When fishing the salt water flats from a boat or wading, the wind presents a challenge to your casting abilities. A few casting principles or tricks to overcome the wind may help to guide your fly with greater ease and accuracy. Time spent practicing the following suggestions will make your next trip to the flats more fruitful.
I term the main principles to successful casting into the wind “the three L’s." These include line trajectory, loop size, and line speed. Now repeat these and memorize them! The objective of the three L’s is to launch your line and fly to the target as quickly and accurately as possible. These principles improve the chances that your fly line and fly stay on track. Aim to take the shortest path from A to B. Directing the line is where previous work on distance casting will translate into an effective wind cast. If you can cast 80 feet without wind, then a 50 foot cast into a 15 knot wind is doable.
When challenged with a headwind, you should direct the forward cast with a downward trajectory. A straight level cast or one directed upward may blow the fly and line back into you. Try a slightly downward angled cast to deflect some of the wind’s resistance. Remember the 180 degree rule for casting, so adjust your trajectory to have a higher back cast to accommodate a lower forward cast.
Loop size is crucial with all wind casts, especially a headwind. A tight loop is more aerodynamic and efficient to direct the energized line forward rather than wasting energy with a wide loop. Direct your attention towards maintaining a straight line path with your rod tip.
Proper line speed is also valuable to combat wind. These challenging conditions will pay dividends for practicing an effective hauling technique beforehand.
Finally, remember the proper tackle. It’s great fun to battle with a bonefish with a six weight rod, but with wind you may need to move up a weight or two. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.