Backpacker Magazine –
The Manual: Backcountry Fly-Fishing
Illustration by Supercorn
LEARN TO ROLL CAST
Learn to loop or “roll” your line along the water’s surface—an essential move where brushy banks prevent a traditional back cast.
>> Strip out 20 to 30 feet of line. Holding your rod over the water, wave the tip back and forth to feed the line out through the guides.
>> Slowly lift your arm to a 90-degree angle, tilting the rod (keep your elbow in, hand out) so the line falls beside you. Your thumb should be at forehead level and the rod angled at 45 degrees.
>> Pick a target and aim your elbow at that spot.
>> Freeze your arm briefly (which anchors the line in the water), then rotate your arm from the elbow, accelerating quickly.
>> Finish by snapping your wrist down, punching forward with your thumb to accentuate the flick of the line at the end of the cast.
>> Switch it up: Practice casting from the left and right sides, which lets you adjust to changing winds.
>> Troubleshoot your cast. If your line doesn’t fully extend, finish with a stronger wrist snap. If the line collects in the water beside you, keep your elbow high until the final wrist snap.
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