Fly presentation is everything in bonefishing.
These are among some of the smartest, stealthiest fish that you’ll ever come across. Moreover, big bones don’t reach their impressive sizes by being willing to fall for anything. Mastering your back cast is a large part of making a good fly presentation. Good back casting, however, is one of the most challenging things to consistently do on the perpetually windy flats. This means that even seasoned fishers can make serious mistakes in this area. Following are four, common backcasting mistakes along with tips for avoiding them.
1. Poor Setup
Your back cast serves as the foundation for your forward cast in a standard forward presentation. If you don’t set things up right, your follow-through is going to fall short. One of the major problems in this area is having an inefficient, narrow loop. In a true back cast, this is something that can actually be to the fisher’s benefit, if he gets as much line speed as he possibly can on the forward cast and maintains a very tight loop. This, however, is going to be far less effective if the fly is heavily weighted. To improve your set up, extend your arm fully on the back cast presentation. This is going to give you sufficient power for rolling over the loop, turning the leader over and getting the flight laid out straight. It’s also going to dramatically improve your odds of nabbing a bosnefish.
2. Weak Hauls
Compare your haul on a forward cast to one that’s made on a back cast. In most cases, you’ll find that your haul on a back cast is significantly weaker. To avoid this problem, make your hauls fast and strategically timed on your back casts. The length of your haul should reflect your desired casting distance. Also, try to avoid chest casting. Don’t bring your casting arm across your chest. This is going to limit your ability build power given that your stroke length will be restricted by your chest. Accuracy and a decent line speed are of the utmost importance in bonefishing and you’ll wind up restricting both of these things by chest casting.
3. Forgetting the Forward Cast
As with all aspects of bone fishing, there’s a lot to remember with back casting. Keep this in mind as you practice casting ahead of your trip. This is definitely a skill worth going over in advance given that each motion will become intuitive after a sufficient number of drills. One thing that you don’t want to forget is your forward cast. It’s common for fishers to place so much focus on mastering their back casts that their timing for their front casts is off. Your back cast presentation should not start until the loop for your forward cast has unrolled all the way. If you use your entire casting arc for your back cast, the rod will start to bend as the line tightens.
4. Not Keeping an Eye on Your Target
Above all things, be sure to pay attention to what your fish is doing while you go through the motions of back casting. During your back cast presentation, you’ll be 180 degrees away from your target. You can swivel your head easier to follow the fish and his movements by opening your stance and turning your body slightly to the side. Keep in mind, however, that turning to the side could cause you to break off of a straight line path with your rod.