Cast Better: Good presentation at distance

Now you're casting a long way presentation may suffer. Nick Hart has the cures...

PRESENTATION is one of the many keys to flyfishing success and I’m pleased to say that there are a number of tips that will perk up your presentation.

First things first, shorten your fly line. Remember that it is always better to do a short cast well rather than a long cast badly! Once you have achieved good presentation at short distance, then begin to extend your line. As you improve your distance there will be a number of elements that you will need to concentrate on to ensure your casts do not collapse. Focus on timing in particular as a rod that is not fully loaded/ tensioned by a completely straight fly line will lack energy. The reduction in energy gives less line speed, which will not allow your loop to fully unroll. The net result is that the line will crash into the water.

Related to this fault is a tricky mistake to diagnose for yourself, known as ‘creep’. In these circumstances the rod is allowed to move forward/ backwards gradually as the line is unrolling into the back/ forward casts. As the line extends it does not flex the blank effectively which often results in an almost completely straight fly line landing on the water with the exception of the forward taper which collapses in a heap. A session with a casting instructor may diagnose this fault which is easily corrected by ensuring the rod remains stationary whenever the line is unrolling in the air during false casting.

Many anglers achieving good distance for the first time are using weight forward (WF) profile fly lines. If this is the case, pay particular attention to the amount of running line that is allowed to extend beyond the rod tip. Allow a little too much and if you do not have extremely high line speeds the cast will collapse. There are various ways of countering this such as purchasing a fly line with a long head section (see your tackle dealer/casting instructor for advice) or improving line speed with the double-haul cast.

Be aware of your loop size too. Well-formed, controlled loops will help achieve both good presentation and distance.

Finally, give your line some ‘hang time’. Angle the rod tip towards the water during the forward stroke and the fly line will follow, collapsing in a heap with a fish frightening splash. To counter this problem pick an object on the horizon such as a tree and aim your rod tip at it. The high forward cast will allow the loop time to fully unroll in mid air prior to falling gently towards the water via gravitational pull.

Also in the Cast Better series...

1. Casting in the margins

2. Camouflage your casting

3. Distance casting

4. Casting teams of flies

5. Casting in the wind

6. Reaching a tight spot

7. Good presentation at distance

8. Make your own shooting head