This month NGTO is proud to present the "Casting Tip of the Month" courtesy of Scott Swartz and the Atlanta Fly Fishing School. I had the pleasure of meeting Scott last year and attending one of his schools. Hopefully these tips will also help you!
Casting Tip of the Monthcourtesy Atlanta Fly Fishing School
False casting is the image we get when we picture someone casting a fly rod. It is a beautiful sight to see the loops unrolling forward and back with perfect timing. The spray of water from line and fly shatter into a thousand diamonds of sunlight as they fall back to the stream. That is the poetry of our beloved sport. If you fly fish for poetry and the joy of casting then don’t change a thing…however, if you have days when you are fly fishing to actually try to catch fish then read on as this month’s tip is for you.
The false cast is simply a series of backward and forward casts that are made in the air. Although it is beautiful to watch, there are no fish in the air! In fact, there is an inverse relationship between false casting and fish catching. Also, the longer we aerialize line before allowing our fly to return to the water, the greater the odds of spooking fish, hooking a tree, a bush, or tying “wind-knots” in our leaders.
While false casting should be used sparingly it has at least three distinct purposes that allow even the hardest core fisherman an opportunity to enjoy their poetic side. 1) Use the false cast to dry the dry fly: a couple of casts should expel the water allowing your fly to once again float high. 2) Use the false cast to change the direction of your cast: false cast the minimum number of times it takes to turn your body toward the new target. An even faster way is to perform the change of direction cast. To execute this cast sweep the rod tip toward the new target (keeping your fly and line on the water) then make a back cast 180 degrees away from the target, and bingo, your forward cast is on course to the new direction. 3) False casting is the perfect way to lengthen the distance of your cast by shooting line, or to shorten the distance of your cast by retrieving line before allowing your fly to land on the water.
As for me? I can be competitive especially when fishing with friends. Those days my fly will hardly leave the water in hopes of upping my odds of catching fish. I do however, enjoy fly fishing because of the element of casting, and I must admit there are days I’ll false cast more than necessary…some days way more than necessary…and some days I just have to call it practice rather than fishing.