Trout Talk

Cast killer — the most common mistake anglers make

Don’t take the life out of the cast

I know many good fly casters, and all of them have a little hitch in their giddy up. I sure do. My hitches just change every now and then. Usually after I sort one out, I develop another. But there’s one overriding, subtle goof that separates those who think they are great casters and those who really are great casters when it comes to seizing the moment and dropping the fly on a feeding fish, right on time and on target.

That flaw is dropping the tip of the rod at the end of the cast. A lot of people can form a tight loop and cover 20, 40 or even 60 feet no problem. But when it’s time to lay a fly right on the money at those distances (especially within a few seconds), many anglers I’ve seen seem to throw the rod tip toward the water. And that’s like letting all the air out of the balloon.

It’s a natural reaction. Point at the fish. But I’m telling you, you need to stop the rod at least a few feet above the waterline and have the trust that the leader and tippet will straighten out and deliver the fly for you. That last little hopeful lean… bow… point… whatever that move is, is nothing more than a cast killer. 

Stop the rod, and don’t let that rod tip flutter down toward the water surface like the fly itself. You might want the fly to seem lifeless, but you don’t want to take the life out of the cast. The only things that should fall are the line, leader, tippet, and fly or flies. If those things fall in the wrong place, let the fly settle and drift out, and cast again. Don’t pile drive that cast and don’t drop the tip of the rod. If you do, you lose all accuracy, all purpose, and you’re just left adrift.  Control your destiny with a good, crisp cast that stops above the waterline. 

*Adapted from the forthcoming Little Black Book of Fly Fishing by Kirk Deeter and Chris Hunt.

By Kirk Deeter.