Why All Fly Anglers Should Be Watching Their Back Cast

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Louis Cahill Photography

Capt. Joel Dickey understands the importance of watching the backcast. Photo Louis Cahill

No fly angler should ever feel ashamed to watch his/her back cast when fly fishing.

In fact, if you make a habit of consistently watching your back cast, you’ll become a much better fly caster overtime and catch a good deal more fish when you’re on the water. Just because Brad Pitt in the movie, A River Runs Through It, didn’t watch his back cast in most of the fly fishing scenes throughout the film, doesn’t mean fly anglers should follow his lead. The best fly casters in the world watch their back cast when presentations call for it. They might not do it all of the time, but they sure as heck don’t think twice about doing so, when a specific presentation calls for it.

The reason I’m taking the time to talk about this today is because most of my clients struggle with the idea of watching their back cast. From my point of view, they shy away from doing so, because they feel like they’re raising up a red flag that signals, “Hey everyone, I’m a rookie.” But that notion is completely untrue. In reality, if a more advanced fly caster walks up on you and you’re casting poorly because you’re not watching your back cast, he or she is probably going to be thinking, “That poor angler, all he/she needs to do is make an effort to watch his/her backcast and most of those casting flaws would disappear.” If you’ve hit a plateau with your fly casting skills, more times than not, the best thing you can do to take your skills to the next level is start paying more attention to watching your back cast. Put it to the test next time you’re on the water especially if you’re a newcomer or intermediate fly angler. And don’t think it only applies to trout fishing in freshwater, it can be just as important, sometimes even more important, when fly fishing in the salt.

4 Reasons Why Watching Your Back cast Can Improve Your Fly CAsting and Fishing

1. You’ll stay out of the overhanging trees and other stream bank foliage.

2. Your Timing will be much better, and better timing means less knots, more distance, and increased accuracy.

3. When making backcast presentations you’ll be able to aim more effectively because you’ll know where your fly is at all times during your false casting.

4. You’ll be able to diagnose casting flaws much easier because you’ll be able to compare your forward cast and your back cast to each other. 

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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7 thoughts on “Why All Fly Anglers Should Be Watching Their Back Cast

  1. Backcast monitoring on occasions, not every cast, is essential to improving casting technique. One of the secrets of improving the backcast is to know that the back cast has enough power and loop control to be able to “shoot” it. Practicing the shoot on the backcast with indoor small practice rods is a very useful way of improving this ability.

    Also there are occasions when the backcast becomes the forward cast e.g. Using the power of the forward cast into the wind and using the backcast then to present the fly. Very useful addition to your casting armoury, especially when working mangroves on a windy day.

  2. While I do agree that watching your back cast is very beneficial, it should not become a habit. Many new freshwater fly fishermen learn to watch their cast. then they come down to florida to fish for tarpon, or other saltwater quarry. When migrating tarpon are moving, and you only have three back casts max to place an accurate shot, you wanna watch the fish, not your line. I feel it is important to be able to understand what your back cast looks like and watch it in certain situations, but it does become habit forming, and an angler should not become dependent upon watching their back casts.

  3. Pingback: October 11, 2013: TGIF Link Round-Up | Feather and Fin

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