Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Getting started in fly-fishing -

Fly-fish­ing is es­sen­tially the art of putting a fake fly in front of a fish in hopes he’ll mis­take it for the real thing and eat it. That all be­gins with the cast. Here, cast­ing cham­pion and Texas Gulf Coast fly-fish­ing guide Rick Hart­man ex­plains the ba­sics.


The cast­ing stroke “is an art that is per­formed on a four-count rhythm be­tween ten and two o’clock”, wrote Nor­man Maclean in A River Runs Through It, ar­guably fly­fish­ing’s most beloved text. Live that ad­vice. “The big­gest mis­takes I see peo­ple make are to cast too fast or with too big a stroke,” says Hart­man. Imag­ine you’re try­ing to toss a tin can off the end of your rod. “Keep ev­ery­thing tight and easy.”


The key to gen­er­at­ing dis­tance is to stop the rod – abruptly – at ten o’clock and two o’clock. “That’s what gen­er­ates power and shoots the line with max­i­mum speed,” Hart­man says. Some guides teach an­glers to think of ham­mer­ing a nail into a wall, but Hart­man says that of­ten leads them to stop their rod too soon, rob­bing their cast of oomph. “Just make a nice, smooth stroke for­ward,” he says, “then stop.”


An­other com­mon er­ror is to cast with your arm too far from your body. Tuck a news­pa­per un­der your arm to prac­tise, Hart­man ad­vises. “All that flail­ing your arm around is a waste of en­ergy. Your casts will be weak and you’ll tire out faster.”

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