Overhead fly casting - learn to cast a fly
- casting in a wind

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Overhead casting (single handed)

Overhead casting is usually the basic method of fly casting. This is the fly fishing cast for most anglers, it is versatile, it can be made overhead as per its name but the same technique can be adapted to work in any plane from the horizontal side cast to the overhead cast proper and right across the body to the horizontal backhanded side cast. Furthermore it can be tilted to cope with wind from the front and from the rear and false cast in the air to gauge distance, extend line or dry flies. Perhaps it should have been called the straight line cast rather than the overhead cast, because given the variations, that name makes more sense. This whole family of casts is actually based upon two casts, not one. Every casting sequence requires a back cast, followed by a forward cast, therefore two casts. Straight line casts can be very efficient and are capable of the longest distances. They can easily benefit from single hauls and double hauls. Single hauling is when the line is accelerated by pulling it through the rod coincident with the peak of the casting stroke and so greatly increasing the rod bend and therefore the line speed. Double hauling is a combination of hauls. The line is hauled for a back haul, the line is then fed into the back cast and hauled again on the forward cast. There are two common descriptions for the work of the non rod hand during this process. Together - apart, together - apart (common in UK) and down - up, down - shoot (American). Both are helpful reminders when learning the rhythm.

The diagram below shows how to modify the overhead cast for casting into a wind and with a wind behind. Note how the casting arc is always tilted into the wind, "tilt into the wind" is an easy way to remember how to cope with headwinds or following winds. If you would like to know the secrets of overhead casting and the whole family of similar casts, contact me to arrange fly fishing instruction or attend one of my fly fishing courses.

Casting arc used (red into the wind, green with the wind) tilts according to the wind direction, and that the casting arc is always tilted into the wind.
Rod stopping positions are green. Drift after the back cast. The back cast is made low with a tight loop to penetrate the the wind and straighten. Forward cast is directed high with a fairly open loop to take advantage of the following wind.
Rod stopping positions are red. Stop at 12 o'clock to ensure a high back cast, drift the rod back before making the forward cast. Deliver lower than usual with a tight forward loop to cut into the wind.
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Copyright 2007 Alastair Gowans AAPGAI and FFF Master and THCI, APGAI. All rights reserved.