One of the best ways to improve your forward cast is by working on your backcast. In fact, this is also the best way to perfect your overall fly fishing skills. This cast happens directly behind you and you’ll be walking backwards while you do it. Practice will give you a good feel for the necessary movements, but the three tips that follow will help you avoid common mistakes as you engage in an activity that you can’t actually see yourself perform.
1. Don’t describe a horizontal arc with the tip of your rod.
When you start the backcast, your line should be in front of you and pointing at the water. Starting with the line horizontal to the water will decrease the kinetic energy in this movement by as much as half and could cause you to create the dreaded horizontal arc that commonly results in loose loops and an all-around clumsy movement. Tighten the line by raising your forearm and lifting the tip of the rod. Let your forearm draw the rod backward and keep the wrist fixed in a bent position. Keeping the wrist loose will give the rod a flick that will direct the line at a downward angle. Just before the top of this backward movement, turn the rod over to create a tight loop and load the fishing rod.
2. Take a pause at the top of the movement.
Your fishing line will release once the rod is at the top of the back cast. Rather than bringing the line immediately forward, take a moment to ensure that the line is straight. The rod should be just behind your shoulder when you pause and the tip of the rod should be pointing straight up. This position allows the kinetic energy to load, which will in turn cause the rod to flex and build speed that is relative to the available energy. Diving right into the next movement before the line is ready will keep it from properly unfolding by limiting the available force.
3. Maintain a tight loop.
The fly fishing line should remain tight throughout your cast as this is essential for maintaining control. With both backward and forward casts, you should always have tight loops. Remember, a loose wrist and a horizontal arc at the start of the cast will diminish both accuracy and control. As practice gives you a better understanding of the necessary motions and speed, you can start working on your high backcast. This cast will help you avoid obstacles that are directly behind you.