Shot: Joel Dickey

On the topic of casting and teaching better casting, I find that in almost all cases most anglers use more power than is helpful in getting the fly to land correctly and accurately. As a result, I teach students to cast “just hard enough, like putting”. I find that after employing a ‘less-energy’ approach anglers achieve higher marks from the trout. Softer casting – and the associated loop control that comes with it – delivers more delicate landing and lift-off characteristics that can really tilt the table in the anglers favor. The presentation is all about having the fly behave well at the right time – softer the better. Not to mention that during all day fishing sessions, gentler casting is easier.
By emphasizing smooth acceleration and dampened stopping, a more efficient and easier casting stroke is easily achieved. Whether casting a fairly long line to tailing bonefish or working a pod of rising trout at 35 feet, the softer the better. Remember the fly just has to get there, not past “there”.

Working through how to be gentle with the rod becomes easier by asking casters to focus on the loop and push just hard enough to get the line to barely turn over and no more. Once they experience and feel how slowly and gently they can move the rod to have an effective delivery, they never look back.  Even casting big streamers and heavier rods for large fish at long distances I find that concentrating on loop control and easier strokes yields longer cast potential and more arm strength at the end of the day.

David Decker owns and manages the Complete Fly Fisher in Wise River, Montana with his wife, Christine. A former commercial fly tier, David has guided for nearly 40 years. If it has to do with bugs, rods, or chasing fish of all descriptions – David is your man. Check out the Complete Fly Fisher: