Distance Fly Casting: An Unexpected Journey

Distance Fly Casting: An Unexpected Journey

Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 30 March 2016

20 years ago a well respected fly casting instructor told me, that casting 30meters (98feet) using a 5 or 6 wt. fly line would be very difficult. Looking back today I have to admit he was spot-on. Listening to him it became very hard to learn to hit 30PLUS meters.

The next ten years back then I was casting side by side with a large number of fly casting instructors. Only few of them were able to over-cast 30m consistantly. A few - yes - means TWO. ;)

It must have been about 25 years ago when I was bitten by the fly casting bug! Ever since I had a huge interest in all fly casting details. So I always tried to learn more about it and get better in my own fly casting either. Probably I have spent more than 10 000 hours fly casting on grass and even more time on water (during fly fishing). Most people would agree this to have been a huge amount of time (I think).

Still I remember just 8 years ago I set up a fly casting tournament on the German Fly Festival. Lots of well respected fly casting instructors and proper fly casters participated. Everyone was casting with the Mastery Expert Distance 5wt. longbelly fly line. In the end the winner hit 33meters (108feet). All other experts topped out between 29 and 32meters. The tournament was guided by Bart de Zwan and Lasse Karlsson. Of course both officially weren't allowed to participate though. Anyway it was Bart who hit 37,6meters in the very same day (same conditions) when all the other experts in the tournament topped out below 32meters (except the one winning cast).
No need to tell my goal what to learn about distance casting changed everytime I met someone casting further than me. Bart indeed gave me a HUGE drive to change (or better improve). Thanks a lot for that, mate!
Just some time after that tournament Bart told me to have met another fly casting instructor (Menno van Dam) who was able to beat him about some additional feet. So I offered a 2-instructor-fly-casting-course to my students together with Menno van Dam and of course casting distance was part of the whole journey after the lesson.

In the next year I met with Paul Arden, Michael Heritage and Lee Cummings for the first time. All three of them were great distance casters well ahead of most casters (in this kind of distance) at that time. Especially Paul was on the top of distance casting I had seen at that time. So Paul and I drunk a lot of gin at our first camp fire, which helped me to miss my plane on the next day. Due to have missed my plaine I had another week casting almost 24/7 side by side with Paul.

In 2012 I entered the world championchips in fly casting (Norway) for a first time. Fair to say there I was facing a level in 5wt. distance fly casting which I hadn't come across before. I think the best of the best distance experts have been in that tournament. What I learnt from watching Ronny Landin hitting 44meters (144feet) is that the one limit to what exactly a huge distance is, only exists in everyone's head. These limits vary significantly from instructor to instructor as far as I have experienced it!

Today I can't tell you how far it is possible to drive a fly by casting the 5wt. Expert Distance longbelly fly line. What I can tell you is, that my girl friend hit 36meters (118feet) just two days ago and I hit 42,5meters in the same day - having a serious tailwind that was.

Still (after 25 years) the journey of trying to improve my understanding of fly casting details and getting better in my own fly casting as well feels to just have begun. But I must admit that in the beginning I never would have expected this journey to take such a way. And it's exactly that why I needed more than 20 years to hit the same distance my girl friend hit after having started fly fishing just two years ago.

You think you know how far you can cast? I would make a bet you can learn to cast further in (almost) no time! Truly Sexyloops is a great place to exchange fly casting details and improve - not only, but especially - one's fly casting skills.

Sexy loops to all of you!

All my best

p.s.: Thanks a lot to all you fine fly casting enthusiasts who have helped me to improve!

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