Ladyfisher
Outdoor Writers Association of America
Northwest Outdoor Writers Association
This Week's View

by Deanna L. Birkholm

October 5th, 1998

Not Again


I have learned to cast so many times I'm not sure which one is right! In reality, there certainly are several methods of doing just a 'normal' forward cast. By that I mean a cast one uses for fishing for trout - not the rip your shorts stuff Castwell wrote about.

Several things in the past month or so have brought this to mind. The current article in the Bamboo section here is about the requirements for a fine fly rod. Part of that says the rod should perform flawlessly with the thumb on top of the grip, on the side, or with the forefinger on top.

Which of those are the 'right' way? It is accepted for accuracy, the forefinger on top is best. And a thumb on top, with a tendacy to punch the rod produces a tailing loop. The fix for that tailing loop is to place the thumb on the side of the grip.

So maybe thumb or forefinger placement is a matter of personal preference or comfort.

I can buy that. And I know there are many various speciality casts mostly used for dry fly presentation. Curve casts, slack line cast and so on.

However, generally folks who have been casting a while, and certainly those who teach casting will tell you the number one rule in casting a fly rod is: The rod has to stop for the line to go. I have been teaching fly casting for years, and truely believe you have to stop the rod to make the line go. I can prove that by stopping the rod with the palm of my hand on a foreward cast.

But what we know and can prove is not always the way it is.

I had a casting lesson at the recent Fly Fishing Dealer Show in Salt Lake. The instructor was Sandro Gatti. The owner and designer of Gatti rods. To be honest, several members of the Gatti Pro Team had a lesson. And it was a real eye opener.

Sandro Gatti and trout

First of all, the fly rod is lined very differently. By American standards one would put a 6 wt. line on a 6 wt. rod. For this method of casting, it requires using a 3 or 4 wt. line on a 6 wt. rod. And a long leader - 12 to 14 feet.

It is flat amazing. It works.

The back cast is not made the 'normal' way. Instead, it is a 'tower cast'. That is the cast is directed straight up, not back, making sure the line opens completely behind you.

Then - here is the kicker - a very fast forward cast with no stop! Literally a whip-like stroke. You only stop the rod to keep it from crashing into the water!

What happens? The line rolls out perfectly! With a little practice, very accurately! The advantage, is the line unrolls on the water, with the leader finally unrolling barely off the surface of the water. Great to reach under over-hanging branches or brush. A gentle, accurate cast using the power of the rod - without the transferred power of a heavier line smashing down on the water. Amazingly, a longer cast can be obtained as well.

One of the joys of fly fishing is I will never know it all. How very neat!

~ Deanna Birkholm

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