We’re back again with part 4 of our blog series on better backcast presentations. Whether you’re stalking the flats or banging the banks, the ability to deliver the fly effectively on the backcast is a extremely valuable tool in nearly all avenues of fly fishing.
Today we’re covering another one of the most common faults we see from folks frustrated by their line and/or leader not ‘straightening-out’ on the presentation cast or more commonly put; being ‘knocked-down’ by the wind. Sound familiar? Read on!
Better Backcast Presentations – Part 4: Trajectory
Failure to straighten the fly line and leader on the presentation cast is the most common complaint in regards to presenting on the fly on the backcast. As we mentioned previously in our series, allowing the front shoulder to fly open on the presentation cast rather than staying square is a common cause for the fly line and leader falling into a heap on the final presentation cast. However, perhaps even more common is poor trajectory.. Allow us to explain.
In any fly cast, a tight loop is the product of a straight-line path of the rod tip. Simply put, the straighter the path the rod tip takes on either the forward or backcast, the tighter the loop. The angle at which this straight-line path is drawn is best defined as the trajectory of the cast.
Most anglers have learned that when presenting the fly on the forward cast under the majority of fishing scenarios, a slightly downward trajectory is most effective to deliver the fly to a target. In other words, casting slightly higher on the backstroke and slightly lower on the forward stroke allows the fly to be delivered at a downward angle causing the fly line and leader to unroll just above the target with minimal effects from the wind. To simplify, because the rod tip (what dictates where the line goes) is always higher than the fish, some downward trajectory is needed to efficiently and accurately deliver the fly to the fish.
However, when presenting the fly on the backcast, many anglers have a tendency to use the same trajectory as when presenting the fly on the forward cast; casting slightly higher on the backstroke and slightly lower on the forward stroke. This causes the fly line to be lofted high into the air on the presentation cast (now the backcast) allowing the wind to knock it down with ease.
The solution? Reverse the trajectory of your forward and backcasts! When presenting the fly on the backcast, loft your ‘forward’ cast high and your backcast (presentation cast) low. This will direct your backcast at a downward angle towards your target allowing your fly line and leader to unroll under the mercy of the wind.