Throwing Darts: Fly Casting Accuracy
“Drive for Show, Putt for Dough” is a common phrase used in golf. This statement basically means that, while it’s impressive to watch golfers drive the gold ball great distances, the short game is what wins matches. The same principal applies to fly casting. Long casts are fun to watch (and we all should work on our distance game), but getting the fly to the target is what catches fish.
Accuracy is not as sexy as distance casting, which explains why many are fixated on distance. Attend any fly fishing show with a casting pond and see for yourself, almost everyone test casting a rod is trying to launch the line to the other side of the pond, but few spend time seeing how the rod performs at short distances. Distance is a must for many fresh and saltwater scenarios, but most of my fishing is focused on trout, and rarely do I need to cast more than 35 feet. For years I was guilty of this “Drive for Show” mentality, but I began to work on accuracy, my short game. I decided to switch up my casting stance, and I began, haltingly at first, to try to “throw darts” with my fly rod.
Casting style and stance is personal preference. Most of the great casters I’ve seen have their own unique casting style. However, one tip I’ve found helpful for the short, accurate cast, is to place the casting hand in front of your face with either the index finger or thumb placed on top of the rod grip. Position your rod hand just as you would if you were throwing darts. Now, draw a straight line from your eyes to the target (line of sight), and accelerate the tip (following the path) towards the target.
I prefer the index finger on top grip as it allows me to track smoothly down my line of sight to the target. Drift your hand towards the target and stab it with your index finger. The finger directs the path of the rod tip, which delivers the fly. This is not a casting stance designed to create speed and power for distance. This is a cast for short range precision, but one that requires an exacting presentation. Next time you find yourself missing the mark with your cast-try throwing darts, and you’ll begin to hit your mark.