One of the ways to really improve your casting - almost
like magic - is to check your casting form.
Not everyone has problems of course, but nearly
everyone can improve their casting - me included.
In our classes, we tell our students to stand with
their feet slightly apart, with their casting arm
relaxed at their side. Once the students have the
basic stroke, we tell them to drop their foot
(on the casting arm side) back slightly, which
allows the caster more freedom to use their body
in the cast.
Can you picture that?
Quite often, a student new to fly fishing has been
fishing - with a spinning rod. The difference
between the casting in fly fishing and spin fishing
is simple. In spin fishing the weight of the lure
takes the line out, in fly fishing the weight of
the LINE carries the fly along for a ride.
I'm not sure there is an accepted 'best' way to cast
a spinning rod, but often the person who makes the
move to fly fishing tries to use the fly rod in the
same manner they used the spinning rod. It doesn't
work. A flick of the wrist will throw a spinning
lure. It doesn't matter much where or how high you
hold the rod. It does matter with a fly rod.
Think of it this way, since it takes more effort to
cast a fly rod, (except on short 20 foot or less casts
where you can just use your wrist) the muscle which
stops the rod should be your biceps. The big muscle
above your elbow engages and provides the power
needed. Here's a little test:
Hold the butt section of your rod in your casting hand
(thumb on top please) and with your arm hanging down, elbow
bent, begin casting. Put your non-rod hand on top of your
biceps. Feel what happens as you cast. Now move your
casting hand up and keep casting, feel the biceps as
you do so. Notice that once your hand is at or above
shoulder level the less biceps you use. Take it to
the extreme and reach up and continue to cast where
the upper arm is level with your shoulder. Any biceps?
What is going to stop the rod? Your wrist? Don't think so.
Where do you have the power to stop the rod? With
your elbow down.
That's not all of it.
In the photos shown above and to the right, the anglers
are casting with their arms stuck out at shoulder level. It looks
like they are casting big rods, and trust me, it's an
extremely tiring way to fish. Elbow down, with the
arm comfortably hanging at your side is less tiring
and considerably more efficient all the way around.
If you were a professional boxer, how would you throw
a punch? With your arm extended out to the side and
your hand/fist up in the air? Or would you punch with
your hand at a low position between your waist and
shoulder? Where is the power?
The next time you are out practicing, or fishing, do
a mental check. Where is my casting hand? If it is anywhere
above your ear you aren't getting the most out of your
cast - and you are working much too hard.
By the way, if you are suffering with elbow or shoulder
problems, your casting form may be part of the problem.
Holding your arm out to the side or over your head
places unnecessary stress on them. Correct that problem
now by changing to a lower hand position.
Keep it simple - keep the elbow down.
~ The LadyFisher
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