The Water-Load

CoverI was enjoying an autumn afternoon of driftboat hopper fishing on the Yellowstone River with guide Rusty Vorous. My problem was that my cast was consistently coming up about six feet short of trout wedged along the banks. As a team, we had two options: Rusty could row us closer, and risk spooking the fish, or I could muster up the missing distance.Rusty suggested a simple solution for my problem. The key was having me start my backcast with a taut line and the rod tip pointed low, toward the river surface. In doing so, he taught me to let water resistance and frictional force load the rod. When you start to cast with your rod tip pointed straight in the air, there’s less resistance, no instant energy source to tap into, and no initial rod flex, which ultimately shortens the cast or requires more unnecessary false casting. “Start it low, and watch it go,” Rusty said. “When you load the rod from the water surface, you give your cast a head start.” This is a particularly useful tip, not only when you’re covering trout water, but also in certain saltwater situations, such as banging repeat long casts into the mangroves, looking for snook. It also helps you form an instant tight loop that cuts through windy conditions. —K.D.