Sunday Classic / Slowing Down and Casting Easier Can Improve Your Fly Cast

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Fly casting can often be improved by slowing down and casting easier. Photo Louis Cahill

Read the title of this article and try to live by it.

It’s my attempt in “one sentence”, to help fly anglers quickly improve their fly casting, and it’s made me twice fly caster and fisherman I am today. There’s lots more to fly casting than slowing down and casting easier, but if anglers focus on doing both together, they often will find that it can greatly improve their overall technique and control. Ask any professional sports athlete how they maximize their performance and potential, and almost all will reply with excellent technique. It’s no different in fly casting. If you want your fly casting to reach its full potential, you have to first build a strong foundation of fly casting mechanics and principles that you can consistently live by on the water. I’ve found personally that when I take the time to slow down and cast the fly rod with less power, it’s much easier for me to focus on the most important element of my fly casting, my technique.

Let your fly rod do the work

I’ve noticed a great deal of fly fisherman over the years cast with a tempo that’s too fast (rushing their cast), and they also often apply far too much power during their casting stroke. The majority of fly anglers that fall into this category are usually intermediate fly casters. They’re generally skilled enough to fish multiple types of rigs and cast their flies close enough to their targets to catch fish, but they’re approach has them expending far too much energy in the process. Furthermore, this style of casting usually yields a casting stroke that is slightly out of control, creates loops that are inefficient (sloppy) and presentations generally suffer. Put all these negatives together and you’ve got a fly rod that’s not able to perform its job effectively. Remember to always let the fly rod do the work, don’t try to be the power house. It will only work against you in the long run.

Why slowing down and backing off the power will help your fly cast out

First, by slowing down and watching your forward and back cast, you’re going to improve your timing and eliminate the creation of slack, because you’ll be matching the pause length correctly to the amount of fly line your casting. Second, by decreasing your power and casting easier, you’ll find it easier to smoothly accelerate your fly rod through your casting stroke, and keep it traveling in a straight line path throughout the cast. And because you’re not overpowering the rod, similar to flooring the gas pedal in your car, you’ll be able to feel the rod loading and stop the fly rod more abruptly (at its fastest point during the casting stroke). This will allow you to form more uniform and aerodynamic loops that will transfer the energy more efficiently from your fly rod, down through your fly line and leader, to your fly. You’ll find this all translates into you achieving the highest level of technique and efficiency in your fly casting, and your fly rod will be able to maximize it’s power and potential.

So what am I trying to emphasize here? If you cast too fast and too powerful, you’re going to find it very difficult to focus on your technique and it will suffer greatly. And if your technique isn’t where it needs to be in your fly casting, you’re overall casting mechanics will be lacking, and that my friend, will keep you from casting and fishing at your full potential. Not only will you be unable to get the most our of your fly rod, you’ll also greatly be impeding your ability to improve and advance your fly casting skills over time.

Next time you place a fly rod in your hand and hit the water, remember to slow down and cast easier. Doing so, you should find increased grace, and with grace, excellent technique follows.

Looking to fine-tune and dial in your fly casting? Check out our Gink & Gasoline hosted trip to the Bahamas at Andros South. We’ll be dedicating a portion of the trip to fly casting instruction for each of our group attendees.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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4 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / Slowing Down and Casting Easier Can Improve Your Fly Cast

  1. My baseball pitching coach said it often, “Reach back for a little less.” In the excitement of the moment, it applies to my casting as well. Good article.

  2. The advice in this article is excellent. Here’s a tip I learned from MacAuley Lord. To find the “sweet spot” in your casting stroke, make a cast with”too little” power – such that you form a loop but it does not have enough momentum to completely unroll. Repeat. Feel how little power it takes to pull the rod against the weight of the line. Repeat again, focusing on “perfect” mechanics – straight line path, casting arc, timing, movement of the body/shoulder/arm/wrist. Burn this into your neuron pathways. Own it.
    And don’t forget to smile…

  3. Agree – concise and excellent article – had my buddy scream at me for a decade ‘don’t overpower it!!’ It took Chris Dore IFFF CCI to patiently offer this exact advice as a correction- still working on it. invaluable advice.

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