Beginner’s Guide to Casting a Fly Rod

Blue Ribbon Trout Streams cut through the Montana landscape and attract hundreds of thousands of anglers to the area each year. But learning to fly fishing takes time and money. This can keep newcomers to the sport on the shore rather than knee deep in one of those Blue Ribbon trout streams.

Truth be told, it’s intimidating to get started. First of all, there is the cost of purchasing equipment. There are a lot of expensive rods and reels, waders, boots, leader, tippet and of course flies. But you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get started. In fact, most guides will tell you to save that money and invest in casting lessons.

Josh Standish is a guide for Montana Trout Chasers in Gallatin Gateway, MT and has taught countless people how to fish in Montana’s waterways. He sat down and spoke with MTN about what it takes to start casting a rod.

Josh encourages his clients to find a nice open space to practice. An open pond or trail without a lot of trees is best so your line doesn’t get caught in tree branches or weeds. If you’ve ever used a fishing rod for fishing, a fly rod will look completely different. Rather than the weight at the end of the line like a lure on a casting rod, the weight is held in the line and helps push that line forward.

“It’s the exact opposite of a spinning rod,” Standish explained. “We don’t bring the rod very slowly and we don’t throw it forward very quickly. We do the opposite. We’re going to return the line quickly because we have to get that line to build up energy so that it flexes that cane tip. Once that line is behind you and bends the rod, it doesn’t take much movement to move that line forward.


The next thing is how to properly grip the rod. Standish explained that you hold the rod loosely on the stopper with your thumb on top of the rod. “I tell people to choke on top of a plug, kind of like when you have two hits on you in baseball,” Standish explained.

It’s easy to make mistakes when throwing a fly rod. Especially at the beginning.

“The most common mistake people make is trying to throw it like they would with a baseball or a soccer ball,” Josh told us. “You have a nine foot lever in your hand which has a lot of flexibility. If you let this tool do its job, it will do it very efficiently and very easily.

The casting is pretty straightforward. Energy is really generated on the molded back.

“Speed ​​up that line backwards to straighten out, flex that rod, and then it’s a very simple forward movement,” Standish explained.

Most people say the cane stays between 10 and 2 hours. That’s good advice, although Standish takes a slightly different approach.

“I tell most of my clients to think once and it’s lunchtime. You want to think about 12 o’clock because you want to stop the tip of the cane high up.

He teaches this to keep the line from falling too far back. Where the end of your line goes, your line will go.

“If you go too far back, your line will throw up in the air.” If you stop at 12 o’clock, your line is going to be on a straight line path where your line is going outward rather than upward, ”continued Standish.

While Josh was training me he discovered many bad habits but was able to correct those mistakes quickly and my light went out and hit my targets quickly. Josh says it takes a little practice to master the timing and stick to the basics.

“The rest will come with experience,” he said.

While there are plenty of other helpful tips to get started, we’ll cover a few later. Work on a few of these tips and you’ll be up and running or fixing your cast in no time. In the meantime, keep those lines tight, the stems bent and most of all, have fun!

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