Learning to cast a fly

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Ron Clay

Guest
This section of the web site has, I am sure given some of our members the urge to go and do some fly fishing. Robs piece on Pike on the fly was very good. However if you have never done it before, casting a fly properly takes great skill.

What do you think is the best way of aquiring that skill. Teach yourself or go to a qualified instructor.

Personally I was self taught but many years ago I met a guy called Jack Martin who gave me a couple of tips. From struggling to get 25 yards, I was then able to cast 35 yards within minutes.

So what's best - teach yourself or go to a pro?
 
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Rob Brownfield

Guest
Ron, thanx for the thumbs up!
I taught myself after reading several library books on the subject. I am super accurate coz I started on tiny streams and had to drop dry flies in tiny pockets of water and cast between trees etc...but I do struggle with distance. I have a weak wrist (oi...behave...not because of that!) so a long or heavy rod causes me a problem. When using the heavier gear I tend to cast very "American", ie, with a very exadgerated arm movement. If I try a *UK* style cast my wrist gives in.

I had a lesson with Mr. Tomlinson...world record holder... who took one look at me and said...well..if it works...don't fix it..lol. On a good day I can get a full line out if its a 6 or 7 weight, but heavier, I struggle. I really must get my wrist sorted.

i am thinking of seeing a professional again though as i feel I could do better.

I think its like a golf swing, onece u have the basics, you can do it, but u need someone to point out where to improve.
 
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Ron Clay

Guest
For your information Rob, you are on the right track. The British way of learning to cast is WRONG!!!

I spent 20 years teaching fly casting and maybe I have learned somthing in that time. Most British casters tell you in so many words DON'T do this, DON'T do that etc etc. They detail grip, stance, stopping the line at 12 o'clock or some other o'clock and how you have to keep your wrist stiff. No wonder most British fly fishers get tennis elbow.

Fly casting is done from an open position with your grip as easy and natural as possible. it's done so that the double haul comes as naturally as possible. Even at my age I can cast 25 to 30 yards all day without tiredness. One of the best casters I have ever fished with is Joan Wulff. She has a much weaker wrist that you Rob, and can cast 30 yards all day if she wants to.

The other problem in Britain is that until quite recently, British reservoir anglers used awful 10 fott rods that were based on carp rods with fly handles. What they hadn't learned is that you can cast much further and easier with a 9 foot rod.

Thank goodness firms such as Greys are producing some sensible fly rods.

Unfortunatly most of the British casting instructors I have watched can't cast!!!

I could go on about the incompetance of British casting intructors until the cows home, but I think I had better shut up
 
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Daniel Whitelock

Guest
hi all, just taken up fly fishing - new daiwa whisker fly outfit in the post! my uncle is a great fly fisherman - came 8th in the national final at grafham just down the road last year, but it was bit unfair due to canadian team etc etc being there, but any way he came over with his fly rod and put me out in the back garden and told me what to do and within half an hour i had the hang of it and managed to get nearly the whole line out the spool so he went home swearing and muttering about i'm going to be better than him or something.
i've been given acces to a private lake belonging to a multi millionaire my dad is building a monster extension for full of nice trout average 3 - 4 lbs plus there are two monstors in there been stocked bout 15 lbs i think.
i found that when i was learning to cast i got on better using a natural action rather than keeping my wrist all stiff and elbow in the side but on a casting instruction video i watched, a very english bloke was explaining about keeping the wrist tight and using the forearm as an extension of the rod which made it easier, though keeping the wrist stiff i still find awkward, but i still manage to get a good cast out with a more relaxed rythm, rather than a stiff one.
i spose it must be down to the individual though on how he casts, surely if someone finds a particular method more comfortable, and achieves the same results, even if they aren't advised by the casting instructor then they would be better off using it than struggling and getting tired using the ''proper'' method?
 
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Carp Angler

Guest
I've only met one qualified casting instructor, Robin Gow who works for Orvis, and his casting semmed utterly effortless, supremely accurate and long when required.

He also has a good teaching manner, e.g. you don't realise you're being taught.
I don't ever remember his saying "don't" apart from when I tried to steal his lunch.
 
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Ron Clay

Guest
You are spot on Daniel. For goodness sake throw that Pommy video away.

Robin Gow who works for ORVIS. Of course he would have been taught the American way. Effortless accurate and long when required.

Most UK casting instructors start a beginner off on grass. WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

Get started on a small pond or bit of still water. Learn the roll cast off the water until you have it to perfection. Then when you can roll cast the line out straight, slide the line off the water into a back flick. As the line is uncurling behind you begin a foward flick and put the line out straight again.

In this you have the very basics of all casting and it's just a matter of building on this basic.

One of the best chapters I have read in any book on fly casting is that in "African Fly Fishers Handbook" by Bill Hansford-Steele. Another great writer on fly casting is Lefty Kreh who's books on the subject are well worth reading. As is usual with British concepts, someone comes along and tries to name these easy casting styles as "The Lefy Kreh Style", etc.

There is no such thing. For many years the distance casting record with a single handed fly rod stood at 22 yards. The in the 40s cam an American called Marvin Hedge who by getting away from tradition (copy of the Times under the elbow). virtually doubled that distance.
 
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Rob Brownfield

Guest
I use the Lefty Kreh Javalin cast sometimes when trying to get BIG flies out. It looks bloody weird, but works!

Strange though, I can Spey, Roll and Double Spey a full 35 yard salmon line out using a 15 footer..yet I see people really struggling with a long rod. My boss uses a 15 footer for the Pike!!...Interesting..lol
 
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Ron Clay

Guest
Lefty Kreh is one of the best fly fishers in the World. He has spent his life analysing the mechanics of fly casting. He is without doubt one of the great pioneers of salt water fly fishing. His fly: "Lefty's Deciever" has caught me many species and I think it would be a good pike fly.

I have never used a double handed fly rod in my life. I would like to try it one day to see if I could manage it.

The 5 Greatest and most innovative fly fishers: Here is my list:

1: Lefty Kreh
2: Lee Wulff
3: Gary La Fontaine
4: Doug Swisher
5: **** Walker

Only one Englishman features
 
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MARK FRAME

Guest
i taught myself in october last year and i can manage a reasonable distance when i think i have to. but how many fish get cast over because anglers want to cast at distance not every cast has to empty the spool. or does it.
 
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Ron Clay

Guest
The whole point about distance casting is that when you have to you can. Short casts are easy for competant casters. Never neglect the water under your rod tip
 

Colin Brett

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In answer to Mark re. Distance casting, Ron is correct about being able to, when necessary. Just wait until early summer when the ripple and the fish are just 5 yards too far out!

Good luck

Colion
 
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MARK FRAME

Guest
but what i am saying is for everyone that is "out of range" how many are being cast over so in reality no fish are out of range are they
 
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Daniel Whitelock

Guest
just got my new set up, managed to cast nearly the whole spool out with it cant wait to get out and catch my first trout, all i have been doing is practicing and my uncle says i got a great casting action so he's taking me to vicarage spinney this weekend hopefully so i'll let you know how i get on.
 
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Ron Clay

Guest
Good luck Daniel. keep your retreive slow and steady, and where possible keep low to the skyline.

I often sit on a stool whilst fishing just like **** Walker advised
 

Colin Brett

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Mark, I see what you are getting at, but what is out of your reach!! at present could be in your "range" when you can cast 40 yards.
I remember fishing at Rutland one day and the only person catching was a novice who could barely get his fly in the water. We even gave him tuition but to no avail, but he just kept catching. One of my mates commented that he [mate] couldn't cast that close!
Good luck with the 40 yds,
Colin
 
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