Casting Tip November/December 2014by: Bill Armon CCI
Thoughts for practice; winter is here, a good time to practice to improve your casting for next spring.
One of the best tips for practicing casting is to practice often for short periods. This proves to be much better than long sessions where the caster gets tired. Therefore, winter is the perfect time to practice – quit when you get cold. (Wear a t-shirt or a tank top if you are particularly hearty). Fifteen to twenty minutes at a time is plenty.
First of all mark your practice line with a permanent marker so that you know how much line you are casting, (marks from 30 to 60 feet every 5 feet works well). Be sure your line is clean. Be sure and stretch your line before you start. Targets should be placed at 30 to 60 feet. Always practice with a target. A mouse trap makes a good target – set it up to snap when you hit it. A pie plate is another good target for accuracy practice. A trash can makes a fun target – hover your fly above it and drop it into the can. Place a rope or two on your lawn and keep your cast between the ropes or parallel to a single rope. Set up a saw horse with the target behind it so that you must cast under a “branch” to reach the fish.
Another fun way to practice is casting with just the tip of your rod or even practice hand casting with no rod at all. Both of these will help your timing improve dramatically. Roll casting or spey casting practice is best done with a grass leader if you are working on the lawn. Grass leaders are very effective for both casting practice and blood knot tying practice. A grass leader is simply a leader tied in a long series of blood knots one every 6 inches or so. When you trim the blood knots leave each tag about an inch long. These tags get held by the grass imitating the water tension of a cast on the water. If it is too cold to go outside practice, practice your double haul inside. I believe it was Mel Krieger who first came up with the down/ up pantomime for learning to double haul. It is extremely effective and The LL Bean handbook by Macauley Lord has a great explanation (page 94). While this pantomime is great, and can be done at any stage of your casting level, remember you need to be able to cast a 40 foot tight loop before you can double haul effectively without getting frustrated while fishing.
Lastly – get one of the inside casting yarn based outfits to practice with. They really do work.
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Archive of Past Casting Tips
October 2014, Casting Split Shot
August 2014, Aerial Mends Continued
July 2014, The Curve Cast
June 2014, The Reach Cast
May 2014, The Pile Cast
April 2014, The Tuck Cast
March 2014, More Casting Terminology
February 2014, Casting Terminology
January 2014, Tailing Loops (pt.2)
October 2013, Tailing Loops
September 2013, Forming Controlled Loops
August 2013, Identify Your Bottleneck (part 2)
July 2013, Identify Your Bottleneck - Correct Power Application
May 2013, What is Smooth
April 2013, Application of Power
March 2013, The reach and aerial mend casts.
February 2013, Mending
November 2012, Timing, Grip, and Hand/Rod Stop Position
October 2012, 5 things that will improve your casting
Return whence you came.