Roll cast - Roll casting instruction

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Fly fishing instructor - Roll cast tuition

roll cast
The Roll cast Fig 1

Roll casting methods are important fly casts. Because the “D” loop does not need much space behind the angler, roll casts are ideal for fishing in confined spaces, where for instance, there are bushes or trees behind. The mechanics of roll casting are based upon sufficient energy being applied to a length of line behind the rod to propel it beyond the rod during the forward casting stroke. Every cast is dependant upon a good set up, whether it is a straight line or a “D” loop. This family of casts is extremely useful and highly practical.

Roll casts depend on the back cast forming a semi elliptical loop called the “D” loop. Ideally the line has minimal contact with the water when the remainder of the loop is perfectly formed in mid air, allowing the power stroke to be delivered with maximum efficiency. During the roll cast, the rod does not stop, it changes direction and speed and keeps loaded at all times. Consequently the tip of the rod "turns" as the cast is made and the "D" loop is formed. There should be no slack in the line at any time. It is recommended that all roll casting practice be carried out on water to ensure a smooth lift (the tension from grass is unreliable).

Basic Roll Cast

roll casting
Roll casting Fig 2

Basic roll casts are made with a stationary loop of line drooping to the water surface from the rod tip, a valuable method of casting a short distance or straightening line in preparation for a longer cast. To place the rod and line in the correct positions lift the rod to about 10:00 and swing it round the outside of your body at the same height until it is at about 2:00 behind. The line will be hanging from the rod top in a smooth curve to the water surface as shown in Fig. 1. The forward cast or power stroke is delivered in a slightly upward direction to 11:00 to ensure that the line is propelled clear of the water. Make the cast crisply and aim upwards to ensure success (Fig. 2). Single handed roll casts depend on fast acceleration and you can safely use wrist action (unlike best practice for straight line casts). The line should extend completely in the air before falling to the water surface.

One final adaptation of the roll cast is the "Roll Lift". In this case the roll cast is used as a means of lifting a dead line from the water to make a straight line false cast. To perform it correctly the line must be hit even higher and harder than normal to ensure that line is straight and that the fly does not kiss the water when the straight line back cast commences. It is a very useful cast because it prevents disturbance and is a great method of picking up a dry fly that has floated downstream towards you. More about Roll Casting

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