|....................... ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
The Basics: Presentation - Part 2
The young man I was writing about yesterday was far more interested in
showing Angie and I how far he could cast than he was getting a drag free drift.
In fact, he was almost far enough away from the fly that he was unable to see
what was happening to it. The second the fly line hit the water across the
smooth flowing but conflicting currents of the Firehole, the current yanked a big
curve in his line. When you get a belly or curve in your fly line from water flowing
at different speeds, it is going to drag the fly. You much get some slack in the
line to prevent it.
With slack in the fly line, the faster currents will take the slack out of the line
rather than drag the fly. The current in the smooth sections of the Firehole River
is deceptive. Grass under the water slows some of the water down and where
there is no grass, it flows much faster. When you cast across it, if you fly line is
straight, it will drag the fly.
This situation isn't something that just occurs in the Firehole River. It is common
to most trout streams. Anything in the water, a rock, boulder, log, vegetation or
even differences in the bottom levels can cause currents that flow at different
speeds. It also doesn't matter if you are fishing a dry fly or a nymph. A nymph
speeding through the water faster than the current it is in, signals a trout
something isn't natural about the drift.
You cannot cast a long ways and throw slack in your fly line at the same
time. To cast a long ways, you must straighten out the line. I don't know anyone
that can cast a slack fly line a long ways. If you don't and you try to immediately
mend a long line by throwing line upstream, you will disturb the water in most
cases. Unless you have cast far above the trout, you want have the time to
mend the line. Mending isn't that effective when you make a long cast. If you
must cast a long way, you are better off just tossing some slack in the line
In order to get drag free drifts in most trout streams, you must throw some slack
line in the cast. To create some slack in a cast, you simply abruptly stop the cast
higher than you would attempting to cast a long ways. That allows the fly line
and leader to fall to the water with some slack in it. These are called Slack Line
Cast. Naturally, the fly want go as far as it would it the line and leader stayed
The bottom line to all of this, is that shorter, slack line cast are necessary to
catch trout in many, if not most, situations.