How To Cast A Fly Rod For Beginners

Fly-fishing is arguably one of the most difficult techniques to learn and can be really daunting when you are a beginner. But like any other endeavor in life, it eventually becomes easier and can be really rewarding in the end.

By the end of this guideline, you should be able to learn how to cast a fly rod. It will also help you select which fly line and taper to use, what it is, and when to use it. Additionally, you will also learn about the do’s and don’ts of fly-fishing.

What You Need To Cast A Fly Rod

Fly Line

fly line

fly line

There are different types of fly lines. This guideline will enumerate three types:

  1. Floating fly line – this type floats on the surface of the water;​
  2. Sinking fly line – this type sinks below the surface of the water; and​
  3. Sink-tip fly line – this type is designed for most of it to float while the last few feet will sink; it is made of thin braided Dacron core that is coated with a special plastic containing millions of tiny glass microbubbles; it also contains powdered Tungsten.


There are also various types of tapers. This guideline will enumerate three types:

  1. Lever taper – this type is the easiest to make and also the least expensive; however, it can be the most difficult to cast with;
  2. Double taper – this type is designed for close range-fishing and consists of a belly with a head as well as a tip on both ends; and
  3. Weight forward – this type is designed for long range-fishing and consists of a running line, a rear taper, a belly, and a front taper.​

Note that the weight of the fly line must correspond to the action of the fly rod. The heavier the fly line is, the larger its case although its landing on the water will be less delicate. For example, if you are fishing in a crystal clear water, you should use a light fly line.

A Step-by-step Guide On How To Cast A Fly Rod

There are two actions in order to cast a fly: back cast and forward cast. Back cast involves a lift and a rear power stroke while a forward cast involves a push and a power stroke. This part will help you distinguish and execute the two actions:​

1. Back cast

To perform the lift, use your forearm with the wrist locked in the forward position. To perform the rear power stroke, use your wrist with the forearm locked in position.

  1. Begin with the tip of your fly rod as close to the water surface without submerging it;
  2. Then slowly lift the fly line away from the water, increasing the speed of your forearm until it reaches approximately to 1:30 on a clock face;
  3. At that point, your wrist should be the only thing that is moving and not the forearm;
  4. Proceed to perform the rear power stroke by moving your wrist from 1:30 position to nothing lower 11:00 o’clock whilst applying force to the rod.

2. Forward cast

After executing the back cast, you need to proceed with the forward cast to launch the fly towards the target. It is executed by using the forearm and then using the wrist.

Note that you have to pause briefly between the back cast and the forward cast to allow the line to straighten behind you. The slight tug at the end of your fly rod is your signal to proceed with your forward cast.

  • Begin by moving your forearm forward and your wrist horizontally in a straight line until the tip of your rod reaches the 12:00 o’clock position; and
  • Proceed to execute the power stroke by moving your wrist until the tip of your rod reaches the 1:00 o’clock position in front of you.​

Conclusion And Additional Tips For Fly Casting​

While the casts sound easy to execute, you have to know that in order to execute it properly you have to be precise with your positions. A little of this or an extra of that will affect your execution. Remember, precision and timing have key roles when casting a fly rod.

You are not expected to do these perfectly on your first try so keep training your muscles until you can execute your casts naturally. To train your muscles, simply set your fly rod side and cup the elbow you use to cast your rod using your other hand. With that position, slowly execute each action multiple times.

How is this useful? It will help you keep your elbow as close to your body as possible for proficiency and efficiency. After training multiple times, pick up your fly rod and practice with it until the fly line no longer snaps behind you or hits the ground in front of you.

Hopefully, this guideline helps you cast your first fly rod successfull​.

Megan Ann

I’m Megan Ann, mama to 2 and wife to James F. Core. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I try to write useful and informative articles to help you as much as I can with my knowledge. Thank you for reading.

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