The key to dry-fly casting is practice | AspenTimes.com

The key to dry-fly casting is practice

Kirk Webb
On The Fly

What a March it has been in the world of fly-fishing in our valley.

I have caught more big fish on dry flies over the past month than I can recall in recent years. Why that is, I don’t really know nor do I have an answer to; I just accept it for what it is with a big grin on my face.

The hatches and overall numbers of rising fish have been nothing short of sensational lately. Fishing has been so good that I’ve been getting out there and fishing by myself and with others a good three to five days a week. By most accounts, those that I fish with are fairly proficient anglers. Where I see most of them struggle though is in their casting abilities and dry-fly presentations.

Casting a fly line with a nearly weightless dry (floating) fly requires a vastly different skill set than lobbing a nymph rig with weight and an indicator. The best pieces of advice I can give to those wanting to hone their dry-fly fishing skill set is to become a capable fly caster and to pay attention to the smallest of details. For me, the best way to improve my casting skills has always been to just go fishing and fish more often. The timing of your cast is paramount to success. Fly casting does not require brute strength to make your cast go further; it requires proper timing and pinpoint accuracy when dry-fly fishing. Beyond that, inquire at your local fly shop for the assistance of a professional to aid in your casting do’s and don’ts. Have a buddy of yours video your casting with a smartphone. It can be beneficial to some to see your mistakes versus feeling your mistakes.

Once you have your casting down and begin hunting fish with a dry fly, your first step should be to sit on your butt and study the river looking for fish or rise forms, preferred fish holding water type and the insects and their behavior. Lastly, plan your stalk. Get as close as you can to the rising fish to aid in making an accurate cast. One of my favorite things to do on the river is to watch an individual insect ride down the current and watch it get inhaled by a fish. Pay attention to what the fish are telling you to do and you’ll always come back handsomely rewarded with a bit more knowledge and maybe some more fish in your net.

“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.


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