Unlike casting to holding trout in a stream the saltwater cast presents different challenges. In saltwater your target fish is always on the move. If fish are not moving something is going to eat them. This reality sets the stage for the challenges of saltwater casting in delivering the fly quickly, accurately, and with stealth to a moving target. Can you deliver a fly to a fish at 60 feet with three or fewer false casts?


When casting from the bow of the boat line preparation is key. When you first step up on the bow make a clearing cast to a distance you will likely be casting. This is not an attempt to make your furthest hero cast. This cast allows the line and leader to stretch and straighten removing the coiling that comes from reel storage. This will also allow the guide to assess your casting ability.


Carefully retrieve the line and stack in an orderly fashion with the line closest to the rod on the bottom. Now when you cast the line shooting comes off first from the top of the stack. Place the line stack in front of you or on the side of the casting arm. If there is too much wind for stacking then place the line in the cockpit to keep it from blowing off the bow. Leave about 15 feet of line in addition to leader beyond the rod tip. This should be adequate to load the rod. With the line hand hold the fly at the bend of the hook point up to prevent the unpleasant sticking of a finger. Anglers often cast barefoot or in socks to feel a stepped on line. Stepping on the line will not help that special chance to cast to a permit.


Begin the forward cast with a roll pick-up and follow with a back cast haul. If there is a headwind, bring the line hand holding the fly under and to the side of the rod hand and begin a back cast. Follow this movement with a haul on the forward cast. Along with a smooth haul, try shooting line on the forward and back casts. Work towards presenting the fly to the fish at 60 feet with at most three false casts. Keep your eyes off the fish when casting. Consider making an “O” with your line hand index finger and thumb with the presentation cast. This gives you immediate line control should a fish take your fly as it lands.

DNF