Techy Thursday - The Manic Guide to High Banks

So high banks are both a blessing and a nightmare to anglers in that while they can offer greater visibility from an elevated position, this same elevation creates a whole new set of issues when it comes to presenting your fly.

Chris Dore How To Fly Fish


The biggest issue I see is anglers not accommodating their extra elevation above the water. Their pickup begins with the rod tip often metres above the surface and this means metres of troublesome slack just waiting to ruin your day. Absorbing that slack often eats up most, or all of your available casting arc and by the time your back cast stops, you’re lucky if you’ve even connected with your fly. (Wonder why your everyday back cast sucks?)

Begin with your rod tip held as low as possible, reaching your arm downwards and either take in a few extra strips of line to ensure there is minimal slack throughout the system, or employ a dynamic lift. The moment your rod tip moves, you want your fly to move. Now there’s that high back cast! Problem solved!


To ensure you’re not either opening the heck out of your forward cast, or presenting your fly 20’ above the water we need to alter our casting plane. “Short back cast, low forward cast” maintaining a straight, 180 degree path of our rod tip, sending our back cast high and aiming our forward cast to a point a metre or so above the water, as if we are casting down a ramp. The easiest way to perform a high back cast is to keep your elbow low, steepening your hand path, and to think of it as an ‘up cast’, stopping your rod tip on an upward, not backward trajectory.


The moment your fly settles on the water, all that line hanging between your rod tip, and the surface will want to pull back and hang vertically beneath your rod. This naturally will pull your fly across the water too. Employ a slack line presentation whenever casting from an elevated position, and shake a little extra slack from your rod tip too following the drop. Keep your rod tip low to ensure your hanging line is least affected by any wind, and to give you the best shot at picking up the aforementioned slack when it’s time to set the hook.