A Fundamentally Sound Stroke

Whitney Gould came to visit yesterday for a final casting session before she heads off to Norway next week for the World Flycasting Championships. Over the last several years she’s dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort to her preparation, and I believe serious anglers will find value in watching a video of her casting. A fundamentally sound casting stroke like Whitney’s is perhaps the rarest thing in all of flyfishing, and most anglers never get the chance to see one. This particular clip shows her practicing trout fly accuracy (she’s entered in a number of different events).

Some key characteristics of a mechanically sound stroke include pivoting in the shoulder (not the elbow!), moving the elbow up on the backcast and down on the forward cast, keeping the arm and rod in one plane through the entire stroke, using the wrist to add final acceleration to the rod at the end of each stroke, and using the correct length stroke for the length of line being cast (here, she’s casting around 40 feet and then roughly 35 feet). Great casters always make things look easy, and one of the reasons why is that their combined use of upper arm, forearm, and wrist are always well-balanced and smoothly integrated. Never does one element overwhelm the others.

For anyone wondering about the number or trajectory of her false casts, keep in mind that it’s common for tournament casters to take a fair number of false casts to be sure of their distance—it has to be perfect. Also, ticking the water with the fly during a cast is an absolute no-no (an automatic deduction), so Whitney can’t take any chances with a slightly lower trajectory such as we might use while fishing. All told, hers is a beautiful stroke and one well worth emulating.




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