Fishing fly - fly casting changing direction
- the 180 degree rule

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Fly fishing accuracy.

fly casting in a new direction
Fly casting - change of direction.
Point in the new direction before starting.

Changing the direction of a straight line cast and accuracy are very important during fishing in order to target fish or avoid obstacles. Making accurate fly casts is easy if you know how. Changing direction is accomplished by either changing the angle of the back cast alone or during both the back cast and the forward cast. For beginners small changes of angle, say up to 30 degrees can (with practice) be handled by turning to the new direction before lifting the line into the back cast which is aimed in line with the new forward cast direction. Lifting effort has to be increased to compensate of loss of efficiency caused by the inclusion of the angle. Changing the angle on both back and forward casts can change the direction by over 45 degrees, but with larger changes of angle the efficiency deteriorates rapidly until it becomes very difficult to cope with. If you are attempting to change direction after the back cast has extended be very careful because you may bring the fly into a collision course with your head. For a right handed angler, casting towards your left after the back cast has extended will achieve this painful fault with monotonous regularity. It is always better to follow the basic rules and point the rod in the new direction before you lift the line from the water. Owing to the limited length of the rod only a certain amount of line can be lifted into the new direction. You have to assess the maximum amount you can lift safely and it is better to lift a comfortable length easily and correctly than a lot of line ending up in a heap! Another method of changing direction is have a few "bites at the cherry". Using false casts to change the angle only a little between each successive cast until the new direction is achieved and then you can deliver the fly to the desired spot. Small changes of direction should prevent a collision course but this method is tiresome and time consuming and there are better ways.

Perhaps the most elegant and efficient way to change direction is to use one of the Spey casts to align the back cast then perform a short roll cast before lifting into a straight line back cast and delivering the fly. With practice it is possible to perform a "roll lift" directly after changing direction with the Spey cast. In this case the forward roll cast is hit high, allowed to extend and then continued with a straight line back cast without any water contact. Roll casting techniques are covered elsewhere.

If you would like to know the secrets of fly casting, contact me to arrange fly fishing instruction or attend one of my fly fishing courses.

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Copyright 2007 Alastair Gowans AAPGAI and FFF Master and THCI, APGAI. All rights reserved.