Brant Oswald is an exceptionally fine angler and guide from Livingston, Montana. He’s been involved in the fly fishing business in various capacities for decades, and currently spends most of his time guiding anglers on the spring creeks of Paradise Valley. I consider myself fortunate to teach alongside him at School of Trout.

When looking at Brant’s stroke we see that, like all great casters, his fundamentals are rock solid. Brant’s stroke originates in his shoulder—the main pivot point in a sound stroke. You can see this by watching his elbow move up and down as he casts. That elbow movement can’t happen if he isn’t pivoting in the shoulder. If his elbow movement in the first couple strokes doesn’t seem as pronounced as some of the other casters I’ve analyzed, it’s primarily because he is not casting very far, so his stroke is short. As he lengthens the line towards the end of the video, his stroke lengthens and the vertical movement of his elbow becomes more pronounced.

Brant’s acceleration of the rod is very smooth, his sense of timing excellent, and he keeps the rod in one plane throughout the stroke—all characteristics shared by the great casters. Brant meters out the use of his wrist throughout his backcast stroke, but saves his wrist until the end of the forward stroke. I’ve written about the use of the wrist in detail in several other analyses, so won’t revisit it here except to say that many superb casters (especially those that are serious anglers, like Brant) do the exact same thing.

The best performers in all sports share the mechanics inherent to that sport, but no two practitioners ever look identical. Same for fly casting. None of the casters I’ve analyzed look alike, yet they are all wonderful casters. So if you’re seeking to improve your own casting, always emphasize and work on the fundamentals. You’ll end up looking however you look.

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