It’s no secret, excess wind is one of the most challenging variables to overcome when casting a fly rod.. Particularly on the flats. Many anglers fret the thought of having to deliver the fly directly into a stiff headwind, often practicing for hours into the wind in preparation of an upcoming trip.
However, we find that the most difficult cast for anglers to make is not actually straight into the wind, but rather a wind blowing onto your dominant (or casting side) shoulder. With a breeze on your dominant side, the fly line is blown towards your body on each successive false cast making it extremely difficult to deliver a fly safely and effectively.. But there is a way.
Today, we present you with not one, but three, different casts to help you present the fly when the wind is at its worst.. On your dominant side.
- The Belgian Cast. One of the most versatile casts on the flats, the Belgian Cast is performed by casting on a slightly horizontal (sidearm) plane on the backcast, followed by a more vertical (overhead) plane on the forward cast. By definition the Belgian Cast is ‘continuous motion cast’ meaning this change in planes is done seamlessly without the traditional pause on the forward and backcast of an overhead cast. The advantage over a traditional overhead cast is that the wide elliptical motion of the rod tip keeps the fly out of important things (like your face) allowing you to deliver the fly safely. Its also a great cast when casting heavy flies and rigs as well and if you haven’t tried it before, it’s time to add it to your arsenal.
- The Backhand Cast. Being able to deliver the fly on your backcast is a must on the flats. Not only will it allow you to deliver the fly when the wind is on your dominant shoulder, it will also allow you to make a cast without your guide repositioning the boat which will open up many, many more opportunities. Click here for a whole bunch of tips on presenting the fly on the backcast.
- The Off-Shoulder Cast. When fly fishing for bonefish, the ability to deliver the fly quickly and accurately greatly out-weighs the ability to cast far. When the wind is blowing onto your dominant shoulder, a great cast for short to medium distances is the Off-Shoulder Cast. To perform, keep the butt of the rod on your dominant side while canting the rod tip off your non-dominant side. By using the same stroke of your rod hand, your fly line will now be cast off your non-dominant side where the wind can only carry the fly away from you. Its a great cast to know and with a little practice can make a world of difference. See the finer points of the off-shoulder cast by clicking right here.
Before your next trip, be sure to spend some time practicing the casts above with the wind on your dominant shoulder and you’ll be ready for the worst.
Great advice! Wished I’d known this last weekend as I was fishing a flat in New York. My only decent cast was downwind…but I really could have used that “off shoulder cast” for the area I was fishing.