Below is a video of Ron Doerr, a guide from Jupiter. Notice how he keeps everything LEVEL. The entire stroke stays on the same plane. This is VERY difficult to do. When my stroke gets long, I tend not to stay on plane. Ron, like Lefty Kreh, recommends pretending as if your casting elbow is on a shelf, so that the butt of the rod — and the tip — stay on a straight path.
Also, notice how Ron keeps his hauling hand in line with his rod hand to maintain constant tension during the haul. I tend to pull downward as opposed to outward, which means less tension and a shorter haul. Needless to say, there’s always something to work on in fly casting. Everything is a work in progress. Enjoy.
It’s winter, which means less fishing, more fly tying and a little work on my casting stroke.
I work on my casting a lot. In Tampa, I practiced in my front yard almost every day, sometimes twice a day. I got better, but I felt as if I had hit a wall.
My loops weren’t quite tight enough; my line speed wasn’t fast enough. Headwinds were killing me.
So I signed up for a lesson. This was a big step. Most anglers assume that casting can be mastered with a minimum of work in the yard. I knew that wasn’t the case. I was pretty good, but I wanted more.
So I made an appointment for a lesson. I called Ron Doerr, a guide I heard about through a fishing friend, Keaton Anderson.
The lesson was at Ron’s house in Jupiter. The classroom was his boat behind his house on the Loxahatchee River.
Ron grabbed my TFO 8-weight and unrolled the entire spool in only a few backcasts. I punched out 70, 80 feet. Big difference.
After an hour of instruction, I learned I had developed several flaws.
- Thumb placement. I had my hand too low on the handle. I needed to be up higher where the cork curves. This yielded more leverage.
- I pull the rod down on the forward stroke instead of extending toward the target. Ron told me to extend my thumb and knuckles toward the target and THEN lower the rod to the water.
- Mine was bad. I tended to bend and straighten my knees during the cast, which led to a wavy stroke. I now try to stay more upright. Reducing body movement has helped me maintain a straight line rod path.
- My hauls were too short, too jerky. I yanked the line on the haul(s). This creates slack. All I need is a smooth tug to feed the line.
I’m sure I have more flaws. But a good casting stroke is akin to a good golf swing. Both need maintenance. I’m sure I will be back for another lesson to assess my progress.
Here’s more info on Ron.