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​Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks: The Fly First Cast

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So much attention is given to casting distance when talking about fly fishing. Super stiff graphite rods, where a 5wt feels more like a 6wt or 7wt of years gone past. The truth is, casting distance is great for competition and showing off, but for your average trout angler, it’s really irrelevant.

You want to be able to put some delicate presentation casts into your casting bag of tricks. Yes, you need to know the double haul, but getting to know how and when to use the fly first cast is crucial.

Fly First Cast

The fly first cast is essentially casting downstream with plenty of line in hand or at foot. It is a great way to get a drag free drift over a variety of current speeds within a section of water. The challenge here is the fish can see you, they are looking upstream as you cast downstream. Stealth is crucial here, as well as distance.

Distance

You don’t want to deploy this technique 10 foot downstream from you. You need a good 40-50 foot between yourself and your target water unless you’re in a boulder garden. 

Casting

Get as low profile to the water as you can. Instead of casting between 1 and 11 o’clock, you’ll be casting between 9 and 12 o’clock.

Get the fly up in the air and let it fall gently in front of you, about 15-20 foot. Let the current take the line out gradually to get the perfect drag free drift. 

This presentation is stunningly effective on picky trout. I use this cast routinely in late summer when the water is slows down, the fish spread out, the trout have seen their fair share of flies, and the water is gin clear. 

Tight lines and screaming drags

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