To Cast a Fly

by Harry Salmgren, Swedish Editor

Essentially flycasting is a very enjoyable and pleasant exercise and ought not to be made more complicated than it really is. Therefore we say that your rod is the "pendulum" in the air which, when moved, will help gaining line speed. Secondly it is you who have to decide to form that slinging line into a controlled loop by halting the rod thereby bringing the trailing line ultimately to stretch out. Thirdly this forming of loops is made with the rod in repeated motions, back and forth with pauses in between.


You take a comfortable stance with both feet. The rod with an additional two rod-lengths of fly line is extended behind you on the lawn (or equivalent), and you hold the rod grip comfortably with a "tennis" grip. By bringing the rod tip over you in an accelerated motion that will end opposite the start, you have now given the line enough speed to form a loop when you eventually halt the rod tip in its forward position. Thereby you can decide exactly when and how you want to form your loop. By gradually trying to narrowing the loop You get more and more control over what happens. So by getting familiar with the motion and by concentrating barely on forming the loop narrower, your casting will improve. Just like thinking narrow loop, and you'll get there! By returning the rod with a flick backwards, you'll then also be able to form an equivalent loop behind you. With some practice you can start casting effortlessly also by lifting the line from a position in front of your body and repeating the motion after the loop has stretched out behind you.

Side Casting

Then you'll want more control, and this will come by casting sideways, parallel to the ground in front of you, thereby letting the rod and loop move to the left and to the right of you, back and forward. This practice also gives you an insight in the dynamics of a performed cast. You realize that you sometimes need something similar to a "racket swing" and sometimes a "hammer swing" to exactly perform the desired loop you concentrate on.

There is suddenly no need of specified casting arcs by the clock as between 11:00-14:00 or whatever. You can now grow into longer strokes when called for, or shorter when those are needed. Because all that remains is fishing practice at or near home in controlled conditions. At the actual fishing site you time to adjust for wind, weather, distance or types of flies used. The casting motion needed to form the loop you concentrate on, will also be depending on the rod and line combination at hand.

Narrowing it down

These factors all relate to your casting arc or motion. The narrow loop is essential most of the time. To form it, is the goal, and to think "make it narrow" will bring the rest of the fly line into a straight cast when performed.-Ah, if it was possible to start all over again. To whip the loop forward for the first time. To see it sling the tailing line into a straight forward halt and to gradually become able to duplicate the motion -back and forward- with the mind concentrated on forming a still narrower loop. Well yes, the familiar movements luckily bring all this back again, over and over, always when casting; What a joy!

See you by the waters,

Publisher's note; English is Harry's second or third language and it has a special flavor that we've tried to retain. Anglotropic types might consider their foreign language skills!