One of the hardest things in fly fishing is being able to make short, accurate and controlled casts at close distances to your quarry. These days you will find most lines range from 80′-100′ which makes it nearly impossible to make casts less than 30′ without a lot of skill and effort.
At Alaska West on the Kanektok we do a lot of “mousin’ for rainbows” while either wade fishing or floating. While wade fishing gives you more time for adjustment with each cast, it generally occurs in one of the small side channels therefore the long cast is rarely needed. While fishing from a boat you will find that being able to adjust casting distance is a huge factor in almost every run due to the changing speed that the boat is drifting down river. The easiest thing you can do to help your short casting game is to overload your fly rod by one to even two line weights. So, if you have a 6wt rod, put a 7wt or 8wt weight forward fly line on and you will be amazed at the easy the short casts become. Roll casting to set up casts and loading the rod for short fast casts is a dream with a bit heavier fly line.
Years ago at Andros South, Deneki’s Bonefishing lodge on South Andros Island in the Bahamas, we had an epic day of short casts in the small mangrove creeks and lakes of inner South Andros Island. And it was all due to having an overloaded rod. If we would have had one of those long saltwater lines matched to my rod we would never have been able to make any of those 10′ casts to cruising bonefish that day. There were shots were if you had to strip in half your leader, before the fish struck the fly. The original casting distance was probably 7′-8′ of fly line out the end of the rod, but since it was overloaded it actually “cast” the fly enough to lay it out for retrieval. Of course you will have issues trying to launch big casts when you are overloaded like this so in some situations it would pay to still have a rod rigged with the correct line for longer casts.
In the end, If we are honest with ourselves, we would realize that 90% of the long casts we make have a pretty low probability of being successful due to the distance, so we should make more effort to focus on the short casting game whenever possible.
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