Fly casting has almost become a separate aspect of fly fishing. There are articles every day (add this one to the list) and countless instructors teaching their art around the globe. There are so many different ideas going around and everyone has their own style, their own twist they like to add to get their point across. My own casting comes from multiple different sources, I'm sure that that if you put all these influencers into a room together they would probably all disagree with each other and state that their way is best.
One thing is constant, the lift! The first step of every cast should be a deliberate lift, straight up. All too often you see fly fishermen of all kinds rushing into the cast, just tearing the line of the waters surface to get the fly back down as quickly as possible. Whats the hurry? A good lift sets up the rest of the cast, you want to bend the rod as little as possible here so that you have plenty of reserves left for accelerating into the back stop. If you lift too quickly or in a lot of cases, don’t lift, then there is nothing left in the blank to move into the next steps of the cast.
I like to look at casting as a way of increasing my chances of hooking a fish, I am not into the distance game at all, but the lift adds another dynamic to inducing the take from a fish. A quick lift or just gong straight into a cast and more than likely you pull the fly away from any fish that might have followed you across the pool, but a slow lift adds extra fishing time, gives you another few feet to work with to try and get that salmon to take, the amount of times I have had fish take the fly as I was lifting up into the back cast is evidence enough to me that the lift can be an important tool in our fishing armoury, not to mention an essential part of the cast.
Use every inch of your lifting space to get the most out of every cast. All too often we start with the rod parallel to the water, three feet above the waters surface. The reality of this situation is you have just lost three feet of lifting space, we can only lift so high before it has a negative impact on the rest of the cast, so it is imperative that you start with the rod tip right on the waters surface. This goes for every kind of casting you do. Always make sure your line is straight with no slack before you start, this means once you begin to lift the rod you are lifting line off the waters surface, making the next phase of the cast an easy process, especially when it comes to making your anchor.
Once we add a sinking line into the equation our mind plays tricks on us and we feel we have to put a lot of effort and extra speed into getting that line out. Not quite, you don’t need to roll the line out of the water either. Rod tip on the waters surface and a slow lift upwards, make sure it’s nice and slow, once you put upward pressure on the line the current actually helps push the line to the surface. Sinkers are much easier to cast than everyone thinks. Just go slow and do your lift.
So, if you have your line and leader properly balanced and you are still struggling with your casting ask yourself a few questions,. Are you doing your lift? Are you rushing it? Are you going straight into your cast? is your rod tip on the waters surface?
Stop, make sure the line is straight, rod tip on the surface and begin a slow lift straight up, get at least two thirds of the line off the surface and then move into the next phase of your cast.
The Lift - Its Mandatory - Must do!