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Page 163

False Casting

To get enough line out and into the air to reach your target, you must false cast, which means stroking the rod back and forth so the line loops through the air without touching down. To do this, lift your rod up sharply with your right hand (if you're right-handed) while holding the line hanging between the reel and the first rod guide with your left hand. When the line straightens out behind you, stroke the rod forward, letting some of the line in your left hand shoot through the guides, thus lengthening the amount of line in the air. When the line straightens out in front of you, stroke the rod back again. Pull more line off the reel during this back stroke if you need more line out to reach your target. You shouldn't need more than three to six strokes to get your fly where you want it. If you do, you're not letting out enough line with each stroke.

When false casting, imagine that the rod is a hand on a clock, with 12 o'clock being directly over your head. On your back cast, don't let your rod go past the 1 or 2 o'clock mark. Similarly, don't let the rod go past 10 or 11 o'clock on your forward cast. Turn your head to follow the movement of the rod behind you; what may feel like 1 o'clock may be closer to 3 o'clock. If you feel the rod help you on your backward and forward casts, as its flexing action works along with your strokes, you're doing it properly.

One way to help you limit your casts to those angles is to keep your wrist locked. If you bend your wrist backward, the rod will dip way past 1 o'clock on the back cast and 11 o'clock on the forward. (Some anglers even go so far as to strap the butt of their rod to their wrist to prevent bending it.) Let your forearm pivot at the elbow to move the rod backward. On the forward cast, punch the rod forward, moving your forearm ahead to get more power into the stroke, much like hammering a nail into a wall. You need that extra power to move that slack line in your left hand through the guides and into the air.

Now for the timing: When working the rod, you'll notice that the leader will curl above the line as you end each stroke. Let the leader uncurl and straighten out just when you begin the next cast. This happens in an instant, and requires some coordination and a bit of a feel for when to actually begin the stroke. if you begin the stroke too early, before the leader has a chance to uncurl, you'll snap the line like a whip. This reduces casting efficiency and may actually pop the fly off your tippet. If you begin the

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