Casting Exercise 6 - Lag-the-tag

This is a highly competitive game. It won't let you get away with any flaws in any of your basic mechanics of fly casting, and it's cruel because your opponent will gleefully rub it in with the inevitable grin on his face when he betters you. I recommend you choose either someone you don't know at all or a very good, life-long friend. Relationships that are not very consolidated can be seriously affected.


A rod sock for each of the two contenders and nothing else (simplifying the simple). I wonder how far we can take this reductionism. Will we be able to achieve total illumination as fly casters when we have cast off all tools and objects and only we ourselves remain?


Get your tag (piece of yarn) to land beyond that of your opponent but no more than 20 inches beyond it (guestimate the distance unless you have a referee). No false casts allowed, just "pick-up and lay-down." Your line has to land over your unrolled rod sock 5 yards in front of you... at the beginning of the game. Later, lay the rod socks 10 yards away. Take turns casting until one of you misses. Each of you gets three tries each turn.


  • Caster number 1 (decide this with some simple game like, for example, the first to cast 35 yards) lands his tag very close to the starting line (a bit beyond his rod sock).
  • Caster number 2 (the other one) has to land his tag beyond that of caster number 1, but less than 20 inches beyond, with his line falling over his rod sock. He has to do this without any false casts and, of course, without his line crossing his opponent's at any time.
  • The game continues like this with caster number 1 landing his tag (piece of yarn) beyond that of caster number 2.
  • Then it's number two's turn and so on until you're casting 12 yards. That's when you move your rod socks out to 10 yards.
  • The game continues. The first to fail in three tries (not landing his tag the proper distance or his line crossing over that of his opponent's) loses.
Orange line/gray rod sock participant has just made her cast    Yellow line/black rod sock. It´s her turn now. So far so good


Instead of playing to see who makes the longest cast, see who can get to a given distance (25 yards) in the fewest tries. In this case, keep score by adding each caster's attempts in all his turns.

After Orange line´s turn: Too short and off the rod sock. She´ll have two more attempts After Yellow line´s turn: Distance is good but off the rod sock. Two more attempts

Harder yet

We can make it even tougher by rolling up the rod socks a little

In this game, progress is usually fast, sometimes spectacular. If you start getting bored, try this:

  1. Instead of 20 inches, shorten the distance to 12 inches.
  2. When you get to 15 yards, place the rod socks at this distance to continue the game. This complicates things quite a bit.


  • Prepare for each pick-up by placing your line hand next to the first ring of the rod. Start pulling just as you raise the rod.
  • As the distance increases, take up a more open, square stance. Rotate your head and not your shoulders to avoid twisting your body.
  • It's absolutely essential that the path of the rod tip, rod and arm be as straight as possible. This way you'll get a narrower loop, land your line over the rod sock and cast farther with greater accuracy.