The Roll Cast

The Roll Cast is to the cast to use any time that you can’t make a backcast; i.e. rear bankside obstructions or a very strong gale-force wind from behind you. It is also useful as a casting sequence when fishing the fly to your feet. It has a further use for picking up sinking lines and it can be used – sometimes – to unhook a snagged fly. It has one other use – to hook a fish that has followed and eaten a dibbled fly!

(Dibbling is a technique of dancing a fly – normally the top dropper – causing it to scratch its way across the water surface. More info here )

Brian Henderson (Australian MCI and casting guru) ‘s method involves flicking narrow loops down the anchored line, ultimately increasing their force (and using some body) to create a tight looped roll cast. This is the teaching method I have used here.

It’s an exploration. Bring a fly rod. Designed for you by Paul Arden.

KEY POINTS for Roll Casts.

  • Form a D-loop behind you.
  • Create a stationary anchor approximately 1/2 rod length off to your side.
  • Tilt (cant) the rod to one side so that the rod tip is above the anchor.
  • Make the forward cast using rod translation (key term “Drag“) followed by late rotation.
  • Lower the rod.

You MUST learn to form the D-loop (and cast) off both shoulders.


  • Slide the line across the surface to set up a Roll Cast.
  • Roll cast into the air
  • False Cast slipping line AFTER the stop on the forward cast and as the loop is unrolling
  • Shoot most of your line on the final Forward Cast.

Got a Roll Cast question? Try asking here on the Board:

Alternatively drop me an email: