Drift for Distance

Drift for distance

When we fly cast we are using the weight of the fly line to propel the fly to our target. To cast farther distances we need more line hence more weight to be delivered by the rod. For the increased line and its'heavier weight, we need more load in the rod.
If you think about the rod like spring, or a bow and arrow, a slight pull in the bow propels the arrow a short distance. To propel the arrow over a longer distance you need a deeper bend, or more load.
Problems can arise when you try to get the greater load in the rod. You can't use a short stroke (the casting stroke is the distance your hand moves during the cast) to bend the rod deeper because this results in too much power too quickly, which can result in tailing loops. Remember that an underlying principle of casting is that power needs to be applied smoothly.  So, if we want a deeper bend, we must accelerate the rod over a longer distance.

On the forward cast, many people will naturally rock or lean forward after the stop, this movement   is called follow through. Follow through going forward helps to smooth out the cast and lengthens your casting stroke for false casting longer lengths of line.

On your back cast, follow through backwards is called drift. Drift is a repositioning of the rod tip after the stop. When adding drift, remember to first stop the rod. Then as the loop of line is unrolling you reach backward and reposition your rod tip. If you stop your rod tip at the one o'clock position, while your loop is unrolling you can relax backward allowing the rod tip to be repositioned to the 2 o'clock position. With the rod tip repositioned backward, you have more stroke length for your forward cast and can achieve a greater load in your rod. The extra power will be added smoothly to your cast and you have more energy to shoot the line further.
 An important concept about drift is that it is down without power. It truly is a relaxing backward move. During drift, you are not applying power so your elbow can leave your side to follow the drift.
The direction of your drift should be in a direction, which maintains the tight shape of your loop. If you are casting vertically then your drift is more up than back.
If you are casting in an off vertical position your drift will be more out and back.
You can find this position by thinking of your drift as a continuation of the straight line path you've made during your cast.
So remember to think of the drift as a relaxing backward move done after the stop. It is done while you loop of line is unrolling and has no power.
Since you are relaxing backward you can relax all your muscles and you'll have fresh energy for your forward cast. The drift and relaxing allows you cast to feel more rhythmical and keeps you in contact with your line throughout the cast. Using drift you can get more distance with no more effort, which is great on a long day of fishing!
Have fun!