Firm grip © Ben Blackwell

The Back Cast

Split the cast into two parts start with the back cast. First, find an area with a lawn, try to find a place free of distractions, do not start on the water, you need to concentrate on your movements, the last thing you need is to think about is avoiding trees, bushes, water currents, etc. And remember something worth doing is going to take practice. Strip out about 30 feet of line out of the rod tip and lay it out straight in front of you, lower the rod tip close to the ground, make sure there is no SLACK LINE in the system, hold the rod with the EXTENDED FINGER GRIP thumb on top of the cork, keep a firm wrist, hold the line under the middle finger of your rod hand, let the other arm hang loosely at your side, get your self into a comfortable OPEN STANCE, left foot forward for right hander's, concentrate on keeping your shoulders square to the target. Start by lifting the forearm, lift the rod smoothly starting slowly directly away from the target, lifting the line to the point where the leader is attached to your fly line, now lift your elbow and accelerate the rod directly up and back finishing with a your hand slightly away from you with your thumb pointing straight up and level with your right eye with a positive stop, check that you have not opened the wrist, the butt of the rod should be no more than two inches from your forearm, let the line unroll and extend to the rear, stop there and let the line fall to the Ground, if you want to repeat simply turn around 180 degrees and try again. You are half way there.

© Ben Blackwell © Ben Blackwell © Ben Blackwell © Ben Blackwell

The Front Cast

Once you feel comfortable and confident with the back cast and you can cast a straight line out behind you, advance to the forward cast. Now instead of letting the line fall to the ground on the back cast, after the positive stop on the back cast drift a little up and backwards with the rod, this slight drift allows you to go with the flow, following the unrolling loop until it has lost its momentum. At the moment when the line is just about to straighten we begin our forward stroke, remember only a straight line can load a rod. If we wait too long the line will begin to fall so there is a magic moment just as the line is straightening. Now concentrate on the specific point you want to cast to, come forward but this time in reverse starting with your elbow and finishing with your hand, we want the application of power to start right down in the handle and to progressively move up through the rod finishing at the tip, so start slowly smoothly increasing in speed ending with a positive stop at about 45 degrees from the horizontal. A loop of line will form in front of you, as the loop unfurls and straightens gradually fade the rod down following the unfurling line down to the starting position. If you have problems putting both casts together go back to just half casts. The basic cast is the foundation of all fly-casting, practice it to perfection, only then will it be possible to master the more advanced casts.

© Ben Blackwell © Ben Blackwell © Ben Blackwell © Ben Blackwell


I cannot emphasize this enough, don't wait until you are on the water to practice casting, It is impossible to practice casting while fishing, there are just too many other things to concentrate on. Practice on a lawn or a pool free from obstacles and distractions, every hour spent practicing will bring you closer towards fly casting efficiency on the stream.