The Steeple Cast
I fly fish on the St. Joe River in Northern Idaho quite a bit. For much of the water shed, your back is literally going to be up against the wall once you get down on the river.
Whether its rock, trees, or other obstructions, we’ve all been in the situation where we simply don’t have room to back cast.
Many folks in this situation will use a roll cast. That’s OK, but if you are in low water conditions where the fish are rising, that might now be the best choice. The roll cast isn’t terribly accurate and can be noisy.
This is where the steeple cast comes in.
The essence of this cast is your fly fishing rod follows through the 3 o’clock position parallel to the water to the 12 o’clock position directly overhead. The challenge with this cast is the individual fly casters typical wrist action.
If you have a tendency to break your wrist, you’re going to end up at 1 o’clock or 2 o’clock and in the wall. There’s a couple of tricks that can help.
One is practice with a rubber band around your wrist and tuck the butt of the rod in it. This lets you know just how much you are breaking your wrist and you can learn to correct.
The second is to put your index finger on top of the fly fishing rod in line with the rod. This makes it that much hard to break your wrist.
The trick to the steeple cast is to use the frictional tension of the fly line on the water to help load your rod. Pull in your slack as much as possible. Shoot the rod tip up to the 12 o’clock position and flick it forward to the 3 o’clock once the fly line is vertical.
You’re going to have to stroke and reach forward a bit to master the cast, but it’s worth the effort and the practice.
The steeple cast can be tricky, and you’ll get your share of snags of flies snapped off. However, think of it this way... Once mastered, you’ll be able to fish water many fisherman cannot. That is a definite bonus!
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags