How To: Cast a Fly According to Orvis

Orvis currently has a residency at the Westley Richards showroom in Birmingham, and CALIBRE‘s Carlton Boyce spent the afternoon there learning how to cast a fly.

Shamefully, while I’ve done a fair bit of sea fishing over the years, I’ve never done any fly fishing, so when the kind folk at Orvis invited me to take a look at its residency in Westley Richards’ Birmingham showroom – and to learn the basics of casting while I was there –  I jumped at the chance.

The tuition fell to Richard Banbury, fly casting expert and thoroughly decent bloke. We might have spent no more than 30 minutes together but I left confident that while I can now cast with sufficient proficiency as to not embarrass myself in polite company, I would spend the rest of my life improving my technique and learning more about the sport and its quarry…

Orvis teaching how to cast a fly.

Richard’s Top Five tips for improving your own casting when you are first setting out are:

  • Always look forward. While there is a huge, and understandable, temptation to look behind you when you tension the line on the backstroke, you should resist it. The line and fly will go where you are looking so you want to be concentrating on where you want it to land, not where it has been.
  • Place your finger or thumb along the length of the handle. I preferred to use my finger because it felt like I was pointing towards where I wanted the fly to land. However, your accuracy will come along in leaps and bounds no matter which you use.
  • You need to pull off a good rod-and-a-half of line prior to casting. With no lead weight on the end of the line you are relying on the mass of the line itself to give the fly sufficient momentum to soar through the air and land where you want it to.
  • When casting, be sure to bring your hands up to ear-level, but probably no more. The forward stroke will vary in length depending on how far you want to cast but a 90-degree arc of movement from your ear forwards is probably enough for a beginner.
  • Keep the handle of the rod close to your body. Doing so enables the rod to bend and compress, which adds power to your cast. The motion should look effortless and the power comes from the rod rather than the angler. Many beginners tend to use too much power on the forward stroke.

We were using Orvis’s Helios 3D fly fishing rods, which starts at around £849, plus the cost of the reel, line and fly. Not cheap, but the quality of design and construction was evident and it made even a newbie like me look like a fly fishing God.

Grayling Fishing on The River Test

There really is no point in handicapping yourself unnecessarily when you are setting out and, while we all like a bargain, a rod like this will last you a lifetime with care.