With (normal) spin casting the weight of the lure pulls the line out of the reel. In fly casting the weight of the line carries the fly to the fish.
Practice in a large grassy area with plenty of room. Avoid parking lots and cement areas… you don’t want to ruin your line before you even get on the water. You don’t need a fly or anything else on your line to practice, but you may wish to tie a piece of red or other easy to see colored yarn to the tip of your line so you can always see the tip of your line in action.
With your left hand pull 20 feet or so of line out of your reel and lay it on the ground to the right of you. (If you are a lefty, do everything the opposite way)
The Fly Casting Grip:
Grasp the fly rod with your hand and place your thumb on top of the rod grip. Keep your thumb on top of the rod. This helps you to exert more force in a short cast, and cast correctly.
When you are first learning to cast keep the rod butt under and perpendicular with your forearm and wrist.
Preparing To Cast
Thread your line through the rod. With your left hand pull 10-20 feet or so of line out of your reel and lay it on the ground to the right of you. (If you are a lefty, do everything the with the opposite hand/side as stated)
Hold the line firmly in your left hand and remember to keep it tight throughout the entire casting sequence, you can do fancier things with the line in your left hand after you have a good feel for a standard cast.
Using a brisk motion, sweep the rod back 45 degrees of your center (2 o’clock position). STOP. The act of stopping your motion abruptly at the 2 o’clock position is key and will force your line to shoot behind you.
Turn your head and watch the line as it straightens out behind you. When the line is horizontal (don’t let it touch the ground), push your rod forward 45 degrees to a 10 o’clock angle and STOP.
If done correctly, the line will straighten out in front of you and land on the ground. Rinse and Repeat.
General Tips for Fly Casting
- Always wear protective eye or sunglasses
- Are you hearing your line snap, or getting weak casts?
Be sure that you STOP your rod motion at the 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock positions.
See Casting Basics
- Pay attention to how the rod feels throughout the cast, you will be able to feel the force in the motion of the rod and line, and be able to understand what a good cast “feels” like.
- Have patience… learning to cast isn’t easy at first, but it does eventually “click”.
- Remember that Timing is the key factor in fly casting, not strength.
- The farther you need to cast, the higher you must stop the rod tip at the end of a forward cast. Fly line will shoot in the direction that you stop the rod tip.
Fly Fishing Casting:
For shorter casts, you aim about three to four feet above the ground/water.
For longer casts, aim higher to allow the tip of your line more time to reach this distance.
A good way to practice distance and aim is to set up targets at various distances from where you stand and do drills to get your fly to land on top of each target.