When you first start to fly fish, you will need two basic casts, the overhead cast and the roll cast. When practicing either of these casts, try this little trick. Wear a long sleeve shirt, now grasp the cork grip of the fly rod as if you were shaking hands with another person and pull the sleeve of your shirt over the butt end of the fly rod reel seat. This will lock your wrist in place and keep you from using too much wrist action as you cast. The overhead cast is used with a dry fly, or for long distance casting. The overhead cast can be broken down into two parts, the back cast and the front cast. When practicing casting, use a short line to start, 15 feet or shorter. Strip line from your reel approximately 2 times the lengths of your rod.
The Overhead Cast – Back Cast
Stand straight up with your elbows at your side. Pretend that you are about to shake hands with some one. Now think of a clock face; your rod is the big hand. The rod will be pointing at 3 o’clock. Without breaking your wrist, bring the rod to 10 o’clock, quickly. Look over your shoulder and watch the line form a loop and then straiten out behind you. Timing is critical; when the line is straight, it is time to start your front cast.
The Overhead Cast – Forward Cast
Your elbows should be at your side, your wrist should be locked, your rod should be at 11 o’clock and your line should be straight. You are now ready to do the front cast. Bring the rod back to the 3 o’clock position in a smooth motion. This will place the line back on the water. If you wish to false cast (keep the line in the air) then bring the rod to the 2 o’clock position and let the line straighten in front of you. Now repeat the back cast.
The Roll Cast
This cast should be practiced on the water; it uses the water tension on the line to propel the cast. This cast is used with wet flies, nymphs and streamers. When you have any obstructions behind you, this cast will keep your fly out of the trees. Keeping your elbows at your side and you wrist locked, slowly bring you rod to 1 o’clock, then stop. The line should fall slack by your side. Now, with a quick snap, bring your rod to the 3 o’clock position. This will form a rolling loop in your line that will straighten out in front of you.