The problem of learning to cast with fly tackle is the most difficult part of fly-fishing and in reality cannot be mastered by reading about it. The secret is that you must not be deterred from trying, because casting a fly-line is not nearly as difficult as it looks. To begin with you should aim at a delicate presentation and not be too bothered about casting long distances. Take your tackle to an open space and practise casting the fly-line. Don’t attach a fly or even the nylon leader. It is the fly-line you are casting and not the fly.
Pull off several metres of fly-line and lay it along the ground. Hold the rod handle lightly but firmly in your hand with your thumb along the top of the handle. Keep your elbow tucked in against your side so that you use only your forearm and wrist to power the rod. Before starting to cast, the rod tip should be slightly tilted up from the horizontal position. Raise the rod smoothly in an upward are and, without pausing, power it back when you reach the o’clock position until you reach a 12 o’clock position and the rod is vertical. In this position pause whilst the fly-line begins to straighten out behind the rod. As it does so the rod tip will bend back beyond the vertical position. Just before the fly-line straightens out completely behind you, power the rod forward towards the 10 o’clock position and then, again without pausing, let the rod drift down to a near horizontal position. This will propel the line forward, and if you have cast it correctly the line will land across the ground in a straight line. No amount of written instruction can compare with actual practice where you can get the feel of the tackle and see the results of your actions.
Once you have mastered this step you should try the same process with the tapered nylon leader attached. The next step is to try false casting where, once you have completed the forward power stroke at 10 o’clock, you pause instead of following through, and as the line begins to straighten out in front of you, power the rod into the back stroke. It is by false casting that you lengthen your cast as you keep the fly-line in the air. Pull off a short length of line from the reel with your spare hand and release it at the end of the forward stroke. Don’t be impatient when learning to cast, but lake satisfaction from each improvement you make. Being able to master your tackle is part of the enjoyment of fishing.