Once you have learned to identify feeding and prime lies within a stream, you will need to learn how to approach the lie without spooking the fish. Thus, it is helpful at this point to adopt the attitude of a hunter rather than that of a fisherman. First, you must understand that a trout grows up paranoid and rightly so because there a lot of predators that like to eat trout. Consequently, as mentioned previously, a trout’s mentality is “If it moves, RUN! If it doesn’t move, RUN ANYWAY!” In addition, it is important to remember that Trout have 330 degrees of horizontal vision and 160 degrees of vertical vision! Thus, a trout lying beneath the surface of the water will have a cone of vision that is 2 ¼ times the water’s depth through which they can see the surface world that grows smaller as the trout rises or as the water gets shallower (called Snell’s Law). Furthermore, while it is not likely that trout have the ability to recognize us as humans, they do have thousands of years of genetic memory that tells them what a Bear looks like and, since a human
looks vaguely like a bear standing on its hind legs, sight of a human automatically triggers their flight response. So, when approaching a trout in either Feeding Lies or Prime Lies, it is imperative that you stop and closely examine the lie you intend to fish and its surrounding area and then create a plan of approach to account for the type of terrain and water flow you will have to wade through to reach a viable casting position. Next, it is important to note, and take advantage of, any cover that you may use to conceal your approach such as streamside foliage, boulders and large rocks, logs, and/ or sandbars. Then, once you have taken note of any streamside foliage that may interfere with your cast, any still water that may cause ripples, any rough terrain that may cause you to slip or stumble, and any cover you can use to conceal yourself, then you can plan your approach to the lie you intend to fish. But, because trout have 160 ° of vertical vision, that leaves a fly fisherman a mere 10 ° to hide in! So, whenever you are not concealed by cover of some sort, you must crouch down as low as possible to avoid being seen by the trout
- Best spotting scope
while moving into your chosen casting position. Then, once you are where you want to be, you must still remain as low to the water’s surface as possible in order to avoid being seen by the trout while casting. Therefore, try practicing your cast in your yard while both kneeling and sitting.
Basic Short Range Fly Casting Technique
In order to understand how to properly cast a fly, it is very important to first understand the basic mechanics involved in proper fly casting technique and to then instill those mechanics in your body by building “muscle memory”. Thus, you first need to understand that casting a fly is divided into two actions and each action is further divided into two motions. Consequently, the first action is called the “Back Cast” because you use this action to pick the fly line up off of the water and cast it behind you. Then, the second action is called the “Forward
Cast” because this action is used to cast the fly line from behind you to in front of you and to aim the fly at your intended target. In addition, each of these casting actions is further divided into two separate motions which will be explain separately. First of all, to perform the Back Cast, you need understand that it is divided into two motions that consist of a “lift” and a “power stroke”. Furthermore, it is important to understand that the lifting motion is performed with the forearm only and with wrist locked in the forward position. Then, the “power stroke” is performed with the wrist only and with the forearm locked in position. Thus, to perform the back cast, you start with the tip of your fly rod as close to the water as possible without submerging it.
Then, you slowly lift the fly line off of the water and, once it has done so, you increase the speed of your forearm until your rod tip reaches a position approximately equal to 10: 30 on a clock face.
Then, at this point, you stop moving your forearm and start moving only your wrist. Next, to perform the “power stroke” you move your wrist from the 10: 30 position to the 1: 00 o’clock position
while applying force to the rod. However, it is very important to understand that at this point, you are attempting to cast the fly line high in the air behind you and thus it is imperative that you do not drop your rod tip lower than 1: 00 o’clock!
Next, you will need to perform a Forward Cast to launch the fly line out in front of you toward your intended target. Therefore, you need understand that the Forward Cast is divided into two motions as well that consist of a “push” and a “power stroke”. Also, as it is with the Back Cast, the Forward Cast is performed by first moving the forearm only and then by moving the wrist only. Thus, with your rod tip held at the 1: 00 o’clock position and, with the fly line
extended in the air behind you after completing your backcast, you need to hesitate a moment in order to allow your back cast to fully straighten out behind you (called “finishing your back cast”) at which point you will feel a slight tug on the end of your fly rod which is your indicator that it is then time to start your forward cast.
Then, to perform the Forward Cast, you start by once again locking your wrist and moving only your forearm. However, when performing this motion, you need to move your forearm forward while causing your wrist to move horizontally in a straight line by “pushing” your forearm forward until your rod tip reaches the 12: 00
Then, at that point, you stop moving your forearm and start moving only your wrist to perform the “power stroke” until the rod tip reaches the 11: 00 o’clock position in front of you.
Thus, the most common mistakes people make when performing the Back Cast is that they drop their rod tip past the 1: 00 o’clock position to 2: 00 o’clock or even 3: 00 o’clock. So, even if you have heard the phrase “10 to 2” in reference to fly casting, ignore it because it’s WRONG! In addition, people tend to start their Forward Cast too soon after performing their Back Cast and this often results in causing the end of the fly line to snap like a bull whip and can actually snap the fly off of the end of your fly line leader! In addition, when performing the Forward Cast, people tend to pivot their forearm around their elbow in an arc instead of moving their forearm forward in such a way that it pushes their wrist straight forward horizontally. Consequently, pivoting your forearm around your elbow will cause the tip of your fly rod to dive toward the surface of the water as you finish your forward cast and thus, it will drive your fly line straight down instead out into the air in front of you. Therefore, when performing the Forward Cast, it is helpful to use the tip of your fly rod to aim the fly line at your target but, most
importantly, use the tip of your fly rod to aim the fly line above the water and not at the water’s surface. The idea here being that you want your fly line to straighten out above the surface of the water and slowly float down to land on the water instead of slapping the water as it lands. Last, the easiest way to instill these motions properly in your “muscle memory” to set your fly rod aside, cup the elbow of your casting arm with the palm of your other hand, and then slowly perform each movement and each action numerous times without the fly rod. This will teach you to keep your elbow in close to your body when casting which will make your casting motion far more efficient and it will allow your body to learn how to make each movement and each action properly. Then, once you have instilled these motions and actions into your “muscle memory”, pick up your fly rod and practice until you are able to place the fly on target every time without the fly line snapping behind you or driving into the water in front of you.