Watchin' For You!

J. Castwell
October 26th, 1998


As you might suspect, we here at 'Fly Anglers On Line-Communication Central' have a vast library of books on many areas of fly fishing, including casting. As I write most of the columns on casting here, it is therefore rather obvious that it is I who am most familiar with the content of said books, especially on casting. There is no way I could possess the wealth of knowledge I do without having such a resource to steal, borrow, re-word, and otherwise make stuff sound like it is my own idea; short of plagiarism, however.

Therefore, when it became evident I had not written a column on the ROLL-CAST I attempted to research the subject a bit. Said investigation proved to be more interesting than I had anticipated. The ROLL-CAST is mentioned only rarely in the earlier works on fly fishing and casting. And there may have been several reasons for such near omission. If you knew anything at all about casting, certainly you could do the ROLL-CAST as it was for many the stalwart of fly fishing itself. The cast was performed using a 'chop-the-head-off-the-chicken' stroke. Effective with the type of fly rods popular during many of the earlier years.

The rod was brought back past the casters ear, stopped, swept forward to a horizontal plane, and the line 'rolled' out on the surface of the water. The cast matched the equipment; necessity again being the mother of invention. It is still a useful cast and taught in many schools.

There has been, however, an addition to the cast. So to say, a different way of doing it; in fact more than one new way. This has been due to the improvements of both fly rods and fly lines. There are some authors who have kept pace with this, but some readers and beginners are now even more confused.

If you have read this far and are satisfied with your ROLL-CAST don't go any farther, it is going to get very simple from here on. This is going to be as SIMPLE as I can make it; and you probably know all of the basics by now.

What I found in my 'looking-up-in-a-lot-of-books' was this. The writers did a good job. A very good job. Pictures, drawings, techno-babble, detailed explanations that lost me in tedium; they got carried away with far too many details for me. I plain got bored with all of it, as you may be by now too.

But, if you are still with me, you are serious about wanting to know more of the ROLL-CAST, good. Here we go. If you have an OLD fly rod (bamboo, or fiberglass); use the OLD ROLL-CAST.' By that I mean, use the above mentioned method and let the line roll out on the water. It is about all you can expect. They were designed for each other. Don't worry that you can't cast clear to the other side of the stream.

If you have one of the newer fly rods, (graphite, or a mix of it) then you need to know this. You have the ability to make a ROLL-CAST in the AIR. That's right, so the front loop hops off the water and zips toward the target in the air. And it is so easy to do. But, you have to do it differently from the 'OLD' way.

For lack of another name (and please don't blame me for calling it this) the ARIAL ROLL-CAST is started the same way. That is, bring the rod back past your ear, come to a dead-stop, and here is the BIG difference, do not make a ROLL! Instead, make a forward cast. Exactly like any other forward cast.Stop the rod at exactly the same place you would for a forward cast. The line will shoot out with a narrow loop, the fly will hop off the water and the whole thing will deliver just fine.

An example here may help you with this. If you wanted to make a long front cast, would you use a big sweeping front loop, or a nice tight one? Right, the tight one. Now, if you have some problem learning this cast, try this. Kneel down. It is almost impossible to throw a big front loop from that position, the tight loop will dictate itself. Try it; and keep it simple.

Come back to a 'dead-stop.' Make a 'forward' cast. Period!

Because the friction of the line on the surface of the water makes this cast work, you need to practice on water! Or water the lawn really well first.

That should keep you busy for a while; more on the other things you can do with the ROLL-CAST in future columns.. ~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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