Improve your fly casting and catch more fish

Peter Hayes

I love to cast. I am fascinated by it and I have been since I was a 13 YO boy. I'm not sure wether it is the feel of the loading and unloading rod or the mesmerising motion of the fly line as it weaves it way backwards and forwards.

Even after 30 years of fly casting and fly fishing I am constantly amazed at the ability of the fly to land within an inch of the target at distances of 60 feet. There is something very special about the effect of hand eye co-ordination and it is immensely pleasing if you have this ability. I am in constant awe of the ability of dart players, shotgun shooters etc.

Of course there is a correlation between the level of this ability and the number of fish you catch. Not always, but most often. There are a few anglers I know that are not great casters but they are very confident and adept at handling their fly rod in the sort of fishing situations they prefer. Most often this is close quarter stalking fishing where there is often the opportunity to set a trap by casting poorly into more or less the correct spot and waiting for the trout to come back.

Jim Allen is lives at the lakes for the main 3 months of the fishing season. He has migrated to the highlands from his home in Victoria for some 30 plus years. Jim is a sensational Tasmanian lake angler I can assure you there is not much he does not know about bringing trout undone in the highlands. Not many trout are safe when Jim is about. Jim hosts a truck load of fishing visitors in his Great Lake shack every season and whilst they are in the main keen anglers they are generally hopeless when it comes to the fishing. He is often frustrated by taking low skilled anglers out into terrific fishing opportunities and Jim often quotes semi jokingly " that you should not be allowed to fish in the highlands until you can cast 80 points in the SKISH fly'.

The Skish is a tournament casting event very popular on the mainland. It encompasses dry fly casting, roll casting and wet fly casting within the one round. The possible score is 100 points. 80 is not beyond most keen fly casters with just a couple of months practice.

I guide most every day of the season and I often get people practicing their casting for the first hour. I tell them that if they can improve their casting just 5 % in this hour (which is easy) they will double the number of fish they would catch  on the day otherwise. In truth the difference may not be this obvious but it nearly right. In fact I think if you could improve your casting 10% you would triple your catch rate. 15% would be quadruple the catch rate etc. I wish my bank interest multiplied like this.

This is my job. I see it every day. If you want to catch more fish and derive a greater enjoyment from this wonderful sport invest a little time into practicing your casting. I guess you have heard the argument about whether presentation is more important than imitation? I can assure you presentation is the only thing you need to focus on to be a much greater fisherman. Worry about the imitation after that.

Some do's and don'ts :

Do a casting course some day soon. You will be amazed at what you do not understand about the cast.
Do practice doing things efficiently. From how you hook up your fly into the rod ring and undo it again. Practice quick, clean deliveries. Practice landing the fly and leader gently. Practice around the wind casting at different angles. Practice low trajectory deliveries. Practice roll casting. Always use a target, in fact email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 6398 2333 and order one of our Practice Casting Kits with reel, fluro orange line, targets and exercises it will be the best $95 you ever spent on fly fishing if you use it often.

Don't ever take your eye off the fish while you are casting. Many casters look up at the rod and line while they cast then look back at the target on the delivery. Learn to trust your hand eye coordination.
Don't just practice with the wind behind you and to one length - you will learn nothing.
Don't spend hours at a time practicing. Practice a little but often.

Peter Hayes

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