4 Tips for Making Better Backhand Presentations

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Capt. Joel Dickey Demonstrates How to Pull Off a Perfect Backcast Presentation. Photos By: Louis Cahill

Most of the anglers that I run into on the river, that are beginners or of intermediate skill level, seem to always have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to presenting their flies during their backcast.

For whatever reason, anglers that fall into this category, find it to be an awkward cast for them to make. Here’s what I find so ironic about backhand presentations.There’s really no difference between making a regular presentation with your forward cast and a presentation on your backcast. All you do differently is stop your rod and present your fly on your backcast instead of your forward cast, everything else should remain exactly the same. So why is it that so many anglers find backhand presentations so painful and unpleasant to deal with? Most of the time it all boils down to executing four simple steps during your false casting and presentation to pull off an easy and accurate backhand cast presentation.

1. Keep your confidence

The first thing I tell my clients that find backhand presentations difficult is to keep their confidence and imagine their casting down river. Just about everyone is comfortable making a cast on their dominant side (casting arm side). I then tell them to work out fly line with some false casts and instead of stoping their rod on their forward cast to present their fly, they’ll stop it on their backcast. The key is getting them to look at the backhand presentation as just stopping their backcast in the normal position like they do when their false casting. It’s really nothing more.

2. Pivot your body in the right position

If you have your body facing in the wrong direction relative to your target, you’re not going to have a good casting angle to pull off an easy cast. Try pivoting (turning) your body to the left or right before you begin casting. Turn left if you’re a righty and turn right if your a lefty.

3. Draw a straight line between your intended target and your forward cast.

The closer you can get to a 180 degree angle with your target and your forward cast while your casting, the easier and more accurate you’re going to find the backhand presentation to be. All too often I see anglers false casting down the middle of the stream trying to change direction during their final cast to the target. This takes your fly rod off plain and stops it from traveling in a straight line. That in turn, dissipates your line speed and destroys loop formation. Casting in a straight line with your forward cast in line with your target during your backcast is a key step in executing a spot-on backhand presentation.

4. Stop your backcast in the normal 2 o’clock position, and don’t try to help your presentation out with extra power.

Many anglers execute the first three steps properly but when it comes time to present their fly, they increase their power at the end of their cast, thinking it will help their fly out, and it ends up swinging their rod tip too far around. Doing this, causes your rod tip to come off it’s straight line path, and instead it will follow a curved arc path. This will decelerate your line speed, open your loop, and push your fly right of your target. When I see my clients making this mistake I’ll tell them to let their fly rod to the work and have confidence in its power.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “4 Tips for Making Better Backhand Presentations

  1. I have been razzed as my casts, loops, presentation is better on backhand casts than regular casts. It’s how I deal with wind as I’ve developed a severe allergy to self-embedding 1/0 hooks due to wind gusts.

  2. You nailed this one…”don’t try to help your presentation”. When all the false casts are straightening out on the back cast and the final presentation cast does not straighten out you added some bad mojo to the last cast.

    • Scott,

      Coming from a serious fly fisherman and a master casting instructor, your comment is greatly appreciated. Glad you’re following the blog and feel free to add your input on topics that spark interest. Its great for the G&G community to hear from anglers of your stature.


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