A Distance Casting Tip

A good friend of mine has been working all summer to improve his fly casting. Just recently, he’s turned his attention to casting beyond ninety feet. While such casts are seldom required when fishing, my friend is young, energetic, and eager to explore all aspects of fly casting. And truth be told, distance casting isn’t merely an affectation. The ability to cast long stems from a firm understanding and mastery of the mechanics of fly casting, something that’s beneficial for all anglers.

Casting beyond ninety feet has proven a struggle for my friend, so we got together the other day to figure out why. After watching him cast, the reason was apparent. He was using his wrist at the beginning of the stroke instead of at the end. It’s a common mistake, one that plagues most amateur anglers in their attempts to cast long.

An essential requirement for distance casting is that maximum acceleration of the rod occur at the end of the casting stroke. Because we can snap our wrist faster than we can move our arm, it makes sense to employ the wrist at the end of the stroke. Doing so ensures that the acceleration it delivers to the rod is additive to that generated by the arm. If the wrist is used too early in the stroke, in effect it’s wasted. Wasted because it represents acceleration that could have been achieved with the arm.

So my friend had it backwards. His quest for distance was hamstrung from the beginning. After realizing this and reworking his stroke—using arm first, then wrist—he was able to achieve greater acceleration. His distance increased considerably.

If you’re interested in improving your own distance casting, have someone video your stroke. Note where in the stroke you employ your wrist. Hopefully, it’s where it belongs—at the end.

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