Where are you headed in life? What’s your path? Both important questions but have nothing to do with this post. I want to talk about casting trajectory. By far, one of the most important aspects of your cast, and often overlooked or completely absent from your cast.
I constantly see both single hand and two hand casters making the same mistake. The caster fails to stop the rod at a “high” or appropriate angle on the forward cast. As a result, the line leaves the rod with a below horizontal trajectory, and the line isn’t able to unfurl completely.
Think about throwing a dart. When you aim at the target, it is typically on a wall at about head height (5’8″ for regulation) and a relative short distance away (7’9″ for regulation). When you bring your hand forward and release the dart, the trajectory is slightly higher than where you want the dart to land. This compensates for the downward pull of gravity and allows your dart to cross the horizontal distance and impact right on, or close to the bullseye.
The same holds true for fly casting. If you want your fly to land on target, you need to cast it at a somewhat above horizontal trajectory. This allows the line to shoot out completely across the horizontal distance, pulls the line tight from the reel end, and forces the loop to unfurl. The result is the line falling with the fly landing first or soon after the rest of the line.
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To practice this, imagine a bullseye target on the far bank that is a little more than head height above your target on the water. When you make your forward cast, aim for the bullseye. In order to hit the bullseye, you will need to stop the rod on your forward cast at a height equal or slightly above the height of the bullseye.
If you find that your fly is falling short of your target, stop your rod tip at a higher angle on the next cast. For some, it is easier to overcompensate by “aiming for the top of the trees”.
ADVANCED CASTING TIP: As you progress in your casting and start to find the limit to your distance, start adjusting your bullseye higher up, allowing for the line to leave the tip of the rod with a higher trajectory.
If you are struggling with the concept and think its time for some one on one instruction, I offer a two-hour casting class for $100 (541-324-1009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).