Fishing and fly casting tuition, side casts
- variations of the overhead style

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Fly casting instruction - side casts and backhanded casting.

fly casting tuition
Fly casting tuition - side winds

Next step in fly casting tuition is to think about casting when the wind is blowing across your body, how to make side casts and backhanded fly casting methods. Once the overhead cast is learnt, it is easy to understand how the normal 90 degree casting arc can be tilted forward to face a wind, or back to take advantage of a following wind as described in the overhead cast.

Next development beyond the overhead cast is to change the plane of the rod from vertical towards the horizontal so that casts can be made beneath canopies of trees or other obstacles. Casting action may remain the same, only the plane need be altered but the side casts also allow for the arc to being extended provided that the rod tip is rising from the horizontal on the back cast when it is stopped to ensure that the line is propelled upwards. At one side of the body, this is a normal side cast, on the other it is a backhand side cast, for example with the right hand working across the left shoulder, or vice versa. Remember the rule to always keep the line on the downwind side of the angler. Backhanded casts are especially valuable when the wind blows from the right hand side of a right handed caster because the angler should be safe from line and fly because it is kept on the downwind side. This situation is worth further consideration to examine how to deal with difficult wind conditions. With a light right hand breeze it is still possible to cast directly overhead, or to angle the rod plane on the right hand side away from the body in a side cast to obtain a wider margin of safety. However a stronger wind requires a backhand cast to ensure that there is no danger because the line will be blown away from the angler and out of harms way. A gale may mean that the angler cannot cope even with the backhanded cast, usually because it is difficult to accelerate the line fast enough to execute a good back cast. In this event the angler can produce a powerful "back cast" by turning away from the water and casting towards land with a "forward" cast backwards, turning once again to deliver a backhanded forward cast. This is an unconventional but effective and is called the Galway Cast. Wind from the left hand side of a right handed angler should not present any problems.

side cast backhanded
Side cast - backhanded to avoid trees

Whilst I have concentrated on describing how to cope in the wind with the overhead type of casts it has probably become obvious to you that the same solutions apply to roll casts with side winds, you cast backhanded when required. It is worth mentioning that beginners should always practice their basic fly casting technique with the wind blowing at right angles across their shoulders from left to right if they are right handed and in the opposite direction if they are left handed. Finally of course the ideal solution for coping with difficult winds is to learn to cast with either hand on either side of your body.

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