The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 16 - January 30, 2013

reel time

The 10-minute practice session

Reel time

rusty chinnis | submitted
Practicing on grass allows you to concentrate on learning
the essentials of fly casting.

Visualize the drama – a school of big bonefish moving along a mangrove edge, heading right towards your boat or an advancing school of permit tails across a jumble of coral, slowly coming into casting range. You ready your fly rod, keenly watching the approaching prey.

However there is just one problem – a strong head wind has picked up and as you cast. This can either be a perfect opportunity if you have a practiced hand and can deliver a cast to the fish or it can be the moment you wish you had practiced your fly casting on a regular basis and not just under perfect conditions.

It never ceases to amaze me that someone could spend a whole year anticipating a trip to an exotic location and never use that time to hone his/her casting skills. Many a tear has been shed on sand strewn bar floors reliving what might have been.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Create a practice schedule that you can stick to. Start by practicing three times a week for 10 minutes. Any additional time will, of course, be a bonus, but the importance of a regular practice schedule cannot be overemphasized.

The following are some suggestions you might find helpful. Start and finish your casting practice by reviewing the five essentials of casting. These essentials are the physics that govern the creation of a good cast.

1.There is a pause at the end of each stroke, which varies in duration with the amount of line beyond the rod tip.
2. Slack line should be kept to a minimum.
3. The rod tip must follow a straight line path.
4. Casting arc is increased with the length of line being cast.
5. Power must be applied in the proper amount and in the proper place during the stroke.

There are lots of good casting videos online that can help you understand these essentials. It’s best to practice casting outdoors on a grass lawn. Stand in a relaxed position. The left foot should be forward of the right foot for right hand casters. The right foot is forward for left hand casters. The rod should be positioned at the base of the fingers with the thumb on top of the grip. The thumb should be facing your target. Stand so that you can watch your forward and back cast. If possible use a power line or other horizontal line to trace your casting stroke. You should, of course, be a safe distance from any power lines.

The thumb should be on top of the cork facing the target. The wrist is straight and the butt of the rod is at a 45 degree to the forearm. The wrist travels from this straight position to a 45 degree down angle then returns to straight position. Do this several times before adding the motion of the forearm.

Repeat the cast several times and then add the motion of the upper arm. If you have access to a video, try filming your session and them review it after you’re finished. Finish your casting practice with a review of the casting basics.

Regular practice sessions will definitely make you a better caster and will pay huge dividends when you’re on the water. There is no substitute for the confidence you’ll gain and the pleasure you’ll experience. Even when the fish aren’t biting you’ll enjoy the ability to make smooth, effortless casts when and where you want them.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper