We recently kicked off our series of posts dedicated to improving one of the most important casts on the flats; the ability to present the fly on the backcast. Last week we touched on bracing; a useful technique to add power to your backstroke when casting into heavy winds with big rods and/or wind-resistant flies.
Today, we touch on one of the most common mistakes we see from our anglers when attempting to present the fly on the backcast; allowing the front shoulder to fly open on the presentation cast. The solution? Stay square! Allow us to explain below.
Better Backcast Presentations – Part 2: Stay Square
A common complaint we hear from our anglers at Andros South is that when delivering the fly on the backcast the fly line and leader fails to unroll or ‘straighten’ fully on the presentation cast. Instead, the fly line ‘hooks’ in the air forming a horizontal loop that is out of parallel, allowing the wind to knock down the fly line, leader, and fly into a heap short of your target. Often times, this does not happen during the false casts leading up to the final presentation cast of course, only when it comes time to deliver the fly.
Sound familiar? If so, that’s okay! It’s one of the most common faults we see, and its also one of the easiest to correct.
If you find this happening to you, odds are you are opening your front shoulder too early in an attempt to do two things; 1) provide a little more oomph to the final cast (which generally doesn’t help) and 2) turn your head/body to see the fly present to the target. Allowing your front shoulder (right shoulder for righties, left shoulder for lefties) to fly open too early on the presentation cast causes the rod tip to ‘sweep’ as opposed to track straight towards the target. This results in a wide non-parallel loop of line to form on the presentation cast which is easily at the mercy of the wind.
To fix this, make sure to keep your front shoulder closed until the rod has made the necessary abrupt stop on the backstroke and the loop has formed past the rod tip. Or, to borrow a term from other many other sports, stay square with your shoulders until the loop has formed past the rod tip. Then, and only then, you can rotate your shoulders for a better visual of your target. This will help to keep the rod tip tracking in a straight line for more efficient loops and better presentations on the backcast.