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Applying flicks
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

Up to now we have purely dealt with two types of cast: the overhead cast and the roll cast - every type of cast can be regarded as being one or the other, except the flickcast.

In order to understand what I mean by a flickcast I want to give you the following example:

  • with a fairly short length, say eight yards, of line outside the rod tip and lying directly in front make a lift as if you were going to perform a side-cast, but

  • as your rod tip draws level with your shoulder, swiftly sweep the rod tip under the flyline, stopping hard

  • the line will lift off the water a travel directly behind the caster - if it doesn't then not enough force has been applied to the stop

Another way to look at this cast is to draw a clockwise semicircle off the right shoulder (anticlockwise off the left) speeding up during the second half of the stroke.

Once a basic feel for this flick has been acquired the following should be noted:

  • The diameter of the drawn semicircle determines the width of the loop. The smaller the diameter; the narrower the loop.

  • Instead of drawing U-shape semicircles, you can draw V-shapes.

  • The line will travel diagonally opposite to the direction of the flick and therefore, can be used as change of direction for up to 90 degrees.

  • With shorter flick casts, it is possible to follow the loop around behind you with the tip of the rod, after the stop, in order to take out the slack line.

  • With really powerful forward stokes you can lift the entire flyline of the water and send virtually all of it behind you. Even with a weight forward. No other cast will do this.

  • This cast does not fit into either the roll cast or the overhead cast mould: with both of these casts the line travels in the same direction that the rod unbends; with the flick cast, the line travels in the opposite direction.

OK so why do you need this?

Boat fishing:

  • A fish rises just to upwind and to the side of the boat - you can catch fish appearing behind you, immediately without any complicated manoeuvres.

  • A fish rises to the right of you - same cast. So long as the change of angle is greater than 90 degrees this cast will work. You can take more line out of the cast by making a larger semicircular stroke.

River fishing:

You are on the dangle (true left, upstream wind in this example) and you want to put the fly upstream and across the current. Here's what to do:

  • Make you flickcast so that the line is lying directly upstream

  • Wait fractionally for the fly to drift downstream so that it will be positioned in line with the roll cast

  • Switch the line around the body with a half-moon dip

  • Hit the roll

  • Follow up with an overhead (if required)

Or perhaps you are fishing a small stream and have no room for any conventional cast. Try this:

  • Point the rod downstream and wiggle some line out through the tip ring until it is lying straight.

  • Make your flickcast upstream to the fish, and as the line is straightening gentle follow it around with the rod tip, to take out the slack

You can also use this cast downstream (assuming that you can get the line lying fairly straight in the upstream direction), but under these circumstances I would recommend not following the flyline with the rod tip to take out the slack, but rather using the slack line to your benefit.

Another circumstance springs to mind when I use this cast: it is when I have covered a lie in a river and now I find that all my line is racing downstream to some obstruction (such as a logjam). Here to get out of trouble just make your flickcast upstream, and all your line will neatly clear the water and come back to your feet.

Once a feel for this cast has been acquired, you will find yourself (like with hauling) feeding it into other casts. Such as the single-spey. Try this for example:

  • Make your lift

  • Make a small flickcast angled slightly downwards

  • Switch the rod tip around to the shoulder

  • Hit the roll

Well it looks sexy! And it has the advantage that the flyline tip can be placed very accurately when setting up for the roll.

Instead of casting the line off to the side of the body, it is possible to cast it into the body. I don't recommend this as it seems to me to be particularly foolhardy; but this is one method used for catching the fly.


NB: Although I have principally applied these techniques to the application of a single handed flyrod, they are all (with the exception of hauling) exactly the same casts one would use with a double handed rod.

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