Fly Casting Tips


Here is a brief overview of rod arm mechanics and key concepts with the basic casting stroke.

Rod arm

Grip - Key grip, using the thumb and index finger opposite each other as one unit and the lower 3 fingers as another unit

Wrist - has two positions, bent forward and straight. Every back cast starts with the bent forward position and ends in the straight position. Every forward cast starts with the straight position and ends in the bent forward position. Use the rod but to judge the wrist position. In the bent forward position the rod butt is inline with the underside of your forearm. In the straight position the rod but makes a 45 degree angle with the underside of your forearm.

Forearm - moves back and forth , this give the cast it’s stroke length. Short cast, short stroke. Long cast, long stroke.

Upper arm - lifts and lowers by using the elbow. The elbow stays close to the body, but does move up and down.

Fly-casting stroke

Every fly-cast has two casts, the back cast and the forward cast. The back cast lifts the line off the water and the forward cast delivers the fly to the water.

The goal of the fly-cast is to create an open ended unrolling loop on each cast. This loop will unroll and present the fly to the fish. You are not throwing line you are creating loops which will deliver the fly.

Fly-casting mechanics - Every cast starts slowly, accelerates gradually and ends abruptly. The acceleration is like a falling tree, it starts off slowly and reaches its peak acceleration just before it stops. The first and slowest part of the cast is the loading move, the second part of the cast which is the quick acceleration to an abrupt stop is the power snap. The loading move and power snap occur on both the back cast and the forward cast.

Loading move - gets the fly, leader and line moving as one unit. On the back cast, this is when you gently lift the line off the water using the motion of your forearm and elbow to lift. On the forward cast this is when you lower your elbow to gradually start the acceleration then your forearm comes forward toward your target.

Power snap - this ends the acceleration phase and stops the rod. This is where the wrist changes its position from bent forward to straight on the back cast, and from straight to bent forward on the forward cast. On the back cast you perform the power snap when you have reached the line-leader connection , this will gently lift the fly and line off the water and should be aimed at or above the horizon. The forward cast power snap is performed when your thumb is directly opposite your target.


Straight line casting - Every back cast should be 180 degrees opposite your forward cast in all planes.

Aiming - your thumb is your reference point. There is an imaginary line going perpendicular through your thumb nail. This imaginary line shows you where you have aimed your cast. On your back cast keep that imaginary line at or above the horizon. On your forward cast, look in your peripheral vision for your thumb as your hand comes forward. When that imaginary line from your thumb is opposite your target then you can power snap toward your target.  William Hassan  Medway