Fly Casting Tips for Saltwater Fly Fishing

Fly Casting the "W"

If you are an experienced saltwater fly angler, you know what I mean and if you are not, you will. The “W” on the flats can be a mean master unless you learn how to harness it, even in face on encounters. Here are a few tips that should help.

To begin with you have to get over the fact that most fish caught on fly are within 50 feet of the boat or angler if you are wading. Many fly anglers stay home when the “W” is up but is otherwise a nice day. If you have that mind set, you will be on the bench watching when there is the slightest blow. Being able to handle W will allow you to easily make your 50 footers on such a day as well as allowing you to reach out for the occasional fish at 70 on a nice day.

Fly casting for snook.

By becoming proficient at loading and unloading the energy stored in your fly rod and making tight loops will help greatly. Lengthening your stroke when going for distance is a must also, for achieving distance into the W and you will amaze yourself on a calm day. Learning to do these basic things without thinking about, it will turn a long day on the flats into a great day. The bonus here is that your arm won’t ach in the morning.

Mastering Fly Casting Techniques

Line speed, tight loops, line loading and unloading are all things that you must master to beat the nemeses of the always present W. If you learn to double haul or Yo-Yo, you will be well on your way to making this thing that we call saltwater fly fishing a pleasure. Tight loops are controlled by your casting stroke and once you have a solid stroke down, you can cast all day long with ease.

Proper fly casting technique.

Begin each cast before the previous cast has completely laid out straight. This will allow for a smooth directional change for the end of the line at the fly. When you are ready to deliver the fly, let your last back cast lay out before you move forward. Don’t forget to haul the line and then shoot the fly to your target. Keeping your line in your line hand is imperative to control when the shooting of the line is to be slowed and then stopped.

The most common mistake that I encounter is the caster exerting additional power to the rod when he knows he is going to deliver. This will most often make the leader and fly come down in a heap and blow the shot at the fish. No additional power is needed. This isn’t a power game. It is a line speed and line control game. I have seen some very slight people throw feathers 100 feet and they probably couldn’t do that with a sinker or a baseball. Letting the line straighten on your final back cast will really load the rod with energy and put a bend into the rod tip. When you come forward the rod will release the energy and aid in the distance greatly. Get these basics down and your game will improve drastically.

Thanks for reading, now go practice.

Tropic Bay Guides
Capt. Pat Horrigan
IGFA Certified Fly Fishing Guide

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