Handy Fly Fishing tips to add 30 to 50 feet to your fly cast
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By: Chris O’Byrne FFF Certified Casting Instructor, Photos by Taylor O'Byrne
This article is a follow up to Ten Fly Fishing Tips For a New Fly Caster, posted April 20, 2012. It was prompted by a question from one of our customers who is new to fly fishing. We appreciate your patronage and feedback. I encourage my students to attempt to cast with right and left hands, hence I will use the terms ‘Rod Hand’ and ‘Line Hand.’
YOUR OTHER HAND
In order to make learning the fly cast easier and more enjoyable, I like to incorporate, one by one, the different techniques which make up the whole cast. With that principle in mind, these are the roles of the line hand in fly casting;
- First, your line hand should stay out of the way.
- Next, you will use your line hand only to anchor the fly line.
- Later, as you develop, your line hand will help in “shooting line.”
DO NOT USE YOUR LINE HAND
As a developing fly caster, your rod hand should be your main focus. When you integrate your line hand, difficulties will emerge.
I suggest you do not use your line hand before being able to cast about 30 feet of line; simply put your line hand in your pocket, pinch the line against the cork with your rod hand. This way all your concentration can be on manipulating the rod tip.
This goes for fly casters of all skill levels; still today, when I practice my casting, I begin with a few basic activities using my rod hand only and my line hand in my pocket. See Ten Fly Fishing Tips For a New Fly Caster.
INTRODUCE LINE HAND; ANCHOR THAT LINE
Your line hand is needed, now, to anchor the end of the fly line in the same way that your rod hand did before. Simply pinch the fly line in you line hand, hold your line hand between your rod hand and your body. While your rod hand makes that nice ‘flicking’ motion (concentrate on the tip of the rod,) your line hand should be quite immobile. Anchoring the line is non-negotiable in the fly cast. Throughout your progression as a fly fisher, you should spend a good deal of time practicing with the line hand not moving at all.
Shooting line is the way fly casters cast longer distances. Standing in a ready position, pull three of four strips of line off the reel and drop this at your feet. Make the normal cast you’ve been practicing and when you stop the rod on your forward cast, let go of the fly line in your line hand, swwwwshsh! Out the line will go!
I am sure that before long you will be able to shoot enough line to cast 40 feet and more allowing you to fish comfortably in most locations.
WE WISH YOU TIGHT LOOPS!
When I teach fly casting, I generally see new fly fishers struggle when adding their line hand. Coordination challenges timing and tangles in the fly line are just growing pains in your sport and the abilities you develop along the way are rewarding in themselves. Describing his success in shooting line, one of my young students told me with evident enthusiasm, he was “jetting line!”
I hope these comments give you a general outline of the role the line hand plays in the fly cast. For more information, check out our Fly Fishing Schools. Enjoy your practice, and we’ll see you on the water!
Comments are encouraged and appreciated!