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Fly Casting into Wind
One of the major problems you will encounter when fly fishing is having to cast into the wind. At times it is impossible to get away from it. Say you are on one side of the lake and the wind is coming directly towards you. It is almost impossible to get your cast further than 10-15ft out in front of you or so it would seem. However with a few adjustments to your casting stroke you can make that cast further into the lake and get into the target location where the fish are feeding.
The main things to do is make sure you tighten your loops as a smaller tighter loop is more aerodynamic and will cast further into the wind. The other things to do are make your forward cast at a more downward facing direction. This means the loop will fly under the wind and should make it a bit further. A high loop can be caught by the wind and pushed up and will collapse leaving your fly to fall closer to you than the fly line leaving you with no contact and so you cannot feel the takes.
When you are making your forward strokes downward you need to make the backward stroke upwards so the two line up in a nice straight line. This means the wind pushing past you will take the backward cast high and fast behind you ready for the forward cast which you are aiming downwards. Its a cast of trial and error to see how far you can cast as to how low you need to cast as a very strong wind will make it extremely hard to get any distance however medium to low wind will allow slightly higher casting to get a bit further out.
As always other recommended additions to your casting stroke are faster line speed and extending your stroke. If you don’t already know how to the double hauling will allow you to put extra speed into the casting stroke to add extra line speed. This will help bunch out into the wind to add = extra distance. The addition of extending your stroke will also help. To do this gently rock your body forward and back as you go through the casting stroke to add a few extra feet to the casting stroke. This combined with the double haul and lower forward trajectory will help cast your flies out further into the head wind so you can continuing fly fishing.
Sideways casting to get under the wind.
Another great technique to help get out into the wind is to sideways cast. This means your casting arm goes out to the side rather than above you. It also means you need a bit more room between you and the next angler on the banking. However if you have the room then casting sideways will mean your flies are travelling under the main strong wind with is above your head. You can add the same techniques mentioned above also a double haul and rock your body however the trajectory need to be straight to get the flies out in front of you.
At all time make sure you are wearing glasses and in the wind I would recommend a baseball cap or hat. Gusts can make it very risky to cast flies around your head so this protection will hopefully stop you getting seriously injured if things go wrong. This illustration is based on a straight head wind or onshore wind. If the wind is coming side on then we need to consider a few changes to keep us safe. Check out the video by Bumcast for more great info on fly casting into wind.
Hey Mark, whilst I have never been fly fishing as I don’t live in an area that warrants it, I do do a lot of fihsing with soft plastics and small lures in estruaries close to the ocean. These places do get windy also and it seems the troubles are the same. I was out the other day with a mate and neither of us could get our lure into this nice little flathead hole due to the wind. I have marked this post to show him next time I see him as I think we may be able to use your techinques to assist us also – we definitely didn’t try a side case at all.
Do you use lures and soft plastics in your part of the world?