So it’s willow grubbing season and often your vertical plane, bread and butter over head cast just won’t cut it. Low hanging willows, trout feeding at very close quarters and the need to fire your fly ‘way in there’ create issues with an overhead unfurling loop. The answer: casting more on the horizontal plane.
Many of my clients can side cast, but very few do it well. Here are a few of the more common faults I see:
- Doming the tip path, creating a wide open, inefficient loop.
- Bringing the back cast too far back.
- Tracking: not keeping the tip path on the same plane throughout the back, and forward strokes and breaking the 180 degree rule (curving the tip path)
- Lack of line speed. Acceleration, delayed rotation and a crisp stop are essential here too!
- Accuracy and consistency: all the above contribute to a cast that just isn’t going to catch fish, and no one is practising their side casting, are you?
It’s all about maintaining a straight line path of the rod tip, but keeping the loop on a more horizontal plane than your typical, overhead oriented cast.
Go Practise! Throw a good form overhead loop, then simply maintain that casting arc, stroke length and nice, crisp stop as you bring your rod hand back and forth on a more horizontal plane. Throw one good form cast overhead, then one cantered out, say 45 degrees, and repeat allowing each to lay out on the ground in front. Overhead, then canter. Overhead, then canter. Examine each loop for parallel walls, consistent shape, depth and line speed.
Let your established overhead muscle memory guide, and build muscle memory on your cantered stroke.
When you’re happy with the results, and are casting consistently at 45 degrees, drop your plane to 90 degrees and repeat. Now you’re side casting.
If your loops fall out of parallel as you lower your casting plane simply increase the tempo / acceleration of your stroke and widen your casting arc accordingly to accommodate the added rod flex.
Want to cast lower? Simply kneel down to drop your loops closer to the water, or google The Pendulum Cast, but that’s another Techy Thursday...
And finally, go back and practise with different length casts. Place targets beneath picnic tables, clothes lines, chairs and vehicles. Create a point of focus to build better accuracy, because ‘near enough’ is not ‘good enough’.
Bonus tip from Chris:
Canter your back cast upwards to allow a lower trajectory forward cast and to avoid back cast obstructions such as banks, rocks, long grass etc. However, remember the 180 degree rule!
Go get ‘em!