spot on.
“He’s going to reach the fish in half the false casts,” he told the group. It’s nice to be told that you’re doing something right but for me it was just instinctive. The fly cast is symmetrical. It makes no sense to shoot line on your forward cast and not on your backcast.
Here are a few of the reasons you should practice this technique if you’re not doing it already.
Reaching the fish in fewer casts is always a good thing. If you’re on the flats, you can hit moving fish faster. If you’re streamer fishing from the boat, you will hit twice the holding water. Less time casting and more time fishing, it’s that simple.
You’ll spook fewer fish.
False casting over fish is a great way to spook them. Trout or tarpon, it doesn’t matter. Fish don’t like line flying over their heads. Fewer false casts decrease the odds of spooking fish. What’s more, the best way to avoid false casting over fish at all, is to shoot line on your presentation. If you shoot twenty feet of line on you presentation, then your last false cast is twenty feet from the fish. If you shoot twenty feet of line on the backcast, prior to your presentation, your last false cast is forty feet from the fish. See my point?
It helps load your rod.
Shooting line on your backcast gives your rod a better load for the forward cast. More line out of the tip means more weight to load the rod. In addition, the inertia of the free running line adds to the energy that goes into the rod. You get a deeper load and a stronger forward cast.
It reinforces good form.
A good fly cast is symmetrical. Way too many fly casters carry bad habits from years with a spinning rod. They try to muscle the forward cast and create tailing loops or shock waves that creat slack. Shooting line on the backcast reinforces the idea of symmetry. It makes your whole cast cleaner.
It improves backhand presentation.
When presenting the fly on the backcast it’s important to be able to effectively shoot line on your delivery. This helps prevent spooking fish as well as taking the energy out of the fly and landing it softly. If shooting line on the backcast is part of your normal cast it just comes naturally.
Practice shooting line on your backcast and I promise you’ll catch more fish and be a better all around caster.Louis Cahill Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com firstname.lastname@example.org Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!