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May 15th, 2000

The Slip Cast
By James Castwell


A week ago, in Pennsylvania, it seemed every stream I fished ran from my left to my right. Most of the rising, or potential rising trout were on the edges, near the shore. As I am right-handed it presented a fine casting challenge.

The current was faster in the middle than it was at the sides. My problem was how to present a dry fly with about thirty feet of fly-line so it would not drag half an instant after landing. I loved it.

Situations like this are handled automatically by guys who have fly fished for years, but I will try to point out some things for those a bit new to the sport.

For years I have been teaching 'loop-control' to beginners. Not only the nice tight, wedge shaped loops, but I urged them to practice casting the great-big, (usually worthless) front loop, then gradually increasing the tightness of the loop. This not only gives them a real cast to practice, but can work well on the stream too. It's also a good idea to practice it on the back-cast.

Most of you know of the 'reach-cast,' but I rarely see it performed correctly. If the line is not allowed to slide through the guides on the delivery, the distance will be shortened on the cast. (The reach-cast is done by aiming your cast as normal, then as the fly is on it's way, reaching to your side with the rod as the line falls to the water. This will put the line upstream and allow the fly to rest a bit before it starts to drag.)

The way to get the most out of the cast though is to have plenty of free fly line ready and allow it to slip through the guides as you do the 'reach.' This will not shorten the cast and will give you a longer drag-free time before it starts to drag.

You can call it anything you like. Reach cast, slip cast, slip reach cast, reach slip cast. Just do it, it works better.

Now let's go a step further. Add the big loop on the front cast to it. This will cause a whole bunch of loose line to fall at the location of the fly and leader. Not that hard to do, just may sound like that here. Make the cast with the big front loop, right after you stop the rod, reach to the side and let line slide through your fingers, keeping your rod tip low, follow the floating line with the tip and control the slack in your line as it drifts past you.

If you practice it a little it will become second-nature for you too. I will state for sure, this cast will create 'wind-knots' faster than any I know of. But you will get hits you would not otherwise. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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