Andrew Connell is an accomplished Fly Fisherman, and casting instructor. We spoke to him on a trip to Milbrook Lakes earlier this year. Below, he goes through the benefits of slowing your movements down, choosing your flies wisely, minimising the amount of slack in your line, and alterning your casting action to compensate for the wind. We think that the following pro-tips to help you become a better Fly Fisherman.
Speed is probably one of the most important things to keep in mind when Fly Fishing. In my experience it's important to slow down with your casting. I find that a lot of people tend to rush through this process.
Slowing down not only relates to your casting action, but also to your retrieving action. Inert retrieve refers to doing nothing, but simply keeping the slack out of your line, and letting the fly drift with your line.
Choose a fly depending on the day and time of year. And also by what the fish are doing. Sometimes we try and induce the fish to take it, so in other words we get an aggressive reaction out of them. And other times we just want to have something present as more natural.
So for example, the bright colours will induce a more aggressive reaction, but often I choose a natural looking fly as a bait fish... such as in the bait fish in the lake I happen to be fishing.
Having an understanding of where you’re going and what they food source is there. So if you’re going to a lake and it had a certain type of food in it, so it might have a certain type of minnow, or it might be a lake full of scud, or it might be a lake that’s got a lot of stick cattus; it might be a really silty lake that’s got a lot of midge in it.
Understanding and knowing what food source is available gives you an understanding of what the fish are going to eat, so if there’s something there that is already a source of food.... put a kid in a McDonald’s store, what’s he going to eat?
Some of the lakes have different food sources. You might go to one lake and it might not have any minnows in it, but the fish will eat another source of food.
Get rid of the slack in your line before you cast. Slack is your worst enemy.
Slack is the line that's not tied, so when you hold the rod tip up from the water, which people often do. For example, holding the rod out horizontally will cause two things to happen. There’s no wind.
When you’ve lifted the rod up the line wants to actually hang straight down, so gravity will force the line to go down that means it will pull the line in, so you end up with... the height... the rod is off the water.... there’s slack, because if you put the rod tip to the water.
Were it really needs to be in a straight line, or connected in a straight line to the line you get that in slack. And that amount of movement that you need to get rid of that slack takes away from your cast.
So if you were to have your rod tipped to the water, or almost to the water and in connection almost straight line to your line you’d have no slack. As soon as you move your rod tip... you’re beginning the cast. You’re loading the rod, so getting rid of that slacks the real big key.
If you experience a fair bit of wind on your trip you may wish to alter your casting action... cast more to the side.
With casting to the side, what I try to do is keep the fly away from me, so I cast on the side where the wind is blowing away from me basically. In doing that it’s a lot safer for me. And also the fly line will actually naturally go that way.
It’s a bit like a candy cane shape, so you can sort of see it’s got that bend in it, so when it’s faced away from me the handle parts away, so basically the line unfurls better that way, but then the other thing is when we’re casting on the side we’ve got to cast a little bit more line speed otherwise the line will drop and get caught in the grass.
You might have to fish at a different depth. You might have to have a certain type of rod. You might need a heavier, or lighter rod.