Overhead Fly Cast

Probably the cast we use the most. It’s the most efficient for accuracy and distance. We call it the overhead cast because the fly line unrolls backwards and forwards in a nearly vertical plane but the cast can take place up to 90 degrees off the vertical, either side of our body, depending on conditions. The cast is split into two, a back cast and a forward cast and these are done in a straight line away from each other.
Use a comfortable grip and I would start with an open stance so you can see your back cast. Once you have the timing right then change over to a closed stance. Have any wind coming off the shoulder opposite to your casting arm ie if your right handed then you want the wind coming from your left. Have a couple of rod lengths of line outside the rod tip with a leader attached with some coloured yarn attached to it. Practice on grass first before water.

Stage 1.

Starting with the rod low, the line straight and your rod tilted to the right slightly, begin lifting the line off the water (or grass) by raising your forearm until your rod is at an angle of 45 degrees. It’s important that this movement is done with no acceleration but just a steady lift. Water has surface tension which grips the line so we need to unstick it before we add acceleration. This surface tension does work in our favour because it will begin to force the rod to bend.

Stage 2.

Without pause we now accelerate the rod tip and therefore the line, in a straight line upward stopping the rod at about 1 o clock. This is done by bringing your forearm into your bicep and simultaneously lifting your elbow. The last movement is to rotate the rod tip to a stop by rotating your wrist. This wrist break needs to be controlled, too much and the rod tip will end up going downwards.

Stage 3.

PAUSE AND DO NOTHING while fly line unrolls behind you. When nearly straight make your forward cast.

Stage 4.

Accelerate forward in a straight line stopping the rod in the direction you wish to go and at an angle off the vertical. Allow the line to unroll straight and lower rod to water. See roll cast page for more in depth description of forward cast.

Points to consider:

⦁ Straight line principle. If you send the back cast upwards then the forward cast should come downwards.
⦁ The angular stopping points both on the back cast and forward cast create what we call the casting arc. This arc can be narrow or wide depending on the bend in the rod. Small bend, narrow casting arc and large bend, wide casting arc. How much the rod bends depends on
rod action, the length of line being cast, the weight of line being cast, tempo and rod material.
⦁ All acceleration needs to be smooth, finishing with a fast stop.
⦁ Don’t rotate the rod early.
⦁ If your right handed and the wind is blowing from that direction, you will need to cast off your opposite shoulder. Bring your rod hand to your left ear and make your straight line rod path down your left side (left handers do the opposite)
⦁ Ideally you want to lift the whole line off the water before accelerating into the back cast but that depends on how much line you have out. You can reach forward with your arm to give yourself more of a lifting move. Be wary though of causing too much disturbance and don’t overpower the back cast because you’ll be surprised how much the rod will bend due to the waters surface tension.
⦁ There are different styles to this cast. They are all trying to achieve a straight line acceleration to a positive stop. Check out other casters and see how they do it.

If you have any questions about overhead fly casting, please contact me on matt@castaflywithme.com