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Fly Fishing Tips and Articles


Here is a brief overview of rod arm mechanics and key concepts with the basic casting stroke.


Key grip, using the thumb and index finger opposite each other as one unit and the lower 3 fingers as another unit.


moves back and forth, this gives the cast its stroke length. Short cast, short stroke. Long cast, long stroke.

Upper arm

Elbow lifts and lowers by using the upper arm and shoulder. The elbow stays close to the body, but does move up and down during the casting stroke.


has two positions, bent forward and straight. Every backcast starts with the bent forward position and ends in the straight position. Every forward cast starts with the straight position and ends in the bent forward position. Use the rod but to judge the wrist position. In the bent forward position, the rod butt is in line with the underside of your forearm. In the straight position, the rod but makes a 45-degree angle with the underside of your forearm.

Every fly cast has two casts, the backcast and the forward cast. The backcast lifts the line off the water and the forward cast delivers the fly to the water.

The goal of the fly cast is to create an open-ended unrolling loop on each cast. This loop will unroll and present the fly to the fish. You are not throwing line; you are creating loops, which will deliver the fly.

Every cast starts slowly, accelerates gradually, and ends abruptly. The acceleration is like a falling tree, it starts off slowly and reaches its peak acceleration just before it stops. The first and slowest part of the cast is the loading move; the second part of the cast which is the quick acceleration to an abrupt stop is the power snap. The loading move and power snap occur on both the backcast and the forward cast.

gets the fly, leader, and line moving as one unit. On the backcast, this is when you gently lift the line off the water using the motion of your forearm and elbow to lift. On the forward cast, this is when you lower your elbow to gradually start the acceleration then your forearm comes forward toward your target.

this ends the acceleration phase and stops the rod. This is where the wrist changes its position from bent forward to straight on the backcast, and from straight to bent forward on the forward cast. On the backcast, you perform the power snap when you have reached the line-leader connection; this will gently lift the fly and line off the water and should be aimed at or above the horizon. The forward cast power snap is performed when your thumb is directly opposite your target.

Every backcast should be 180 degrees opposite your forward cast in all planes.

your thumb is your reference point. There is an imaginary line going perpendicular through your thumbnail. This imaginary line shows you where you have aimed your cast. On your backcast keep that imaginary line at or above the horizon. On your forward cast, look in your peripheral vision for your thumb as your hand comes forward. When that imaginary line from your thumb is opposite your target, then you can power snap toward your target.

Flycasting: A systematic Approach- Sheila M. Hassan. 258 Pages, Published 2009

Starting In The Salt - Sheila M. Hassan. 134 Pages, Published 2016.

Fly-Casting Techniques - Joan Wulff. This is the definitive work about fly casting. It is not easy to read but is loaded with information and a book you will turn to time and time again.

Casting Accuracy - Joan Wulff. This short paperback reads easily, has great illustrations, and is packed with information you can use on every cast.

Master the Cast - George V. Roberts Jr. George’s book was recently published. He continues to impress me with his ability to convey fly casting concepts. The book is filled with great photos (which I am frequently seen in) and sketches demonstrating the key casting concepts. George has again demonstrated his great skill for writing with clarity of thought and attention to detail.

10 Steps to Distance and Power - George V. Roberts Jr.

This is geared toward the saltwater angler but everyone can benefit from it. The video is designed as a self-help program, which has a lesson format that allows you to focus on one aspect of your cast at a time in order to develop a better overall fly cast. Complete with practice session instructions, you will never outgrow this tape.

Dynamics of Fly Casting…from Solid Basics to Advanced Techniques - Joan Wulff. This video is a fantastic reference and belongs in every fly caster's collection. The material is well suited to both the beginner and advanced fly caster.

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The Joan and Lee Wulff School of Fly-Casting - Joan and Lee Wulff. This video is a classic, it contains valuable information and is the precursor to the above, newer video.

The Essence of Flycasting I and II - Mel Krieger. Both of these videos are excellent. They have some excellent footage of fishing scenes as well as being packed with information on the subtleties of fly casting.

Fly-Fishing for Trout - Gary Borger. A masterful trout angler shares his knowledge of trout habitat, fly presentation, and specialty casts. This is a good comprehensive video for learning about trout fishing.