If a fly fisherman can learn to control the shape of their “loop,” they will have pinpoint accuracy and increase their range. Controlling the loop is not difficult, but it is also not natural. It is very different from spin casting and bait casting. I liken fly casting-loop control to riding a bicycle. When the cast is right, you know it.
To make a good fly cast, make a tight loop. This is done by making a crisp stop at the end of both the forward and back cast. Do not follow through! It appears you stop half way through your cast. I call this a flick. If you stop the rod crisply, a tight loop rolls off. If you stop the rod spongy, a wide loop rolls off (if any loop at all.) Note that the tip of the rod is still very high at the end of the forward and back cast.
Tight loops are extremely efficient, allowing anglers to make 50 to 100 foot casts. They cut through the air, and focus energy in the direction of the cast, Wide loops burn distance by pushing the loop up against gravity. Wide loops are also air resistant and inaccurate. Most anglers attempt long casts by pushing the rod harder and faster. In fly casting, this does not work. It usually widens the loop! Contrary to what is natural, try tightening the loop (stopping the cast crisper.) A tight loop focuses energy in the direction of the cast, and can dramatically increase range.
Your first tight loop will zing fly line through the air. It is tempting to make the cast with the flick of the wrist. While effective on shorter casts, it will limit you range, and it will wear out your wrist. Make a cast by moving your arm in a straight line (like opening a door.) Use your wrist to finish the cast. You can cast all day with your arm. Also, remember to cast just as crisply on your back cast as your forward cast.
Controlling your loop will greatly enhance your fly fishing. It will allow you to make pinpoint casts at great distance. And your fly fishing will be more fun, with less effort. The secret is in the crisp stop of your cast.
This artice was originally published in Coastal Angler Magazine -Lakeland Edition July-2009