Techy Thursday - Judging Distance

One of the things I see a lot with visiting anglers is the inability to correctly judge distance. Now we all know if we cast too far, we line the fish, or increase the chances of drag. If we drop too short, the fish doesn’t see our fly, or we simply spook him with a tungsten to the head.

We use longer leaders and require more accuracy than what many are used to here in NZ. If you can’t land the fly where needed, you won’t catch fish in our super clear waters. Here are a few tips I use with clients on to help them better land that fly where it’s needed.

  • Practise your casting with the general length of leader you will be fishing here in NZ. The difference between an 8’ leader, and 14’ leader can be huge. Check out THIS ARTICLE for a few tips on handling longer leaders.
  • Practice casting to targets placed randomly at various distance. Pick up and drop at one. Strip in your line then cast at the next, and so on. Don’t always cast at set lengths in practise.
  • Angle your casting plane a little out to the side, so you can triangulate between the rod tip, your target and line of sight.
  • Think in rod lengths. Look at your rod and judge how many rod lengths you feel the target is away. For most people, 3 - 4 strips of line from the reel = 1 rod length. Peel of the required line, remembering to account for the line and leader already outside of the rod tip and fire away.
  • Back yourself. Simply pick up that line and put the fly where it needs to be. You’ve got this... the more you false cast the more you’ll wonder if you’ve got the right amount of line. Pick up. Drop. Strike!