In the last installment of “Ask a Fly-Fishing Instructor,” we dealt with how to cast from a boat, focusing on the “ready position” that helps you make quick, accurate casts to an often moving target. A lot of people believe that saltwater fly-fishing requires super-long casts all the time, but that’s simply not true. Sometimes, the fish are quite close to the boat, and you have to make a quick short cast. Of course, these same short casts are often important in freshwater fishing, as well. When you’re fishing up one of the mountain trout steams we have here in Vermont, you rarely have more than a couple feet of fly line out beyond your tip top guide.
One of the keys to making a good short cast is actually counterintuitive: to load the rod, you have to make a slightly more aggressive “flick” or “pop” on the forward cast than you would if you were casting more line. Second, a shorter, more compact casting stroke will help get the line to roll out. Finally, make sure you’ve got a nicely tapered leader tailored to the fly you’re using. Put all these steps together, and you’ll find that short casts are a breeze.