It's Not Always About Distance Casting

We've all been there before. You pull coils of line off your fly reel, grit your teeth, and tell yourself you are going to cast out as far as you can. There's maybe even a hint of competitiveness in there and the desire to out-cast your contemporaries at either side of you. But have you ever asked yourself what am I going to achieve with this cast? What am I aiming for?

It is a misconception to believe that casting further means more fish in the landing net. Granted, when the fish are rising beyond the realms of your casting range, it does help if you can smoothly and efficiently land your fly across the path of fish feeding. But here's the rub. By 'trying' to cast out further, you are discounting and spooking the fish that are within range.

Focus on Good Technique
However, if you focus on improving your technique and presentation, you will create minimal disturbance and will increase your chance of bringing more fish to the net. Essentially, you will be fishing effectively at a moderate distance.

Regarding fly lines and distance casting, unless you are competing in casting competitions, the line you want is a weight forward of some description - the clue is in the name. All the weight - the thickest part - is in the front section; not dispersed over a long length.

Royal Wulff Triangle Taper
Some of the best fly lines for distance include Airflo's 40 plus series, Lee Wulff Triangle Tapers, and Greys Platinum Shoot. These lines are designed with heavy front sections and are backed up with an extended rear taper which aids turnover.  The thicker line pulls out the slimmer rear taper and running line during the cast.
Distance casting is all about turnover and maximum transfer of energy from the fly rod into the line. To improve your distance, concentrate on getting the turnover correct then gradually try and extend your cast. Another factor in developing your distance is to use tapered leaders.  A tapered leader will improve the transfer of energy from the fly rod, through the fly line down to your fly and will roll over and straighten out with greater efficiency and presentation.
So if you want to improve your distance casting, focus on developing your technique and learn about the proper mechanics of casting. Seek out a qualified casting instructor who can analyse your technique and diagnose problems.  More importantly, put the advice into practice. Then, when it comes to fishing, you will be much more confident and efficient which will subsequently improve your presentation. Ultimately, it's fish you want to catch, not a prize for the longest cast.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.