The overhead cast.
This is the basic cast everyone should learn initially, for this cast will make it easier for you to understand the “secrets” of fly casting. After that, you can learn other techniques. Many fishermen overlook the overhead cast. Spey casting is so popular that many people stop using the overhead cast. My advice is: never forget the overhead cast! This way of casting is very important for certain conditions. Many people use the spey cast just for the sake of spey casting, if the river is low and the salmon being accordingly spooky, you’d better be a really good spey caster if you want to spey cast during such conditions. If you belong to the group of fishermen that needs several “lay-ups” before presenting the fly you will spook most of the fish. I would rather go to the next pool if I encounter anyone doing this during such conditions. I often use dry flies and nymphs in such conditions, and this demands some precision, as the flies are fished in seams, behind rocks, and often upstream. The overhead cast is then much better suited for fishing to spooky fish as you present the fly more delicately and avoid spooking the fish. If you, on the other hand, are fishing from a position where the only alternative is using a spey cast it will be important that you present the fly directly after the first lay-up of the line. It is important to practise your casting technique before the season starts; this ensures you will enjoy more salmon fights.
Remember; calm movements and straight lines.
Fly casting consists of two elements.
1) Your understanding of casting; i.e. that you understand how the fly cast works, and that you are aware of the cooperation between the rod and the fly line.
2) The rod feeling; fly casting has a lot to do with feeling, it is important to feel the weight of the line during the cast. One of the most important elements is to move the rod in a calm and controlled fashion, ensuring that the fly line is constantly kept tight when casting. Using “twitchy” movements and too much power will lead to bad casting. Keep in mind that the fly line will always follow the movements of the rod tip; move the rod in any direction, and the fly line will follow. Thus, hard and “twitchy” or non-straight movements both vertically and horizontally will ruin your casting. The overhead cast consists of a few basic principles which are important to know of in order to understand this cast, these basic principles are valid both for single-handed and double-handed rods. The difference in technique between these types of rods lies in how you load the rod.
The overhead cast consists of a few basic principles which are important to know of in order to understand this cast, these basic principles are valid both for single-handed and double-handed rods. The difference in technique between these types of rods lies in how you load the rod.
The basic principles: (the same for single-handed and double-handed rods)
1) The rod/hand should me moved in a completely straight line between backward stop and the forward stop, i.e. the movement should follow the shortest way between these points.
2) The rod/hand should move calmly, but in an accelerated fashion towards the stop points.
3) The rod/hand must be stopped abruptly both in the backward and forward cast. This ensures that the energy is transferred from the rod and out to the fly line in the best way possible.
4) Stop and let go, it is important that this is synchronised, when you abruptly stop the rod during the forward cast, the line must be released at the same time as you make the stop. If you let go of the line before or after the stop you will experience problems when it comes to presenting the fly in a nice and “clean” fashion.
These are the four basic principles making up the basic technique for both single-handed and double-handed rods.
Single-handed rods, point 5:
There is also a fifth point for the basic technique when it comes to single-handed rods.
5) The wrist should be kept as stiff as possible, if you have too much movements in your wrist you will experience problems when it comes to transferring the energy from the rod to the fly line.
The main difference between single-handed and double-handed fly casting is the way you load them. For single-handed rods the name of the game is the double haul. The modern (Scandinavian) way of loading double-handed rods is to use the scissor movement. This means that the lower arm is moved away from the body during the backward cast, and is pulled towards the body during the forward cast. This ensures that the lower arm will have a longer movement than the upper arm.
Both the double haul and the scissor movement is described in other articles on my website, you should also read about the stop points and what is important in that regard, and you can also read about loading the rod with the rod arm for single-handed fly casting in a separate article.