Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

And Relax

Ok, let’s talk about something I do know about. Distance. Alright I might not know as much as you but I know enough to have to have worked out one or two things that might help you gain an extra foot or two. Last weekend I was lucky enough to have a couple of quite proficient casters who wanted to gain a bit of distance and consistency. I explained to them that I wanted them to concentrate on relaxed casting and minimum effort. I think that once you have learned the mechanics and are a quite reasonable caster there are two ways to go if you want to cast further, number one seems to come naturally for most of us, more effort, try harder, keep repeating the same thing over and over in the hope it comes right in the end. The other is to concentrate on ways to maximise what you are already doing. Let’s face it, if you are hitting the ton on a regular basis you have more than a sound grasp of the mechanics. Now you need to start using your brain, try a few different things. The first thing I suggest you try is relaxation.  Relaxed casting allows several things to happen. You stop dominating the rod and start to work with it instead of against it. You don’t shock the rod or force it. When I started to use a very relaxed grip I had a problem I didn’t, at first, understand. My forward cast would sometimes be several degrees to the left of where I was aiming and over a cycle of half a dozen false casts I would end up casting nearly 90deg to the left of where I had started from. Initially I just put it down to the wind or something. It finally dawned on me that because of my relaxed grip the line in the air was acting as the guide for my forward cast so if my backcast tracked a few degrees to my right, which is a common fault, the tip tracked a true 180deg to that on the forward cast and consequently I was gradually spinning on the spot. A simple fix was just to straighten my backcast. I also started to take a lot more care with my backcast, no more bouncing bomb, I wanted smooth and slow. Like a lot of things in life preparation is paramount and the back cast set up is vital to maximise potential distance. One thing that really good distance casters do is watch their back cast. I know some of you have a problem with that but get over it, open your stance a bit. You are looking for the perfect set up, and you will keep false casting until you achieve it. Once you see that the line is straight and the loop is going to turn over smoothly you prepare to hit it, you DO NOT have another false cast ‘just to make sure’. My back casts are powered just enough to do the job. I do not want the loop to turn over with a thump, I am not looking for any sort of pre-load, in fact I drift the rod back, once I have decided that this is the one to hit, to not only open my casting angle but dampen any potential turn over shock. Lefty Kreh says you are not casting a fly line until the end of the line is moving, which is the equivalent of Bill Gammels removal of slack Essential, and he is so right. I want to acquire the full weight of the line the instant I start my forward stroke, not to be half way through my stroke before I find it. I find it so much easier to do all this with a nice relaxed style rather than using brute strength.

 And it works. At the end of the lesson we had a quick shootout……and I didn’t win! Lee was so bloody relaxed he threw a near 120′ to add several feet to his PB and blow me away in the process. I got quite tense after that.


September 16, 2010 - Posted by | Distance casting, fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage


  1. Oi Geezer, don’t forget who supplied Lee with the rod & line eh!eh!

    Comment by Roger | September 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. loads of valuable comments and instruction. I really enjoyed the session plenty of good advise.It all about relaxed.

    great post.

    Comment by lee | September 24, 2010 | Reply

  3. Excellent piece Mike, I love it when you put your thinking cap on!

    Comment by Mike Barrio | September 29, 2010 | Reply

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