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'And I'm left handed'
The Pupil

setting up
what is...?
what fish?
why fly fish?
how we invented...
overhead cast
overhead faults
roll cast
roll cast faults
shooting line
putting it together
after the lesson
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The Roll Cast

Take a break from the over-head cast for a while. Now we are into the roll cast. There are only two types of casts. This is the other. Every cast has its roots in one or other of these.

First I'll describe the basic roll cast, teaching it and then I'll tell you exactly why we need it.

  • With the line lying in front of us, we slowly sweep the rod tip up behind us so that the tip of the rod is at about 45 degrees to the horizontal. (This actual position depends on the stiffness of the rod. Stiffer rods should be slightly nearer the vertical; softer rods slightly further back).

  • We want our hand to be level with our ear and slightly outside the elbow.

  • The line must be laying half a rod length to the side of the body, and the rod should be leaned over so that its tip is directly above the line. The line will hang down beneath the tip and curve off towards the water. The rod and line resemble a capital 'D' and the line within this 'D' is cleverly called the 'D-loop'.

Karen: It looks like a sail.
Paul: ...or a big capital 'D'.
Karen: Well, it's a sail to me.

  • The end of the flyline should be lying stationary on the water (this bit of surface tension helps the cast). We are now ready for the forward cast.

  • Flick the tip of the rod forwards. Think of that bounce feeling we created during false casting. Go for bounce (if you are having trouble generating this feel, try flicking a flyrod backwards and forwards in your hand without any line). It should feel springy. Emphasise this springy feeling for your roll cast. Hardly anyone gets this right BTW.

  • The line should travel forwards forming a loop. As it does so, it will lift the remaining line off the surface. The line will straighten above the water, hover for a fraction of a second and drop gently to the water. As the line drops follow it down with the rod tip.

This is the roll cast.

We need it for straightening out a mess (if the line is in a heap, the roll cast will straighten it), for whenever we can't make a backcast (trees behind us or a really strong wind), for clearing a sinking line from below the surface and for a very important reason which will become clear very shortly (Mystery and suspense...)

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