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Scott M

Flycasting

14 posts in this topic

So I am making it a regular habit to work on forward and back casts for about 30 minutes a week. Not much time, I know, but its a start. Overall its good to hold the rod since I bought them in the early fall and never got to use them. I guess my question is if you were to start a routine or if you can remember back to how you learned, how much time did it take you to get good at flycasting? What should I start working on next? Stripping, hauling, other? It sounds like I will need to be able to execute a nice roll cast if I want to have any luck this spring. I'm not holding my breath to be an all star this spring, but if I can get the bare minimum in I think it will go a long ways...

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You're off to a good start! Keep practicing as you are. When the warm weather comes, try to cast to different paper plates layed in the yard (short distancess, long distance, by trees and other obstacles). The main goal is to not get frustated and have fun. It will take a while to become an "all star", but in time it will all come together. Come summer, I would try first targeting panfish and bass. Its alot of fun and good practice.

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sounds like tough homework! I'm thinking back to when I first started fly fishing, and I did a similar start to you, dry casting in the yard. First make sure that you aren't casting your line without a leader, you wouldn't want to damage your line. Also, don't tie on an expensive tapered leader. You won't be as concerned with turn over right now, so some heavy 30 or 40 pound mono should suffice. You don;t want to get "wind" knots in your fancy leader. Then tie on a piece of yarn in place of a fly so you can see the end of your tippet. I used a piece of pink glo bug yarn. This way it will still serve the purpose of casting a "fly", but you won't hook yourself in the ear.

I definitely didn't have as strict a regimen as you for my practice times. I tried to choose a time that wasn't extremely windy. make sure you cast in an area free from trees, because there is a big likelihood you will tangle up in some branches, no matter how far away. A good start is to strip 30 or so feet of line out in laid out in front of you. start a back cast and stop, let the line fall. See what it feels like to have the rod load on the back cast. With the fly line behind you, start a forward cast and stop, again seeing how it feels to have the rod loaded. Practice this a few times and get familiar with the feel. You'll know when the rod is loaded properly, because the line will just boom through the guides and of your rod. Once you get the rod loading down, practice false some false casting, paying attention to your timing. Once you get the feel and tempo down, then you can work on tightening up your casting loop and refining your technique. I think it's hard for any novice to work on good form and technique, if they've never even felt a rod load before. When you get confident false casting, start working on a single haul. If you're brave you can double haul, but I'd wait on that until you get a little more experience under your belt. I wouldn't spend anymore time than half an hour practicing. I'd start fresh and end fresh. Try to leave things on a good note, so you just remember your good habits, and not the 5 million wind knots that you just put in your leader ;). I'd probably only do a couple of these sessions on land, then would proceed to do some water practice.

I didn't practice much on dry land, mainly for the simple fact that on the water education is probably the most effective tool. You will not be able to practice and develop your roll cast on land. You need the tension of your line pulling on the water for the physics of that cast to work. I would say aside from a forward or backcast, and a single haul, the roll cast is probably on eof the most important casts to master. With a rollcast, you keep your fly in the water longer, and that results in more opportunities to catch fish. In addition, if you are fishing sinking lines, you will need to perform a few rollcasts just to bring your line to the surface, before you can perform any other cast. The rollcast is THE most important cast I make; I use it most of the time I'm on the water. It is effective when mending line as you can use it to perform stack casts, effective for dead drifting nymphs across multiple current seams.

I think once you master those casts, it's time to start fishing. Go to a sunfish pond and start there. Those sunnies don't care about how sloppy your first casts are; in fact some are actually turned on by it. Once you get the first tug on the other end of the line, you know something is working right. This is a good situation to work on your different casts, as well as gaining some positive affirmation by being able to catch some fish in the process. Always a good confidence booster. I think fishing for trout on a spring creek for your first outing is a mistake, because somedays, even the veterans can have a hard time getting into the fish, No need to dissapoint yourself right off the bat. Boost your confidence and hone your chops on those sunfish, and graduate to some bass and then whatever your heart desires.

Good Luck. Tight Lines!

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Wow, great post J.P. Very helpful! Well, I guess I will be spinning this spring along the north shore...I shouldn't have expected to be ready come March or April to be able to put that fly right on the money. Knowing what those streams look like I know I won't have an effective roll cast by then

I have no problem waiting and practicing on gills. I shouldn't rush things and have a bad experience...like anything in life we all have to put our time in to improve and knock on wood, I should be getting pretty good at things in the coming years and have some great memories from all corners of the state with a fly rod. In between then and now I'll keep asking questions.

Any other practice tips?

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I'd say the best practice tip I can give you is to tell you to be patient. Flycasting requires more timing than just opening the bail and letting it fly.

When I started flyfishing (I think in 1994) I found some great books and videos at the public libraries in Duluth and Winona. I think one video was by Doug Swisher. I've seen many flyfishing/casting books in the libraries around "lesser" Minnesota, too.

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Thirty minutes a week is probably 30 more tha most people put in - to their detriment as casters and anglers. Here are some quick tips:

1) The line does what the rod tip does. Think about the rod tip traveling in a straight line if you're looking for the idealized "tight loop". If you move the rod tip in a big arc, the line goes in a big arc, which isn't very eficient. Wobble the rod tip around and the fly line has waves in it.

2) As one fly shop's bumper sticker says, slack is evil. This means you can't pick up the line to make a back cast until you remove that slack. It also means that if you let your back cast sag by tipping the rod back after you've stopped the rod, you'll have slack. So, three sub-points: Stop the rod firmly on both the back and forward casts, limit the movement of your wrist and watch your timing.

3) The first two tips lead to this: As you cast, position your feet so that you can watch your back cast. It helps immensely. A good backcast is way more than half the battle.

4) To follow up on other's suggestions, keep at it, but don't beat yourself up if progress is slow. Developing "muscle memory" is a big part of this, as it is with developing a nice golf or tennis stroke. Just make one cast at a time and take a moment to analyze what went right and what went wrong. Don't wear yourself out by making cast after cast that do little but tire you and reinforce bad habits.

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Scott, bring the flyrod and a spinning rod, if you become frustrated with flyfishing, break out the spinning rod. That is what I did when I first started and it kept me interested and from giving up.

I skimmed JP's post (which was a great one, definetly a quality one grin.gif ), and I didn't see anything about hand position on the handle. When I first started I would put my hand like this

000_0050.jpg

It worked fine for role casting and small streams and rivers, but when I went to Mexico I couldn't load the line enough to cast 50 ft.+ and the guide was getting frustrated that I couldn't reach the fish he was pointing out. Finally he jumped down off the polling platform, grabbed the rod and in broken english said "stop cast like that, like this do", and he grabbed my rod and held it like this.....

000_0051.jpg

It made the world of difference for me. IMO it gives me much better control of my backcast, line speed and helps "punch" through the wind a little better.

Like everyone said, don't get frustrated (I still get windknots, line tangled around my legs and in the trees, and have hooked a guide or two) and keep practicing.

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Thanks Nater. Got better news recently on the long term job front, no call back from the other place. Oh well, shouldn't be much longer now. Might in Walker area this weekend with a bud (not for poutfest, just to fish), if so I'll call.

Lots of great suggestions and hopefully lots of beginner's can read these tips. Thanks for taking the time to take those photos and post them...Luckily I've always been a thumb up guy for spinning and bait casting so I serendipitously had that habit going for me.

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Scott, good to see you've been giving the old rod some love. If you get the chance you should swing by the Great Waters show in march, there's a ton of really good casters to watch, and there's a bunch of FFF guys that do open casting lessons. A little one on one from any of those guys will get you a good start in the right direction.

And you shouldn't need the spinning gear for the shore, the streams are small enough that you can use a long leader and high stick it if your roll cast isn't working, but you should be able to get your fly out there after a little practice.

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Scott, you'll get it. I'm sure you're a quick study and will be able to pickup that rollcast in no time. Porter's right about highsticking, always an overlooked technique. Too many people watched "the movie" and thought it was all about false casting. Somtimes just a dapper will do ya. I've caught many a fish with the high stick, just like the old cane pole days. Definitely an effective technique for tight line nymphing.

If you're in my neck of the woods (or I'm in Lesser MN) during open water season, give a shout and we can join up for some population assessment studies grin.gif

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You should watch the video International spey casting. It will teach you alot about the roll cast. It is hard to practice this type of cast without water. You lift the line out of the water on the back cast, when the line comes down and touches the water surface you start the forword cast. You need some but not much water stick to get the line to roll over correctly. As they say; touch and go. The roll cast is the most inportant cast in flyfishing.

If you ask me, the snake roll is the coolest cast in fishing!

If you do watch International spey casting, remember. If you are right handed, the single spey is for when the current in the river is going from right to left. The Dubble spey and Snake roll are for when the river flows from left to right.

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a couple of good books that got me started was a L.L. Bean book, i believe its called the ultimate book of fly fishing. really good book. it takes you all the way from the differnces in rods, weights, lines, leaders, knots to proper four part cast, roll casts, and trouble shooting your cast. it also has a section that teaches you the basics of even tying flies and the materials and equipment used.

the other book is made by Orvis called fly fishing guide. If you get this book make sure you get the complete book. its around $20-30.00. orvis goes through the complete steps just like the book above minus the fly tying part. orvis also sells this book broken up by its chapters buts its almost stupid because it cost 4 or 6 times as much by buying all the chapters.

i taught myself off the l.l. bean book and i bought the orvis book just because it was fun to read and to brush up.

a good friend of mine is wanting to get started and i actually gave him my practice rod and reel, a vest, a fly box, and threw those two books at him.

anyways its helpful knowledge and it gets you excited.

i wish i would have planned out a regime when i first started. i basically baught a rod and reel and would carry it along on my spin rod trips..at the end of the day i would take out the fly rod and make a few cast and believe it or not i caught a rainbow on my first dozen cast. i also lost 3 flys in those dozen cast too due to high grass and really crappy back cast but that one fish was by far the best fish ive ever caught just because it was the first and full of pure luck!! he deffinitely was a hungary little guy.

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I have spent hours watching flycasting vids on you tube as well. Good place for the quick infor.

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I just was on youtueb again and saw a vid that was not there earlier. It is called fly fishing lessons and it has part 1-20. It is very informative and walks you through many steps in different casts. I just dont know why they could not put al lof the videos together, but none the less it is free and informative. Check it out.

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