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Casting Faults & Cures
Why does it all go wrong?


Common casting Faults


In this section, it is my intention to point out some of the most common faults which occur during casting. These faults will not only spoil your enjoyment of the sport during your days fishing, but can also make the difference between a successful day or an unsuccessful one. These faults will not only influence your presentation and therefore cause a disturbance on the water surface, which can have a bearing on your quarry, but in most cases will also restrict the distance your cast will travel when distance is one of your objectives.


Roll casting tips


Roll Cast projected upwards.


You can see from the picture above, that as the forward travelling loop near the rod tip, begins to form when you are performing the roll cast, that the fly line following on behind, is about to move in an upward direction. This is because the rod tip has been projected upwards by the thumb, allowing the line to unroll above the water on the delivery, also allowing for a better presentation of the fly, and more distance where required. Never start this or any other cast from a high position as the delivery will always travel downwards. (start low aim high)




The picture below is somewhat different, and because the cast has been started from a high position, the thumb has immediately travelled down, therefore causing the rod tip to travel down and the line to follow. The end product will inevitably be a bad turnover resulting in the leader and fly crashing into the water and spoiling the forward cast. This will not only result in an very untidy presentation but it will also prevent you from attaining any extra distance from your cast. (remember, height at the front will assist you with distance and turnover) You may have been told that the Roll Cast can be executed by using a short progressive downward stroke. This is also true, but from a beginners point of view, requires much more control especially when trying to keep the rod tip high at the point of delivery. I would suggest that at least for now, you follow the above technique. During a casting lesson, I will cover both techniques if required.


Roll Cast projected downwards.



Rod Joints.


Although the following is not a fault as such, it can cause a major problem when Spey Casting if neglected. The problem I am referring to, is that of taping the joints of your salmon fly rod prior to fishing. There are differing views on this subject, some say it does not matter and others say it does. My personal opinion, is that anywhere there is a joint, there is potentially a weak link. Combine this with the fact that the rod will then be twisted and turned in all directions during the many Spey Casting techniques you will use, and there is a good chance that the joints will work loose and you will be treated to an almighty crack when delivery one of your casts. This can be avoided.


Taped Joint (note small fold in tape for easy removal.


To overcome this problem, simply secure the joints of your Salmon fly rod using tape. Amalgamating tape is the best, because as it stretches it grips and sticks to itself at the same time creating a good joint as apposed to electrical tape which I do use, although on rare occasions it has been known to cause problems with badly varnished rods as it does stick hard to the blank.

First of all, before taping the joints, make sure that you have not attached the fly reel, as this will prevent the rod from turning freely as you do so. Apply the tape about 1 inch (25mm) above the joint at a downward angle of about 45 degrees, then turn the rod blank so that as the tape is wound around the blank in touching turns, it travels in a downward spiraling direction. keep turning until the tape travels down to about 1 inch below the joint, and then, because it is quite flexible you can stretch it slightly so that it now faces 45 degrees up the way, and just carry on turning the blank, so all you have done is simply reversed the process, taking the tape in touching turns once again, back to the start position.

By doing this, you have not only secured the joints, but you have also prevented them from twisting in both directions. Once you have returned to the start position, cut the tape from the roll and fold over a very small corner of the tape before sticking it down. You now have a small tag (see picture) so that you can remove the tape easily, especially if you are loosing the light at the end of the day. It is important not to make this fold too big, as it can interfere with the fly line during casting.



Spey Casting


The Snake Roll (one of the many Spey casting techniques, and a very useful cast to have in your armoury)Spey casting is one of the most important casting techniques you will ever need to know especially if you are a river angler, although it does have it's uses in some Stillwater situations. When these casts are executed correctly, they will allow you to deliver a fly safely, to any position on the water, regardless of wind direction, or obstacles behind.

The D loop (so called because of the shape of the rod & fly line behind the angler).

It is not a technique that is restricted only to double handed Salmon rods, as it can also be a great asset when casting with your trout rod, and is a cast I use for Sea trout fishing at night, as the fly is always delivered from a

Single Spey cast with the trout rod (note the important anchor point where the leader & fly touches the water).


safe position on the water, and does not whiz past your ear when casting, which gives me great peace of mind during the twilight hours.


At this point, I hear many of you saying to yourselves "ah yes, but this is a cast that makes too much noise on touch down, and sometimes makes a slurp on the water on the forward delivery". If this is the case, then you have a fault, or faults during the execution of your cast.


Think of your fly rod as both lever and spring, and to load it efficiently you need to move it in the direction you want it to go smoothly and progressively, this must be done by applying aTailing Loop (notice the end of the fly line taking a concave path, this will cause the fly to hook up on the fly line, creating what is incorrectly known as a wind knot). constant acceleration throughout the cast, with the fastest part of the cast being just prior to the stop. If you start your cast by applying speed to early, you will find it very difficult to increase the speed throughout the cast and you will inevitably end up with a tailing loop as shown in the picture here. This will cause your rod tip and ultimately your fly line (as it will follow the path of your rod tip) to take a concave path often causing the fly to catch the leader and create what is often called a wind knot. It is not the wind that causes this common fault.

Let's face it, you don't see those beach casting guys whacking their casts too fast too early, Why?  because they would end up with a birds nest of line on their multiplier reels and possibly a heavy weight around their necks. Remember all fishing rods are simple levers and simple springs, just some are stiffer than others and therefore often require a heavier casting weight.

All anglers need a weight to load the rod correctly, these weights simply take different forms. Coarse and Sea anglers use compact casting weights where as fly fishers require a similar weight but need it stretched out over a longer distance allowing them to deliver a delicate presentation when needed., This weight comes in the form of the fly line.


The weight of the fly line in the D Loop assists the rod spring as the cast takes place.



The Fly Line (the fly fishers casting weight, when matched correctly with the rod spring).


Important points


The Roll cast is a prerequisite to learning how to Spey cast, as all Spey casts simply revert back to the basic Roll cast position, prior to the final delivery.


Roll casts and Spey casts cannot be delivered to the intended target by crossing over the standing line on the water, e.g. The rod tip, the D Loop, the fly Line, the leader, the fly and your thumb, must all be facing the new target prior to the final delivery.


Make sure that your body is facing the new target before executing the cast, this will make your cast easier to deliver


When Roll or Spey casting, make sure that you have your D Loop formed on your safe wind side, e.g. Make sure that the wind is blowing the D Loop away from you, not into you. This is not only safe, but will also assist your cast.


A Snake roll cast is an alternative cast to a Double Spey, and both are used in a downstream wind. This rule applies which ever bank you are fishing, the only difference being that you would have the Left hand upper most on the Left bank, and the Right hand upper most on the right bank.


When looking down- stream, the Left bank is the one on the Left, and the Right bank is the one on the Right. This is the rule on all rivers.


The Single Spey is used in an upstream wind regardless of which bank you are fishing from, the only difference here being, if you are on the Left bank you will have your Right hand upper most, and if you are on the Right bank, you will have your Left hand upper most.


As a good Roll cast is a prerequisite to Spey casting, then a good Overhead cast is a prerequisite to Double Hauling. Make sure that you understand the basic mechanics of the first two, before moving on to the latter. This is a common fault made by anglers, and following this rule will improve your casting significantly.


When overhead casting, make sure that the rod tip travels back and forward through the air in the same plane. This is a basic rule of overhead casting.


If your objective is to deliver a straight cast, and your thumb tracks off a straight line, during that cast, then the cast will be much less effective. After all you would not try to throw a dart around a corner to hit the board, you would aim directly at it.


When performing an overhead cast, the fly line should travel over the rod tip, not out to the side. These overhead casting rules also apply to the double haul.


A double haul is simply an overhead cast with the addition of two progressive pulls with the line hand. One on the back cast, and one on the forward cast. These pulls will increase the line speed, enable you to feel the rod bend, and assist with tightening the loops in the fly line to help you achieve greater distances.


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