.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


The Basics: Presentation - Part 10 - Reach Cast
I use the reach cast fly fishing for trout quite often. When I first started making
the cast, I didn't realize what I was doing. I did it without thinking about it, just
trying to get the fly to drift like I wanted it to drift. I knew that when I made a
straight line overhead upstream cast across water with conflicting currents, I got
instant drag. My first reach cast were just poor attempts to get some slack in the
line. I don't think it probably even occurred to me that was what I was trying to do.

I seriously doubt that I was very different from most any other angler that started
fly fishing. One of the first things I learned that I should do, was to get a drag
free drift. Like most everyone else, I learned that mending the line was the thing
to do to get the fly to drift drag free. I knew that when I was fishing fast moving
pocket water and I made a cast across the current, I didn't have time to mend
the line before the fly began to drag. My efforts to correct that were similar to
the motions you are supposed to make in a reach cast. I would just stick the end
of my fly rod out far left or right of the direction the fly was headed in. The
motions I made was really about all there is to making a reach cast.

The reach cast is simple and easy to learn. The problem becomes a matter of
how well you can make the cast to work for each of the thousands of possible
variations in the current. Variations of the reach cast are infinitesimal. Just about
every cast is made slightly different.

You can make a reach cast to keep from lining a trout directly upstream of your
position. You just cast directly at the fish and then reach to the right or left. The
fly will land above the trout but fly line will land to the right or left of your fly and
not drift downstream over the trout's window of vision.

You can also make a reach cast to help prevent drag when you are casting
across current. Your fly line, leader and tippet doesn't land in a straight line.
The reach cast causes the tippet and usually part of the leader to land
somewhat perpendicular to the fly line. It isn't a complete cure for drag by any
means. It just helps the fly to get started drifting drag free.
It is better
described as mending the line in the air.
If you are making rather short cast
across fast water, it buys enough time for the fly to drift without drag far enough
to get by most of the time.