Mossy Creek guide, Bob Cramer, continues his series of casting tips.
The day you have been waiting on all winter has finally arrived. After enduring days, weeks and even months of cabin fever, your guided trip with us is right around the corner. Many anglers will grab their rod, head out to the yard or local stream and knock the rust off their cast before their trip.
Most of us tend to gauge how well we are casting by how far we are casting. As pretty as it looks, as a guide I can tell you that casting 40, 50, 60 feet of line means nothing if you can’t put the fly where it needs to be. The majority of the streams we fish don’t require a 50 foot cast but what they do require is an accurate cast.
I am a firm believer that the best opportunity to catch a trout, especially a big trout is on the first cast. Every time you have to make another cast to that fish, the odds of catching it go down. I much prefer to have a client that can cast 20 to 30 feet of line accurately over someone that can rip off a 60 foot cast, but has no idea where it’s gonna land. The majority of the time, I can get you within 30 feet of a fish, but then the ball is in your court.
Here is a tip I use with my clients to improve their accuracy. I call it measuring line. This is what fly casting competitors use in accuracy competitions.
To practice this place a small target in the grass. Walk back to a comfortable casting distance for you – say 20 to 30 feet and pull off the amount of line necessary to reach your target. Make a cast, but intentionally land a few feet short of your target.
If your fly lands 3 feet short of your target, move your line hand 3 feet further down the line, make another cast. You will be holding the line in your line hand, between your thumb and forefinger. This is important because you will not shoot line by letting go of it on your presentation cast. If you need to adjust the distance again, do so and make another presentation cast until you have the distance perfect.
Once you have the distance right, mark that line distance by holding the line between your forefinger and thumb of your line hand. DO NOT LET GO OF THE LINE AT THAT SPOT.
If you need to strip line, use the other three fingers of your line hand but hold tight to that marked spot between your thumb and forefinger. As long as you have that spot marked, you can make that cast, with the perfect amount of line as many times as you want.
It takes awhile to get used to not letting go of that spot on your line and stripping with your other fingers so you have to practice it until it becomes second nature.
This is a really important technique when fish are feeding on small dries or in difficult spots. Many times, when feeding on tricos, trout will not move 6 inches to take your fly. Getting the exact amount of line measured in advance allows you to make perfect casts, over and over again. It also allows you to make accurate casts to difficult spots near that undercut bank without constantly getting hung up on the other bank by over casting, spooking the fish or losing your fly.