Whether you’re a beginner fly angler or have been fly fishing for years, chances are pretty good that you’ve hooked someone or something on your back cast at least once. It might have been someone’s pants, shirt or even your own hat, but the point is that you need to keep working on your casting skills while trying to avoid hooked clothes or broken skin at the same time.
If you are used to casting with the weight of a lure or bait while using a spinning rod, fly casting will take you some time to learn. Study up on fly casting basics, find a suitable place to practice, have patience with yourself, and consider investing in casting lessons with an FFF (Federation of Fly Fishers) certified instructor to efficiently work through any challenges.
Try to find one of these three places to practice your fly casting skills:
Your Yard. If you have an open grassy area in your backyard, you can practice right at home! Remove your fly and tie a piece of colored ribbon or yarn onto the end of your fly fishing leader line. Then, create your own target out of a plate, bucket or hoop. Be sure to position yourself far enough away from any trees or people, and avoid casting onto pavement or rocks that might cause damage or stress to your line.
A Nearby Park. A nearby park can be a great place to practice if you are able to go on a weekday when there are less people around and more room to cast. Again, be sure to remove your fly and replace it with ribbon or yarn while you practice in a large open field at the park. Remember to look over your shoulder before each cast. Even if you have removed your fly to avoid hooking anything or anyone, the fly line itself can cause a bit of a sting.
An open pond or lake with minimal trees, brush or weeds. While it’s always a good idea to get familiar with the feel of new fly fishing gear and basic techniques on land first, there is no real substitute for “on the water” experience. A good place for beginners to practice casting into the water is on an open pond or lake in an area with minimal trees, brush or weeds along shoreline. In this situation, you may want to leave your fly on the end of your line (in the event that you can actually catch something). If you leave the fly on your line while practicing, just bend down the barb on the hook and wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes from any casts “gone wild.”
If you’ve worked hard on your fly casting skills, have made a few successful trips and caught a few “brag-worthy” fish, be sure to share your photos in the TakeMeFishing.org community gallery.