How you stand at the water’s edge can have a huge impact on casting performance, as Nick Hart explains…
COMFORT when casting is very important so invest in some decent socks and footwear practical for the conditions. If you regularly spend time wading while bank fishing then stockingfoot breathable waders with a high quality set of boots will be worth their weight in gold. Add a decent wading belt with a back support for even greater comfort.
Consider the sole of your footwear in relation to the terrain and circumstances you are likely to encounter. There is nothing worse than attempting to maintain balance while trying to cast. For my small water fishing I opt for a set of walking-style boots with padded ankles and while spending a day afloat I could not survive without a quality boatseat incorporating a back rest.
Comfort should also be carefully considered in relation to the angle of your body and foot positioning while casting. The classic front foot forward (right handed caster with right foot forward) or ‘closed stance’ is fantastic for short accurate casts and is also worth trying if you tend to rotate your shoulders or hips while casting. However for most stillwater flyfishing it is restricting; especially if you like to double haul and practice techniques such as drifting into the back cast.
The most comfortable fishing and casting position to adopt is a casual ‘open stance’, placing the foot opposite your casting shoulder forward. So for example a right-handed caster would position their left foot forward with the right foot positioned a comfortable distance behind. Some anglers will choose to point both feet along the bank, while others will place the front foot pointing towards the water and the opposite foot along the bank. There is no definite rule regarding this other than the angler must be comfortable at all times!
The open stance provides a relaxed feeling and is the ideal body position to practice long distance casting techniques such as the double haul. When adopting an open stance it is important that you do not allow your shoulder to rotate as this will take the rod out of a straight line path, resulting in reduced power and a lack of accuracy.
An open stance is highly recommended for advanced casters who like to ‘drift’ the rod into the back cast, a technique that allows for a longer rod stroke and greater power to be placed within the blank. By slightly bending the rear leg it is possible to arch the back allowing for very long back casts that will reach for the horizon on the forward delivery. Once the cast has been delivered the angler can then return to their casual open stance.
Finally, it is worth taking wind conditions into consideration. A right handed caster with a wind blowing from right-to-left will suffer problems as the line blows across them mid-cast - and injury could result.
Should you like to fish a particular location during such conditions all you need to do is reverse your open stance. This technique effectively turns your back to the wind converting your back cast into your forward cast thus ensuring the line is blown away from delicate parts of the anatomy such as ears!
Try a variety of stance positions
during actual fishing sessions at
the water’s edge and also during
casting practice to see what feels
natural. Experiment between short
accurate presentations and long