Let The Current Do The Dirty Work

CoverA moving river current can be your best friend when it comes to avoiding tangles, setting up casts, loading the rod, and taking your best shot. Understand that in good conditions, a 20- or 30-foot cast is often long enough to produce results. As such, when I guide, I have a system for coaching people who have never held a fly rod in their lives. If you let the water do the dirty work—meaning let the current load the rod—even a beginner can make accurate casts, avoid tangles, and catch fish. Stand perpendicular to the current, and toss your line in front of you so that it feeds out the end of the rod to a desired length as the water moves your fly downstream. When your line is extended, and your fly is in the current downstream, skittering on the surface (this sometimes catches fish, by the way, so pay attention), simply lift the rod tip to the sky and lock it in that two o’clock position. Stop! Wait.Now fix your eyes upstream on the target area you want to cast toward. Bring the rod forward, snap it to a stop, and aim through your thumb. The fly line will unfurl and your fly will (usually) land right in the zone. The key is the pause. Let the line stretch. Let the fly skitter. Lift the tip. Set it up, and let it fly. Not pausing and not letting the current load the rod is a tangle waiting to happen. Call it a super-slow-motion roll cast, a beginner’s trick, whatever. No matter how good you get, you’ll find yourself false casting less, and letting the currents work for you more often. —K.D.