Fly Casting - Part Five - Reach Cast

"Tight loops" are words that have been used far too often, especially if you want
to apply them to fishing the streams of the Great Smoky Mountains National
Park. "Loose loops" would much better describe the cast you need to make in
the park. The loop made during a roll cast is not exactly tight, just for example. If
you want some words that describe the type of cast you need to make most of
the time, "crooked, loose loops" may be the best ones.  

Try placing a small target, something the size of a tennis ball, in your swimming
pool, pond or yard. Make sure you have the leader and tippet on the line. Back
off twenty-five feet. Now remember that if you are using a 9 foot long rod and a 9
foot long leader, 18 feet are taken when you finish the cast leaving only 7 feet of
fly line. Now with a minimum number of false cast, none of which goes over the
target, see how close the end of your tippet comes on your "first" cast.

Remember, the second, third, etc cast that lands in the same spot has fewer and
fewer chances of catching a trout. If your "first cast" that lands misses the target
by over 6 inches, you need to work on your casting. When you are able to cast
within 6 inches of the target every cast with no false cast over it and only a
minimum of false cast otherwise, you are ready for step two.

The step two cast should land your fly line and the bulk of your leader two or
three feet to the right (or left) of the target and place the end of the tippet (or
fake fly if your use one) within 6 inches of the target. You do this by making a  
reach cast.

In case you don't know, a reach cast is simply a cast where you reach to the
right of left of your intended target after the fly line is in progress unrolling on the
forward cast. You do this immediately after you stop the acceleration of the
forward cast while the fly line is still in the air before it hits the water or grass.
When you are making an upstream cast, the idea is to allow the line and bulk of
your leader to land as far possible to the right or left of the target so that the fly
passes over a fish without it seeing the line or leader. The fly should drift
downstream the first few feet at least a couple of feet left or right parallel with
your fly line.

You probably started trying to reach right or left during the cast without realizing
what you were doing. This reaction comes natural if you want your fly to drift
over an area left or right of the line. I was able to make a decent reach cast long
before I knew what the name of the cast was.

There is another similar cast called the curve cast I will discuss later. For now, if
you can't, you should be able to make a 25 to 35 foot reach cast (with no false
cast over the target) that lands the fly within 6 inches of the intended target on
the first cast that hits the water. No, I can't do it all the time but I can often
enough to catch a lot of trout. Also, remember that you need to be able to do
this under trees with limbs hanging over the water. In other words, making side
arm cast left and right of your body as well as overhand cast.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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