Mastering Shorter Casts
I was on the phone last night helping a customer with a rod selection. He at first was looking for a stiff, fast action fly rod. I of course asked him what kind of fishing he does. As it turns out, mostly small streams and brooks.
It seems it’s all the rage these days to get into a stiff, fast action fly rod that you can cast across the Madison River. I really don’t get it.
A fast action rod will get you distance and accuracy in the 60-100 foot range, but you’ll suffer up close. Conversely, a softer rod isn’t likely to get the average fisherman 100’ casts, but will be a great tool up to 60 feet out.
Skilled fishermen perfect there casting for short distances.
Think about this….if the river you’re on is 100 feet wide, what percentage of the fish are going to be on the far bank? How likely are you going to get a good drift? See the strike, set the hook? Additionally, as soon as you start chucking across the river, your fly line is going to put down everything up close.
I would say I cast more than 60’ out less than 10% of the time.
All that said, there’s a ton of fishing to be had right in front of you, provided you didn’t stomp like a T-Rex into the river. Mastering short casts can be a bit of a challenge.
We have to unlearn the way most of us learned. The first thing many of us did when learning to cast is to strip out 10-20 feet of line and start false casting, looking for the line to load up on the rod. Then, we took more our and our casts got progressively longer. We probably spent most of our time in the 40-60 foot range.
How much time have we spent on accurately casting 10-20 feet?
Here’s a tip for you that I came up with when I was teaching my youngest how to cast. I forget what rod I was teaching here on but it was small. Take your typical 9’5wt or 9’4wt and section separate the rod at the half way point.
Now, cast with just the top half of the rod. Notice that you don’t really move the rod much. You’re really not going 10 to 2 o’clock. It’s more like 11 to 1 o’clock. This short casting stroke is the key to precision and accuracy over short distances. This tip stroke will help you in short distances.
Now the next thing is to get some practice in. If you’re anything like me and embarrassing your 10 and 12 year old daughters and wife of 18 years is a guilty pleasure, put on your craziest, non-matching clothes, grab some targets, and hit the front lawn to get some practice in.
I’m sure you’ll notice the targets within 15 feet of you are harder to hit than the ones at 25. One thing that you’ll notice over time, your line control will improve. This is a must for mastering short casts. Practice makes perfect, so keep at it. If you’re neon green socks, T-Rex shirt and bright orange shorts don’t impress the neighbors, your casting accuracy is bound to.
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags