A sound ready position is key to presenting the fly quickly on the flats. We generally subscribe to the ‘simple is best’ philosophy when it comes to the ready position – Excess line stripped on the floor of the skiff (or trailing behind you if wading), fly in hand, and enough fly line out the rod tip to initiate your cast.
However, many of our anglers often ask us, “how much line should I start with outside the rod tip?” It’s a great question, and unfortunately like most fly fishing questions, the short answer is – It depends!
When starting a cast from the ready position, the more line there is outside of the rod tip, the easier it is to cast. More line means more weight to load the rod. Although, too much line out the rod tip can run the risk of wrapping the line under the bow of the boat – a truly frustrating experience to say the least.
Therefore, we like to recommend always starting with as much line out the rod tip as you can get away with. In other words, with as much line as possible without wrapping around the boat, or dragging in the water behind you.
But here’s a simple tip to extend the amount of line outside the rod tip that will make starting your cast much, much easier. On breezy days (and let’s be honest, they’re almost always breezy), always point your rod tip to the leeward side. In other words, if the wind is blowing from right to left (like the image above), start with your rod tip pointed to the left. If blowing from left to right, point your rod tip to the right. Doing so allows the wind to loft your fly line a little higher in the air, thus enabling you to extend the length of line without dragging in the water.
Use the wind to your advantage and you’ll find it easier to deliver the fly quicker, with fewer false casts.