Intro to Fly Fishing: Casting with The Helicopter Cast
The helicopter or parachute cast is an interesting casting technique. Steve Moran taught me this technique on the St. Joe River during a hatch where the trout were being very selective. Downstream presentations can be exceptionally effective for wise old trout, especially when they are feeding on small dries or emergers.
The essence of this cast is to effectively eliminate your line and leader from the presentation to the trout. Position yourself directly upstream from where the fish are feeding. Insure you have enough line at your feet to be able to reach just beyond the feed trout.
False cast to get the line out to a distance just beyond the feeding trout, but don’t present. What you want to do is to stop you rod at the vertical position and abrupt the cast. You should notice that the fly drops 10-15 short of the target. This is perfect. Follow your rod tip down so the fly matches the speed of the water flow.
During presentation, put a couple of S Curves in the water, mending line back and forth. This will help insure your fly matches the speed of the water and eliminate drag. You will notice that the first thing to enter the target area is your fly. There is no leader or line drifting perpendicular to the strike area. It is upstream from them. Nothing is dragging over them.
I love this cast and find it one of the most effective casts later in the year when the water is slow and clear. Think spring creek fishing or late summer after the trout have become educated. Put this cast in your bag of tricks and you’ll be forever thankful!
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags my fishy friends!