The Reach Cast

This is probably the most important and versatile presentation cast of all. You learn it quickly but it takes a lot of practice and training to truly master it. It can serve two basic purposes:

  • To avoid lining the trout when fishing directly upstream. When fishing downstream, if the fish doesn't take your fly (quite unthinkable), you can pick up your line without spooking it (possibly), since your line will not be over its window.
  • To place a stretch of line upstream of the fish to avoid drag.

A hoop and several traffic cones.
Important: if you haven't bought any traffic cones yet, you can roll up a rod sock from each end to its center, and then unroll one side or the other as required by the exercise.

Start with the hoop (your center) eight yards from your position. The stationary cone is the one with the flag. The hoop is below the yellow piece of wool
Place a cone, which we'll call the stationary cone between yourself and the hoop and about three yards from the hoop. This stationary cone, which is identified by a flag in the photos, never gets moved from this position. As you progress, add a cone to one side or the other to practice the cast to the left as well as to the right.
Try and get the wool, which should be very visible and neatly cropped, to land inside the hoop, preferably dead center.: Of course your line shouldn't touch any of the cones (or unrolled rod sock as the case may be).
 Nice and easy

With a vertical loop and as the wool passes over the hoop, reach your arm out to one side (you got it, that's where the name comes from). You have to shoot line.
You should exaggerate the reach, using the trunk of your body and your legs. Don't be afraid of looking like a ballet dancer.
By now, you should be used to doing a little clowning around.

Harder yet
A little bit harder Keep adding cones and move back from the hoop two or three more yards. This is difficult.
Place the cones a little closer to the hoop. This is very difficult (there isn't even a photo).

Together with slack line casts When you become adept at this exercise (at least three cones to your left if you're right-handed and four to the right), you can do something to make this cast lethal: play with the rod tip to add slack line to the system. Remember the first exercise; we talked about the uselessness of straight line. This also applies to this presentation cast.

  • If you leave the rod tip high after reaching, you'll get slack line near yourself (parachute).
  • If, after the reach, you drop the rod tip smartly after braking the shoot, you'll get little wriggles all along the line (puddle).

You should look like a ballet dancer to perform a good left reach cast