How To Practice Fly Casting On Grass
As a natural fly fishing lover, I often find myself wandering around YouTube, trying to find a good tutorial on how to practice casting. A similar thing always stands-out in all the videos I stumble upon; they aren’t practical for casting techniques.
You can attest that great fly casting training is built around mimicking actual scenarios. In this article, we’ll focus on basic fly casting tips, common mistakes, steps to follow, and practice drills.
Fly Casting Basic Tips
Just like in sporting where an athlete is required to be conversant with the mechanism of a game, to cast a fly rod tip successfully, you need to be acquainted with the essential tips.
At the end of the day, the main goal is to catch a fish, right?
Start by mastering the art behind ‘action.’ Action refers to bending a fly rod tip. Technically not all rods arc in a similar way. Therefore, the technique you employ to load your rod should be precise.
The key is to cognate your hand in a steady, curved-forward movement for your casts.
Second, practice with your hand movement. Your backcast parallelly affects your forward cast. A defective backcast directly affects your forward thrush. Thus directly changing your casting angle. It helps to practice your casts to help adjust your casting angle
Don’t put so much focus on one and neglect the other.
How do you hold a mobile phone? I suppose grip at the back and thumbs at the front. The same applies to a fishing rod. Your thumb should be positioned at the top of the grip. This helps you secure the rod firmly.
Your wrist acts as a pivot. It controls the movement of the rod and your casts. A tight grip prompts an immediate stop. Meaning, it is vital to flexibly position your hand so that you can easily loosen the grip or tighten it with ease.
Last is your body posture. Our primary focus is on the position of your feet fior casting. For medium or short casts, stand with your feet apart. The distance between your feet should be parallel equal with the length of your shoulders.
For a more extended cast, put your foot forward for better anchorage. If you are right-handed, put your left foot forward and vice versa.
Familiarising yourself with basic ‘body-language’ covers the essential fly casting stroke tips.
Common Fly Casting Mistakes
No man is perfect, and human is to err. But, some mistakes are avoidable. Below are some common oversights we unconsciously make when fly cast fishing:
Out of Plan Backcast
How good is your backcast? Does your fly kick up to the side when the cast turns over? If the answer is yes, you still have a few things to work on.
Even if you’ve mastered the art of double haul, your rod will always fall short of the desired target with a faulty backcast.
I remember the first time I went fishing with my dad. I couldn’t cast my rod even ten feet ahead. He said to me, ‘The secret is to open up your stance, and shift your focus setting the backcast directly over the rope.’
We often focus on being good anglers and end up neglecting our backcasts. As mentioned earlier, backward movement affects forward thrush. Therefore, your rod should perpendicularly fall to your back on your cast.
Double hauling comes in handy, especially during windy days and long-distance casts. I call it the final step before becoming a skilled angler. Most of us double haul from our hips instead of the base of the rod. Sorry to say, but this is entirely wrong.
It restricts your hand movement casting your line nearer than intended. An excellent double haul begins with your hands next to each other.
Your hand is holding the rear end of your rod and the other the line. Once the rod moves backward, the line should move down a couple of inches.
Note that at no particular point should your line hand slide down to your hip. The backcast draw should align your line hand with it. This pulls your hand back up the end of your rod. In turn, the force generated increases, thus making your hauls effective.
Shoot Line Errors
The shoot line is the basis of fishing in general. However, most of us tend to shy away from it and only use it for long-distance casting. Well, that’s okay. Nobody likes the feeling of having tangles at their feet.
To avoid all this, keep your running line wet. A wet line will less likely form unnecessary knots. Simply splash some water on the line tray. Remember to stretch your line after pulling it from the reel. To make work easier, stretch it out in bits.
Most lines entwine when loops on different sides happen to cross each another. When stacking up your line, start with the butt end and work your way to the front. If you routinely get into the habit of doing this, your line will most likely always shoot cleanly.
How To Fly Cast
First and foremost, you cannot learn how to fly cast by straightly diving into fishing in the water. This causes unnecessary frustrations.
For a starter, it’s advisable to train without moving water.
Live fish, water waves, and ripples are distractors, which will make it hard to concentrate on fishing or casting correctly.
Step 1: Practice Casting On Grass
Gather your rod, reel, line, and leader. Head to a grassy location. It is better to train on grass since it doesn’t wear your fly line.
You don’t have to go to the park. You can practice at home from the backyard or front lawn if it’s big enough.
Step 2: Mark Your Line
Mark a 30 feet marker on your fly line. You can also purchase already marked lines. The mark indicates when you have enough line. Load your rod.
Step 3: Target
Place a target on the ground as per your desired distance. This creates a more practical situation while improving your accuracy.
Step 4: Grip Placement
Grip your rod as explained earlier; thumb on top. Don’t hold it too tightly. This will quickly tire you causing unnecessary fatigue.
Step 5: Thread Your Line
Thread your line from its reel to the tip of the rod. Do it keenly and precisely. A single mistake can make you redo the whole process. To ease the process, nip the line into a loop.
Carefully thread the loop in the guides while pulling up the leader and tippet. This way, you’ve got a good grasp.
Step 6: Secure a Knot
Secure a knot and use it to tie strands to tie the tippet end. Pull 20 feet of line from the reel and place it on either side of your standing.
Right-handed people should put it on the right side and left-handed to the left. Ensure that your line is straight for it to cast well. For practicing purposes, tie yarn to the tippet.
Step 7: Cast on the Grass
Cast your line repeatedly until you achieve your desired goal. However, after each cast, take a minute to assess your progress, note mistakes, and make the necessary improvements. Employ horizontal sidearm cast whisk the rod forward.
It should form a sort of right angle above the grass. This will help you monitor your front and backcasts. For proper hand coordination training movement, stop the rod instantly after each toss.
Fly Casting Drills
Fly casting is a sport. There are no shortcuts. The more you practice, the better your skill set becomes. Consistently practicing particular drills help you sharpen your angles and transform into an excellent caster.
Drill 1: Repetition
Repetition builds up muscle memory. If you do something multiple times, your muscle fibers register it in the ‘long-term memory.’ It automatically develops into an instinct. Like a third sense or something.
If you want to train your hand muscles to withstand long hours of tireless practice casting, you’ve to do it repeatedly. It also helps your turn casting into a reflex. I mean, you don’t want to be the guy who cannot multitask during the ‘boys club’ fishing trip.
Incorporate fly casting into your daily or weekly routine to accustom your body to the groove.
Drill 2: New Techniques
Learning starts at birth and stops at death. In our lives, we are continually learning something new. Once in a while during your scheduled or impromptu training, slip in a few new cast techniques.
For example, if you are trying to change direction, you can try the snake roll. This breaks the monotony of training.
I have learned several casting tricks on the grass. Training during windy and calm days enables you to adapt to different climate scenarios.
Drill 3: Accuracy
Muscle memory minus accuracy is useless. Precision is what makes you catch a fish. To refine your exactness, set multiple prop baits next to each other on your grass field.
Practice on a target after another. It may take sometimes, but repetition harnesses perfection. The trick is not to put so much thought into it. Just get in the moment and naturally allow yourself to ease into it.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect. Or rather, it draws you closer to proficiency. People don’t become experts overnight. Even Tom Brady wasn’t born a naturally talented quarterback. Instead, days of continuous practices made him become who he is.
At first, it will be cumbersome with very little progress. But, continuity breeds better results.
There are two guidelines to good practice;
- Schedule short sessions – Best practice sessions are short. Instead of holding a one-hour session per week, divide it into multiple close sessions about 15- 20 minutes long. If you live far away from the park and lack sufficient space next to your house, you can engage in mini-routines once.
- Focus on The Right Things – If you are not sure about something, go back to the necessary resources, and refer. Sometimes, blogs and videos might be vague and confusing to understand. You can opt to contact an instructor for further clarification.
If you can’t find an instructor in your area, contact the Federation of Fly Fishers. They offer a list of certified instructors from different places.
Fly casting is neither difficult nor hard. Mastering the do’s and don’t is mainly dependent on your zeal, wit, & casting tip practice.
This article has highlighted everything you need to know, from essential tips, relevant techniques, the importance of practice, common mistakes, and other do’s and don’ts. With the right level of determination, you’ll be ready to embark on a fishing trip in no time.