Casting in fly fishing: 3

The subject of casting is a big one in fly fishing, which is why it merits a number of blog postings. And, no doubt we will have even more to say about it in the future.

One of the more difficult aspects of fly fishing is dropping the fly onto the water as well as and its subsequent movement on or beneath the surface. The angler is attempting to cast in such a way that the line lands smoothly on the water so that the fly seems to be as natural as possible. At some stage, if a fish does not strike and, depending upon the action of the fly in the wind or current, the angler picks up the line to make another presentation. On the other hand, if a fish does, the angler pulls in line while raising the rod tip. This action sets the hook in the fish's mouth. The angler then plays the fish either by hand, controlling line tension with one hand, or by reeling up any slack in the line and then using the hand to act as a drag on the reel. Modern fly reels have adjustable, mechanical drag systems to control line tension during a fish's run.

Beginners tend to point with the rod in the direction they want to throw. However, hand movement needs to be a controlled speed-up and then come to an abrupt stop. Done correctly, the rod will then start to unfurl and its tip will reach a high speed in the required direction. The high speed of the rod tip provides the impetus to make the cast.  The abrupt stop and retreat of the rod tip is essential for the formation of a loop. Experienced anglers also improve the speed of the line leaving the rod tip using a technique called hauling. This means applying a quick fast pull with the hand holding the line. At the end of the cast when the line is stretched, the line as a whole will still have speed. At this juncture the fisherman can let some extra line through their fingers and make a false throw, either forward or backward or to finish the cast and start fly fishing.

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