Fly Casting, Big Flies for Big Trout
During the months of March, April, May and June trout fishing can be fantastic. But during this time of year what hatches are we looking for, and will they move big fish to feed on them? Whether it is Hendrickson's, Sulphurs, Blue Wing Olives, or Caddis. The only way big fish get motivated to feed on these smaller bugs if they are hatching in sufficient numbers. However even the best of hatches are only an hour or two in duration. How do we catch big fish during the rest of our fishing trip? Those of you that have fished with Hawkins Outfitters know the answer-- We throw BIG streamers into likely water trying to fool the big ones. Every year we catch larger fish on average by fishing streamers down deep where the big fish are most likely to hide. Remember big fish like big flies!
How do we get our fly to the big trout we are after? We load our fly rods with sinking lines. Find yourself a 6, 7, or 8 weight (yes 8 weight these Trout are BIG), and load it with a 200-300 grain density compensated sinktip. Now how do you cast heavily weighted flies and sinking lines safely and accurately with a minimum of effort? The most common mistake I see when casting weighted flies, split shot, or sinking lines is the anglers do not wait long enough for the line to unroll on the back cast before starting forward. The caster needs to wait until they feel the definite tug on the rod tip as the cast has to be very smooth and should be finished with a haul to increase your line speed. This is the method we use in a drift boat with two anglers to avoid accidents with flying weighted hooks.
If we only have one angler in the boat or if we are out of the boat and have plenty of room to cast I prefer to teach people the Roll Cast combined with the Elliptical Cast. To cast a heavy line or fly safely and easily follow these steps. First retrieve your line to the beginning of the sinking portion or to a reasonable length if your using a heavy fly and floating line. Then roll cast the line up to the surface so that you don't over load your rod when trying to lift the line out of the water to make a backcast. If you roll cast your line up to the surface the second it hits the water you can start your backcast with everything close to the surface. Make your backcast with a very big loop in almost a sidearm fashion. Lefty Kreh describes the backcast motion as pulling the rod tip around a vertical horseshoe. What you are trying to do is to throw a wide loop softly so that it will not jerk and shock the rod tip at the end of the backcast. You want the line to straighten out smoothly in preparation of your forward stroke. The forward cast is made on a different plane than the backcast and in the normal manner. Be careful to make a smooth forward stroke to prevent opening up your loop and throwing shock waves in your line. If you need extra distance a smooth haul at the end of your forward stroke will shoot an amazing amount of line.
To sum it up, if you want a chance at a better than average fish you need to be able to fish with weight. Whether you are fishing with heavy flies or lines here in Michigan, pursuing stripers in Maine, or many other fishing opportunities around the world, the properly prepared fly angler needs to comfortably and effectively handle weight. Just remember roll cast your line to the surface so that you can make a gentle backcast. Make a slow wide loop on a different plane from your forward cast, never false cast, and make a smooth forward cast.