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The basic roll cast:
Versión en español
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-- Introduction
different styles
the grip
shooting line
power snap
loop shape
across the wind
into the wind
with the wind
side casting
underhand cast
Belgian cast
different lifts
backcast shoot
basic roll cast
roll cast variations
off the shoulder
dynamic roll
Spey Casting
double right
double left
single right
single left
spey fishing
switch cast
snake roll
fly first
mending line
bow and arrow
rotating thumb
tip kicks

The principles of the roll cast are that:

  • we slide the line towards us in order to position the flyline just off to the side of the body

  • we wait until the tip of the flyline is stationary on the water in front of us

  • a 'D-loop' has been formed with the rod and the flyline

  • we drive the rod tip forwards bending it against the weight of the line in the D-loop

  • we then stop our rod forcing it to unbend and cast our line

  • as the line lands on the water we lower the tip of the rod.

Because we do not rely on casting very much line behind us this cast is great in situations where we either haven't got the space for the backcast, or when it's just too windy to get a safe backcast.

Also the roll cast can be used as part of a casting sequence - ie as a lift element in which case it allows us to fish the fly to our feet, still leaving enough line outside the tip ring to make a cast.

With sunkline fishing this is the cast to use to get the line out of the water (unless you are changing direction, in which case you are best to start digging - see alternative lifts section).

If a fish takes our fly at the moment when we have just formed our D-loop (as they do - partly because the fly just stopped moving, but mainly because the fish are out there to annoy us) the only way to hook him is to roll cast, and use the momentum of the line travelling forwards to set the hook. Incidentally this takes great presence of mind - but accounts for over 20% of my catch - so learn it if you haven't already!

NB: unlike with the overhead cast, the roll cast does not require a straight length of line on the water. So it's useful after a casting cock-up too.

In order for the cast to work efficiently it is important that:

  • the tip of the line is anchored and stationary on the water surface

  • sufficient line is in the D-loop to bend the rod

  • the line is lying to the side of the body and not in front of the body where it will spring up and hook the caster on the forecast

  • the line is as close to the body as possible (no more than half a rod length) because this cast is most efficient when the tip of the rod travels directly over the flyline

  • the tip of the rod travels in a straight line on the forward cast in order to throw an elliptical loop, as opposed to a round one which lands in a heap at the end

  • we are not trying to make the roll cast using the thin shooting part of a weight forward flyline.