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The Roll Cast


Initial casts
Knowledge 1
Knowledge 2
Knowledge 3
Knowledge 4
Knowledge 5
Penny drops
Will Nick pass?
The roll cast
Thank you!
The build up
The exam!

The Experience

Nick lands a brown trout
Nick and a pike
Nick saltwater flyfishing
Nick is in!
Nick... again
Saltwater surf action
Nick checks his backcast
Powerful specialist side casting technique
Good luck Nick :-)
Nick lands a brown trout
Nick and a pike
Nick saltwater flyfishing
Nick is in!
Nick... again
Saltwater surf action

Paul writes: So Nick, describe for me a roll cast please as you would for the AAPGAI, explaining how it works etc :-)

Nick answers: THE ROLL CAST.

Uses: Straightening line (starting off), fishing fly to the bank and casting in enclosed places.

What to do: Position tip of rod at around chin height, make a slow "sweeping movement" first of all horizontal and then steadily elevating the rod.

Aim to position the rod tip reasonably high, just behind the shoulder. If performed correctly the line should "slide" across the water and form a hanging D shape (belly) from the tip of the rod to the water.

It is most important to ensure that a small amount of line remains in the water.  This will create an anchor point which I will discuss later.

To make the cast the movement should be rather like "swatting a fly". Firstly begin building the speed in the rod before finishing off with a strong wrist snap, this should be performed in a fluid manner.  The rod should finish reasonably high to ensure the line passes over the water and not into it.

Basically this cast works by using the anchor point to flex the rod, using the weight held within the D, it is therefore most important that this shape is formed prior to the cast.  The power application is also critical.

Paul: When else can you use a roll cast?

Nick: Thought I covered that.  Pull your line up from deep when fishing a fast sinker?  I have already said, enclosed conditions, straightening line and fishing the fly to your feet.

Paul: I can think of one other roll cast circumstance; when a tailing wind is too strong to make a backcast.

What is the correlation between the amount of line in the D-loop and the amount of force you require in the cast?

Nick: Small D Loop - More Force, Large D Loop - Less Force

Paul: Correct. What path should the rod tip follow?

Nick: Horizontal.

Paul: A straight-line path is a better answer. How do you cast (a) an open loop (b) a tight loop?

Nick: (a) Widen Casting Arc (b) Tighten Casting Arc

Paul: As well as the tip on the line being on the water it should be stationary. Describe minimum drag techniques and hauling please!

Nick: Minimum Drag, ensure the tip remains at a constant horizontal level b4 lifting.  Do not dip down so the line falls in the water.  Use a nice long sweep to lift a lot of line off the water, ensure the rod tip remains high and when making the forward stroke do not dip the tip downwards at the back prior to the forward stroke.  The smaller the drag the less power and force is needed to complete the cast.  With too much drag the cast will collapse at the end or worse still; go no-where.

Hauling will create a higher line speed and help with distance.  It also helps to increase accuracy, the faster the line moves the more likely it is to reach the target.  The haul should be put in during the wrist snap power application.

Paul: I think minimum drag referred to is the "jump roll".

Nick: Yep.  Or what I refer to as the "Switch"

Paul: Describe this please.

Nick: The jump roll or switch is a cast which can be used in enclosed spaces providing greater distance than the simple roll.

It is created by moving the rod in a horizontal path and than lifting swiftly into a vertical.  This is managed through a sweep of the arm and a flick / roll of the wrist.  A simple way of visualising the tip path is to imagine an L shape which has toppled over.

If performed correctly you will end up with a large D loop moving behind the shoulder at speed and a small "anchor" or "stick" point of line in the water.  In a nutshell the bigger the loop and the smaller the stick, the better the cast.  It is worth noting that the anchor point is critical, without it the cast will fail and that enough time MUST be left for the loop to form.  Varying loop sizes can be created for given circumstances ( i.e. amount of obstructions ).  The smaller the loop, the more power is required to make the cast.  Also small loops need very small anchor points otherwise the cast will fail.  This cast is the basis of a series of casts known as the Speys.

Paul: and... roll casting into the wind?

Nick: Roll casting into the wind can be tricky due to the fact that a D Loop is required and this can be quite literally, blown out.  So, to counter this it is often wise to tilt the rod at an angle and almost cast under the wind.  This helps to reduce air resistance.

Other skills which will help make a successful cast are Hauling to give the line more speed/velocity and when making the tap forwards it is wise to push the tip down towards the surface.

Paul: The first part is an interesting answer. What I was looking for is that the casting arc should be rotated forwards so the once the loop has straightened it is on the water surface as in the overhead cast written about earlier. However the point about making the roll cast off the side is a good one and achieves the same result. And how would you deal with cross winds?

Nick: Cross Winds are easy to cope with.  For a right handed caster form the roll exactly as you would when casting off the right shoulder, except take the rod so as your hand finishes in the peripheral vision of your left eye.  It is worth mentioning a common mistake made with this cast. When casting off the right shoulder with a wind from left to right, one should always perform the cast on the rod side of the line.  If this is not the case the line will cross/tangle.  So when you are a right hander with the wind from right to left cast off the left shoulder but ensure that the stroke is made to the right of the line.  For lefties just swap the principles discussed.

Paul: A couple of points here, when forming a D-loop off the opposite shoulder it can help to twist at the waist and when executing the stroke keep the back of the hand behind the rod. You are correct and one should ensure that the rod never crosses the flyline laying on the water surface (which is of course why we have Spey casts). And please describe the change of direction.

Nick: With the simple roll it is not possible to make big changes of direction.  The only way this can be done is to make several rolls, which in a fishing situation is not acceptable due to the disturbance caused by the line on the water.

This is where Spey Casting and the Snake Roll can be used.  Basically these casts ensure that the D Loop is placed 180 degrees opposite the eventual target.  Absolutely critical for good roll casts and the variations such as the double, single speys and jump roll, snake roll.

To sum up good roll casts and the variations: big D loop, small anchor point and 180 degrees.

Paul: It is also worth stressing that the tip of the line should be stationary and the D-loop should be placed downwind and approx half a rod length to the side.

Nick has now gone to visit Michael Evans before taking his exam on Friday

Good Luck Nick!!

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