There are few things more beautiful in fly fishing than a long cast from an expert caster. The “hero cast” is justifiably celebrated. And there are fish that simply won’t be caught if you can’t get your fly way out in the water. But especially in trout fishing, the majority of fish are caught with short to medium length casts, or can be with a bit of repositioning. You can be a very successful angler even if you aren’t capable of casting the whole line.
Casting accuracy is, in my experience, more important than distance when it comes to netting fish. Likewise, a drag-free presentation, accomplished through mending, leader length and tippet diameter, and pre-cast positioning, is key. Finally, you won’t catch fish if your fly’s not in the water. It seems obvious, but excessive false casting, changing flies, and inaccurate casts all take away from the time that your fly is being actively fished.
All this is to say that you should practice your cast, working on both distance and accuracy. But you should also work on developing a “toolbox” of casting strategies that will allow you to get your flies to drift through productive trout feeding lies under varying conditions. For example, an effective roll cast will enable you to make a cast when there isn’t sufficient room for a backcast.
Our most recent Streamside Tips & Techniques videos have focused on a few of the unconventional casting tools that are worth having in your toolbox. Not all of your casts need to be textbook. What matters most is the result, fish in the net.