Updated: Mar 6
Many beginners to fly fishing are intimidated at the prospect of casting at first. Others see casting portrayed in films such as A River Runs Through It and come with overly complex idea. The remaining few often use their knowledge from other forms of angling such as bass fishing or surf casting. All of these lead to problems for beginners and quickly lead to bad habits. The fly casting needed by anglers in North Georgia is actually far more simple.
Fly Fishing Casts
Two casts can achieve 99% of what we need to accomplish on the water while fly fishing in North Georgia. These are the Water Haul and Roll Casts. These casts are designed to keep your fly line and flies low to the water and out of the surrounding trees, rhododendrons, and mountain laurel. They also use the water to help load the rod instead of momentum created from the fly line.
The water haul cast begins with your line completely outstretched downstream of you. We then raise our rod tip to clear all fly line from the water. This will reduce any excess drag during the cast. With the rod tip lifted, this will be about the peak height our line and flies should reach during the cast. The main problem most anglers encounter is dropping their rod tip back before moving forward with the cast. While this would be how you load spinning or baitcast gear, which most bass or saltwater anglers are accustomed to, this drops our fly line back to the water causing much more resistance. This will lead to a shortened cast, far less accuracy, and often an unwanted splashy landing for our flies. Being patient and allowing yourself to setup for this water haul cast will help you entire presentation once one the water as well as an outstretched or straightened line will be much easier to manage.
The roll cast is similar to the water haul in the sense that slack is not your friend. It differs in the fact that your line does not have to be downstream of you. The fly can be anywhere on the 180 degree plane in front of you . The water haul is a more accurate cast when targeting areas about 45 degrees in front of you, whereas the roll cast is able to target anywhere on the water in front of you depending on where your line is originating and can cast up to a 90 degree angle. The key factor in the roll cast is to drag the flies slowly back toward you. If you rush this process and pick the flies up off the water, additional slack will build up and make the cast impossible or much more difficult. A sharp flick from a high rod tip will send your flies directly at target as your line unfolds, softly landing your flies on the water.
Fly Fishing the North Georgia Streams
Knowing the mistakes one can make while performing these cast can be incredibly valuable in the time it takes you to break bad habits, or to not pick them up in the first place. By mastering these two casts, it is a sure way to have success while fly fishing in any of southern Appalachia's small creeks and streams.