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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9 thoughts on “4 Tips for Making Better Backhand Presentations

  1. Many years ago my Keys guide explained the same thing to me with one small difference. I turn and face away (not just a mild pivot) from the target when false casting. While it is second nature now, I remember that facing away and doing a normal double haul, stopped me from wanting to put that extra push at the end. As the article says, just a normal cast but let the line go on the backcast. After a few thousand casts, you really won’t even think “backcast” any longer.

  2. Can you just say that you have heard of an off-shoulder cast? Cuz you guys beat this backhand presentation business like a drum. Just please tell me you’ve heard of casting off your opposite shoulder. That’s all I want, a sign that you know this technique exists.

  3. My back cast on rivers is pretty decent, but I seem to have a lot of problems with the back cast with heavier flies in the NE salt. After reading this article I think it does have a lot to do with trying to overpower the release on the back cast. Obviously the wind is greater and the fly I use is heavier on the ocean, but I have a decent forward cast in those conditions. Thanks for the tips. I’m going to try this out again this weekend. Hopefully there are some albies around!

  4. Any idea why I seem to have the fly come back and hit (or come close to hitting) my rod on backhand casts? I also have a lot more tailing loops on backhands? I am a pretty good caster and can cast 75+ feet on the backhand with decent accuracy, but I seem to have this issue on occasion when I am making long backhand casts (especially when it is windy).

  5. Better than casting with a backcast, is casting with the other hand. When I teach fly casting, I always start with the off hand. It is more difficult to teach and effect an accurate and effective backcast than simply using the other hand. I have never had anyone who even questioned it.

  6. Accidentally, the other day, I did a haul while doing a back cast, and was pleasantly surprised by the speed and accuracy of the cast. I’m gonna try to continue adding that element to my back casts.

  7. Pingback: Tippets: Backhand Presentations, Southwest Brown Trout - Pesca y Bits

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