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juro 08-03-2006 09:15 AM

Casting in wind
When the wind is coming from the casting side of the body (crosswind) there are a few things we can do to prevent hooking ourselves.

Not counting two-handers (which have great off-hand casting provisions) what do you do with single hand casts to cope?

jhicks 08-03-2006 09:31 AM

I turn around and cast backwards, when on big rivers. On small water I can cast pretty proficiantly left handed, as long as there aren't any hauls involved.

Adrian 08-03-2006 09:51 AM

1) Turn around and backcast - good for putting out a long line where accuracy isn't a big factor.

2) Make the cast off the "opposite shoulder" - useful for shorter casts requiring a bit more accuracy.

3) Cast with the left arm. Just started seriously practicing left handed this year. Short distances are pretty fair with good accuracy. Next step is getting the haul going and I'll have a "full quiver".

In cases 2 and 3, I reverse the angle of my body by bringing my left foot back (as opposed to my right for RH casts). "Opening up" frees up the left side rotation and makes these casts a whole lot easier :)

FredA 08-03-2006 10:42 AM

Backcast or water haul.

JimW 08-03-2006 10:48 AM

Drive to the other side of the breaking pod of albies - then cast.:smokin:

Paxton 08-03-2006 11:21 AM

I back cast if the wind is ridiculous, if not, side cast and duck...but after watching JimS cast equally, long and accurate with either left or right hand...there is no doubt that that is the best way to go....given one is willing to spend lots of time practicing which I have not done as of yet.

Demps 08-03-2006 11:51 AM

I'm a lefty, but can throw a decent line with my right. The toughest part for me isn't casting w/ the opposite hand, it's the line management (hauling, stiping, etc). One of the benefits to kayak fishing is you seldom need a cast over 50', most are even much shorter.

teflon_jones 08-03-2006 09:38 PM

If river/stream fishing:
Step 1: Cross the river.
Step 2: Turn around so the wind is blowing over your non-casting shoulder.
Step 3: Cast.

If pond/lake fishing:
Step 1: Rotate float tube 180 degrees.
Step 2: Cast.


If one of the above techniques doesn't work, then I just lower the front of my casting stroke and punch it through the wind, and keep the backcast up high and out of the way. Honestly, after 17 years or so of fly fishing, I don't even think about it any more. I can't remember the last time I hooked myself though so I must be doing something right.

juro 08-04-2006 06:53 AM

It seems most people have adopted safe and effective means of dealing with crosswinds. It wasn't too long ago that one could observe fly casters hitting themselves over and over because they would not adapt. I think the internet has had a very positive influence in that respect, meaning that people discuss things and learn what others are doing even in mid-winter in forums like this one.

On topic -

I've been a backward caster for many years, having an eye surgeon for a brother who emails me images of mishaps :Eyecrazy:

I insist on my clients backcasting in crosswinds or will change the route for the day to put them on the strong side.

Actually fishing the backcast does not lessen your ability to reach fish, in fact it strengthens your casting because 50% of a flycast is the backcast and being able to drive this backcast makes the forward cast more potent when you switch back.

The body does not have to turn back to target, just shift your casting shoulder to the front and reach across the body a little. Rotate the body a bit (approx 90 from normal toward the other side of the body) keeping the eyes forward.

The key is the keep your knuckles toward the target, thus making it a back(hand) cast. The traditional cast across the body reverses the hand to push with the thumb. The backhand cast does not.

Another secret is to lean the butt of the rod against the inside of the forearm during the stroke to target. This has the effect of really flexing the rod with power that is frankly hard to find on the strong side.

Regardless of how you deal with a crosswind (left hand, cross body, back hand) it's key to keep the path of acceleration true otherwise all the power you apply dissipates into open loops or off-line vectors.

Wind adds tension to the line in flight thus actually helping the fly cast in most cases.

jimS 08-05-2006 12:42 PM

Great advice from all on dealing with wind and casting. Over time I have extracted close to a dozen flies from fishermen. A couple were large flies in the cheek and neck. I've seen a few rods get beaned with heavy clousers and go "bang" on the next cast. If you fish on the Cape long enough, the wind will be on your casting shoulder at least 50 per cent of the time.

As Juro and others have said, backcasting is a tried and proven method to thwart the wind. The one downside to this method is when you are sightfishing. Most will take their eyes off the fish when turning their body to backcast.

As someone with average eye-hand coordination, I started practicing flycasting with my other hand about five years ago. The first step was attempting to form a short, tight loop by emulating what I did with the other hand. I was dismal at the beginning, but as I continued 15-20 minute sessions daily, muscle memory kicked in. Once I felt confident casting short distances, I started lengthening the line, and then shooting on the back and forward cast. The next step was accuracy, and finally learning the double haul. The double haul is not hard if it is broken into single hauls, and then combining them.

Learning to cast with the off-hand has actually improved my casting with the other hand. It has shown me some of the poor techniques I have developed over years of bad practice.

CSJ60 is another guy I fish with that has become an excellent caster with his off-hand.

If you feel overwhelmed by learning to cast with the off-hand, don't. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can

Warren 08-09-2006 05:25 AM

I am a little late on this one but What the heck! I use the left hand if I can or cast backwards like rest of you or I bag it & head for the nearest watering hole for a Wee Dram:D

juro 08-09-2006 06:48 AM

The pinnacle of dealing with crosswind is to become ambidextrous. Having observed both Jim and Craig they know the type of comments and compliments I've given them on this feat as I am truly impressed.

With the two-hander I am quite adept at off-handed casting (left in my case), also fluent with all my Spey casts offhand; but I must admit that in SWFF situations I use a backhand partial cross-body cast almost 100% with the single hander in salt & wind rather than refine my left-hand skills. But it remains a goal for a number of reasons.

Jim speaks the truth about the off hand teaching the dominant hand (and the mind). Learning to cast lefty on the Spey rod was like having a personal tutor it was amazing how much it revealed about casting... to me! I do practice regularly offhand, although I can't say I'm fully there with the single hander like Jim and Craig.

Perhaps because my "cack-handed" single hand overhead solution is refined over years of practice and is an effective weapon. This is diff.erent than a standard cross-body cast in that the thumb does not push the rod. Instead the butt of the rod presses against the inside of the forearm which forces the rod to bend more on the power stroke. It throws a very powerful cast and with a positive stop a very tight loop into wind.

One benefit of this backhanded type of cast is that it dramatically increases your backcasting power, which helps your forehand casting significantly when the wind turns around.

However I do feel it's important to become adept at offhand casting to be a good instructor (which was the initial motivation for my offhand Spey study) and practice offhand single-hand casting regularly regardless of how I fish. I hope this practice leads to the ability to surpass my current backhand solution in hard wind situations someday.

I think I will take a first step by applying it more in fishing this season.

teflon_jones 08-09-2006 06:52 AM

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One thing I'll mention because it came into play on the Deerfield on Monday: I wear a canvas hat (see pic, not the same one but close enough) that covers my neck and ears pretty well, and I realized that a couple of sloppy backcasts in heavy winds came around and bounced the fly off my hat. So wearing the right headgear can go a long way...

juro 08-09-2006 07:14 AM


I would argue that no cast should ever touch any part of the body, or clothing. It's as simple as keeping the line moving only on the downwind side, hence the need for offhand casting per this discussion.

Not meaning to split hairs on the topic as that is a fine piece of headgear, but on the topic of casting I would stand firm to that, particularly as an instructional note to a new caster to instill the thinking early, etc.

jfbasser 08-09-2006 07:20 AM

I recently purchased a 4 wt and have been practicing off-hand casting. I think am coming to a conclusion that off-hand casting will be easier to master on a lighter rod before I move up to the saltwater rods.

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