Fly fisherman casting into the wind

Fly Fishing: How to Cast on Windy Days

Legendary Whitetails 3.15.2017

Even the most amateur fly fisher can cast well on a day where the wind is still, but it is how you deal with the blustery days that separates the beginners from the champions. Shooting the breeze isn’t as easy as it seems. Fly fishing is all about mobility and that mobility is severely compromised by even a moderate breeze. It’s difficult enough to get a fish on the line with no wind, now try to catch one when the line is blowing all over the place. For the fly fisher, when the wind kicks up, you need to learn how to kick back.

Tighter Loops and Higher Line Speed

This is the number one tip for when the wind is coming right at you. Instead of using bigger loops, tighten everything up. This reduces the amount of line there is, thus reducing how much is affected by the wind. A tighter loop will also increase the speed at which the line is unraveling which will help it punch through most breezes.

The Belgian Cast

Tight loops are pretty effective if the wind is coming at you, but what if it is not blowing directly at you. In those situations, it is best to try the Belgian Cast, also known as the Torrie Mellow Cast, to get the fly in the zone. This cast is simple after a bit of practicing. All you need to do is make your back cast from the side and low to the water while your forward cast is over your head in the traditional fashion.

By adjusting the cast plane between your back and forward casts, it keeps the fly away from you and it ends up easier to control. This casting method is particularly effective when the wind is blowing onto your casting side as it can actually aid in your control.

fly fishing angler makes cast while standing in water

Don’t Shoot the Line into the Wind

If you have the wind to your back, you might think it is a major bonus, but even though it may sound strange, a stiff back breeze can be tough to deal with. When you shoot line into the wind, your rod unloads and you have little control of it. It is at the wind’s mercy now. If you have ever tried it, then you will notice that by your final cast, the line ends up in a pile after being knocked down by the wind.

The best option is to not shoot the line, but rather stay connected to the rod. This allows the rod to remain loaded throughout the casting stroke so the fly can turn over.

Skip the False Cast

False casting is an utter disaster in the event of wind. If you want to pick up more speed, it is best to just stick with tighter loops. If you were trying to load the rod with false casts and the wind isn’t directly behind you, it may be better to use water tension instead.

As you cast out, let the line settle out straight on the water’s surface, and then on your back cast smoothly pick your line off the water. The water tension you gather will allow the rod to load before any other forces (namely wind) have a chance to affect it.

The Triple Haul

This final technique is one that is for the advanced fly fishermen out there. If you are trying to punch a cast into the wind, but the fly isn’t turning over, the Triple Haul may be just the technique you need.

On the forward cast after you finished the haul, haul a third time at the end of the cast. This adds more energy into the system allowing the fly to turn over or even dive right into the water. It is a tricky method to master, but an effective one.


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