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Fly Casting Basics...

Fly Casting for the Beginner...

So, you have read and hopefully understand the concepts and rules associated with fly casting. Now just a few more basic things. You have had some terminology thrown at you and a brief review of their meaning may be in order along with a few new things. I will also introduce a few select fly casting videos into the mix on this page. Don't worry, no more concepts and rules. You are getting closer to actually picking up a fly rod...

First, a few basics...

How to grip a fly rod - There are basically three ways you can grip a fly rod and none of them is necessarily wrong. I do think that one of them is best as you begin to learn to cast. You can hold the rod like a club with all of your fingers and thumb, you can grip the rod with your fingers and palm and the index finger on top (not the side) of the rod pointing towards the rod tip or you can grip the rod with all four fingers with your thumb on top pointing up the rod to the tip. I believe the last of the three options to be best as you start. Having your thumb on top provides perhaps a little more control of direction and your thumb can help impart more energy from your hand to the fly rod acting more or less as a short lever.

Arm and wrist movement - We all realize that the fly rod does not move itself so we need to do that all by ourselves. We can all do it without too much effort. Many beginners and others who are too stubborn to learn proper casting technique look like someone trying to beat a large alligator to death with a 2X4 while others look like someone trying to pound a small nail into the wall with a large hammer...pretty much all wrist. As you might imagine, neither is correct when fly casting. You use your hand to grip the rod and your arm and, to a limited extent, your wrist to propel the rod "to and fro". When properly done, it looks almost effortless. I could try to use a bunch of words to describe the casting motion but I think Joan Wulff does it much better in the following video. "The Hand & the Arm"

Fly casting loops - You will quickly discover the two "bad" loops and begin to work towards casting a good loop. Below are three illustrations. The first is a loop that is too open or wide (bad), the second is a tailing loop (bad) and the third is what you want to achieve. I thought of making a concept for air/wind resistance but I did not. Just know this, the tighter (narrower) the loop, the less resistance to forward movement and the wider the loop, the harder you need to work for any given distance.

open loop.png

This first simple illustration shows an "open " loop and it is probably what you will experience first. For most beginners, the cause of an open or wide loop is your wrist. When you bend your wrist too much, what happens to the rod tip? It looks like the end of a windshield wiper goes in a wide arch. There can be a few other causes but this is where you should concentrate for now. If you did not watch it earlier, watch this video now. "The Hand & the Arm"  Remember rule #2!

good loop.png

This one is easy to explain! This is the result of doing everything right...the concepts are understood and all the rules are followed. Here is a short video of a near perfect cast. Take a look and imprint it in your mind. The Perfect Fly Cast by Guillaume Tremblay-Gagné. Also know that a cast like this is not necessary to catch fish. In typical trout, bass and panfish (bluegill, crappie, etc.) fishing, most fish are caught within 30-40 feet of you.

Getting much closer! Click here for the next page...

Fly Casting:

Additional Resources 

There are a number of excellent resources for fly casting. The first I would recommend is the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center. There is a great deal of very good information not just on casting but also on most other aspects of fly fishing. Personally, I think that any video that has Peter Kutzer as the instructor is well worth watching.

I can also recommend another website by the name of Sexyloops. They are currently in the process of revamping their site. There is a massive amount of content so you may need to just "look around" for the fly casting information. At the present time, it seems that the best way to find the fly casting information is to use the "Contents" tab at the top of the page or follow this link to what I think is the original fly casting section of original site.


For those of you that just cannot put up with more reading and no action, here is the link to the page with the links to the videos and articles I find to be the best for a beginning fly caster. I would especially like to credit Orvis and Peter Kutzer for their many fine videos on fly casting. Also, a shout out to Joan Wulff for her really great videos. Click here to find these quality videos and articles...

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