Learning to Cast
The Flies of Fly Fishing
Here are a few tips to help with your casting, equipment preparation and fishing. I've broken the tips down into 3 categories:
Double your fly line when threading the guides
Double over your fly line about a foot behind the leader connection and push this "U" through the guides. This way, if the line slips out of your hands it won't snake all the way back to the ground.
Sharp hooks mean more hook-ups
Always check your hooks for sharpness by drawing the point across your fingernail. If the point doesn't dig into the nail, it should be sharpened.
Protect your rods and equipment
Car doors are a great breaker of rods. Always put your rod on the hood of the car, away from the doors. In fact, put any equipment you're taking off on the hood so you don't drive off with it sitting on the roof.
Check the leader for nicks
Nicked leaders can lose fish. Check your leaders by running the line between your thumb and first finger, keeping the fingernail pressed against the line. If there's a nick, you'll feel it instantly.
Taper your nail knot for smoother performance
Many people use a nail knot to connect their fly line to the leader. This connection can form a bump that often jams in the guides. To overcome this, always coat the nail knot with Pliobond, Goop or 5 minute epoxy to give it a tapered, football shaped joint.
Look at your backcast
The best way to smooth out your timing is to look at your backcast and make sure the loop is completely formed before applying power forward. Even after fly fishing for all these years, I still look at my backcast to improve my timing if my casting is a little rusty.
Keep your rod tip low on the pickup
The lower the rod, the greater the power on the pickup. More power means more line speed which means greater line control. Always start your pickup with the rod tip as low as your belt. For longer casts, it is advisable to have the tip almost touch the water.
Often novice casters get all tensed up when they are learning. This throws off their rhythm and timing, making things worse. When casting, remember to relax your hand, wrist and forearm. Good casting is the result of good timing and technique, not strength.
Now that you know the basics of fly casting, the next step is to practice, practice, practice. Work with the idea of controlling your line so you can cast to a specific target in the water. In the beginning, work with 30 feet of line, then gradually lengthen it as you become more proficient.
Approach a stream carefully
How you approach a stream is critical to your success. Always walk gently, never stamping your feet. Keep low, even squatting or crawling if the fish are spooky. Stay in the shade. If you wade, go very slowly, keeping your ripples small and close to your feet.
Keep your rod tip pointed at the fish when using wet flies, streamers and popping bugs
The more the rod tip points at the fish, the tighter the line remains and the better the chance for hooking the fish on the strike. Strip in line instead of moving the rod tip when you want to impart action on the fly.
Use shorter leaders on sinking lines
To get your fly deep, use a shorter leader, 3 to 5 feet, sometimes even as short as 18".
Get local knowledge
If you're a novice flyfisherman or fishing a new stream for the first time, stop by a local fly fishing shop to get information on flies, water conditions, places to fish, etc. Even ask other fishermen on the stream for advice. Most of the time they are happy to assist you. Local knowledge will always increase your chances for successful fishing.