Become A Better Fly Caster - Tips And Techniques To Improve Your Fly Fishing Skills - Keeping A Rod Strung Up
March 04, 2019
So you've decided that you want to become a better fly caster and you're looking for tips and techniques to improve your fly fishing skills. Right? You did click on the link to bring up this post. Ok, lets back up a bit. If you like to fly fish, you owe it to yourself to improve your fly casting skills. You'll have more fun on the water, you'll catch more fish, you might even find yourself fly fishing more often and it's a really enjoyable process that's rewarding on it's own.
I'm not a great fly caster. I'm a good fly caster who gets to work with some amazing fly casters. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to learn from the likes of Macauly Lord, Craig Ucker, Sam Flick, Dave Jacobson, and Rod McGarry. I've worked to become a better caster and to be able to demonstrate effectively the casting techniques that I'm trying to teach and here's the single most significant thing I've done to improve my own casting. Practice.
You know it would help your casting and it can be fun, so how do you practice more often? Keep a fly rod strung up and someplace visible.
If your fly rod is broken down and bundled neatly in it's sock, secured in it's tube, and tucked behind your waders and boots in a basement closet, how often are you going to go through all the steps of digging it out, putting it together, stringing it up, tying on a yarn fly, and making a few fly casts? Make it easy and accessible and you'll practice far more frequently.
You don't need water to make the basic fly casts (roll and spey casts are exceptions), just some open space with cut grass. I have room in my yard to practice and can even make short casts off my deck. If you don't have space in your yard, keep the rod in your car and stop at the soccer field you drive by every day or step outside at lunch time and cast for ten minutes in the park or on the lawn next to the building. Is there a golf course where you go for a walk? Or an open space where you let the dog run? Right now my driveway has a nice snowpack and is perfect for a few minutes of casting practice after work.
Ideally, you'll use a fly line that you won't fish if you are going to practice frequently. There's a good chance that you're fishing with a line that should be retired because it just doesn't shoot very well anymore, even after cleaning it. Do you have a reel or spare spool that has been on the shelf or in a vest for years without use? Perfect. If not, don't fret. Cast on the grass and then just clean your line before you fish it.
I have two rods that I keep strung up. One is an old Orvis 4 weight that I "caught" on the Moose River in 1995 dredging a nymph at the bottom of Attean Falls. That rod owes me nothing and I don't worry about it sitting outside for seven months of the year. The other set up is an Angler Outfit from L.L. Bean that is on sale right now for $75 for rod, reel, and line. During the guiding season I will grab a rod out of the Maverick, snip off the striper fly, tie on a piece of yarn, and wander around the yard for a few minutes making some casts just to work with an eight, nine, or ten weight for a bit.
If you have or get a rod that can serve this purpose, tack three nails into the side of your porch or shed and keep the rod handy and in sight but out of harm's way and ideally out of the sun. It helps to have the rod up off the ground. I can attest to the rod-shortening ability of a lawn mower that picks up a bunch of slack fly line nestled into the grass. I turned a nine foot, six weight into a four foot, eight weight before I could get the blades to stop spinning and that rod wasn't found and wasn't inexpensive.
Grab your cup of coffee in the morning, step outside to greet the day, and make a few fly casts before you get consumed. Come home from work, visit the beer fridge, make a considered selection, and head outside. The beer sits in the snowbank well while you double haul for a couple of revolutions. In five minutes, you'll make 100 fly casts. And your day will start or end a little brighter.
Capt. Peter Fallon
Gillies & Fallon Guide Service
824 Main Rd
Phippsburg, ME 04562
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