The forgotten flycast.
When I say "the forgotten flycast", I mean of course the usual overhead cast. I've now after many years realized that it's not many flyfishers who use this anymore when they cast with two handed rods. I will in this article write about the benefits with the usual overhead cast, compared with the spey- and snake roll techniques. Actually, you would have caught more fish if you used the usual overhead cast under different conditions of the river.
I think the usual overhead cast is used less because of the sinking lines. The sinking lines are way much more usual now, than they were for about 10-15 years ago. When the Dobbel Dencity shooting heads came, the fishing with sinking lines became easier for most people. We could fish deeper in an easier way, and then, we had to learn the spey technique. And after some years, we had forgotten the usual overheadcast. For the record I have to say that the overhead cast is not the best technique, but under different conditions and in special pools the overhead cast is a better cast than the other techniques we use today.
Beats with calm water surfaces should be fished with the overheadcast.
I've met many great spey casters beside the river who tells me that they can't do the overhead cast, because they don't need to use it. I think this is a little weird, because it's a lot of great spey casters who can do the spey technique fantastic, but the overhead cast is a way much easier technique to learn. But as I said, I think the more propagating sinking line fishing and the feeling of insecurity with big and heavy flies is the biggest reason to the overhead cast disappearance. The fishermen who cast with one handed rods use the overhead cast much more, but they fish with lighter lines and smaller flies.
I want to write about this because I think people do a big mistake with just using the spey technique. We choose flies and lines well, but we don't choose the right casting technique as well.
What can we do wrong with spey and snake roll?
It's a very simple answer on this; it's simply all the patter/noise in the water that occurs when we can't do the technique properly. This is a big cause to bad catches when the river is low and at big and quiet pools. This patter that occurs again and again, scares the fish away. I've often seen that fishers cast the line in the water three and four times before they actually perform the cast. Try to imagine, if you do this with every cast you perform down the river, it can't be a pleasure to be the fisher who fish after you.
A perfect spey cast
A perfect spey cast performs in a way that you lay down the line one time, immediately before you perform the cast out in the river. But if you need a roll cast before you shoot the line in the river, you should do this right beside land, not out in the river. Try to exercise on the roll cast, then you can avoid a lot of patter and noise when you actually stands in the river.
When do you use the overheadcast?
Try to use the overhead cast as often as you can! Those times it's not a benefit to use this cast is when it's windy, or if you fish at narrow places, then you rather choose to use the spey-or snake roll technique. Its many reasons why I like to use the overhead cast, you create less noise and presents the fly better and precisely. E.g. when you do a powerful mending in the air when you use a sinking line, or if you have to present the fly precisely at a little stream where the salmon is. You will present the fly better if you do both of this examples with an overhead cast. If you are a great spey caster, you will probably use the spey technique just as good as the overhead cast in the most situations, but even great spey casters will experience a better presentation with an overhead cast.
Perfect plase for the overheadcast.
Sinking lines and overhead cast
Today it is much easier to use the overhead technique even with a pretty heavy sinking line. The new 3D lines have a much better balance than the old 2D lines. I've for many years fished with Guideline's Trippel Dencity lines, and it's not a problem to do the overhead cast even when you use a s2/s4/s6 line. But when you put on the heaviest line, s3/s5/s7, you need to switch to a spey technique. I will also recommend the new Guideline Compact line, which is a 3D line with pre loops. The biggest benefit with using this line is that the line has short lengths, something that is a great benefit when you are standing in the river with water up to your hips and do the overhead cast. You can also fish very deep with this line even with the overhead technique, also when it's a little bit windy and when it's cramped around you.
Recommended weight classes on typical overhead cast conditions
Even when you fish when the river is normal and when it's low it's a benefit to use sinking lines, and if you fish at a place where the fish is shy you can consider using an overhead cast. It will also be a benefit to cast with lighter rods, and if you don't fish with one handed rods you have to opportunity to fish with Switch rods, class 6-7, and lighter two handed rods, 7-8 and 8-9. The benefit with this is that the lines you use to these rods have less weight and patters less in the water. You can also buy the compact lines in these classes. I recommend using float/sink lines or clean sinking lines when the river is low and the fish is shy. This is an effective and exciting type of flyfishing. With a overhead cast and a Compact line you can sneak onto the salmon of your dreams.
Some tips for casting
- If you fish with a sinking line, you often need a roll cast before the shooting. Do this close to land where you know there isn't fish.
- At those places where you can lift your rod straight up, and use a spey cast to angle the cast, make sure you don't lay the line in the water in front of you before you do an another throw back. Do the shooting with high speed, then you can move the rod backwards without laying the line in the water. This will make a lot less noise, and this is also effective.
- If you use big tubes, a sinking line and do the overhead technique, it's very important to have different mm on your leader and a thick part where you tie the fly. This will give you much better control when you cast.
- If you use a sinking line and the overhead technique, remember that you shouldn't move your body too fast. If you do that with a sinking line, the line will get a too fast energy transfer, and you will feel that you don't have the control you want to have. However, with calm movements between the "stop points", you will experience total control even with heavy sinking lines.
I hope this will inspire you to recall the old overhead technique, then you have something to work out until next year's fishing season. You will also have a lot more opportunities to vary how you cast when you finally stand beside the river.
Click for another article about the overhead technique: http://granbo-flyfishing.no/_english/overhodekast.html