Fly Casting Problems Are Sneaky

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

If there is a problem with your fly cast it’s probably happening behind your back.

Do you know what your loop is doing when you’re not looking? It could very well be mucking up your forward cast. Tailing loops, collapsing lines and fizzling forward casts can all be the result of a poor back cast. There are definitely fishing situations when watching your back cast is not an option, but if you’re having issues with your cast it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what’s going on behind your back.

The fly cast is symmetrical. I say that so often I hear it in my sleep. The back cast is identical to, and just as important as, the forward cast. If it is not performed properly, the forward cast doesn’t have a chance. Asymmetric casts are one of the most common problems in fly fishing.

Tailing loops, for example, are very often caused by creep. That’s when you start your forward cast before your line straightens out fully behind you. Taking a longer pause on you back cast will solve the problem. Casts which fizzle out or fall apart usually start their life in the back cast. If your rod tip isn’t stopping clean, or high enough you will have a huge sloppy loop in your back cast. That kind of loop just won’t load your rod and nothing you do in your forward cast will change that.

The good news is that these are problems you can fix very quickly. Maybe even immediately. 

When your cast is in trouble, your first reaction is to analyze the forward cast. Next time you’re struggling, forget about your forward cast and look to see what’s happening behind you. Focus on making clean, tight loops in your back cast and nine times out of ten your forward cast will follow. Don’t let casting problems sneak up on you from behind.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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