November 12, 2012
Some Solutions to Fly-Casting in the Wind
By John Merwin
Sometimes when fly-casting in the wind, I can do some really dumb things. Whether it’s on a bonefish flat, as in the photo, or on a trout stream, I can usually handle the wind okay. At other times, experience and judgment seem to vanish. I am suddenly way off target, or worse, wind up hooking myself.
In a wind crossing my rod-hand side, I would normally cast the rod to the left so the wind will blow the unrolling line away from my body instead of hitting me on the right side. But once on a local trout river I took a chance and paid the price.
I was dry-fly fishing in a breeze. Casting normally, I was getting away with fairly short casts despite the wind from my rod-hand side. So even knowing the risk, I attempted a much longer cast toward a distant trout.
Wrong idea. As I extended line, the increased line took a bit longer to travel past my body. That gave the wind enough time to blow it against me, and I wound up with a size 18 Griffiths gnat embedded in my back. It took a healthy martini and a lot of explaining to my wife as to how to yank out a hook using a loop of line before everything was resolved.
Casting into a headwind is another common problem. One good tip is to not shoot any line on the final cast. Shooting line robs the unrolling loop of some momentum, which allows a headwind to kill the cast. Shortening your tippet can also help, as will using a weighted fly.
Casting in the wind is a ubiquitous puzzle. Now you’ve read most of my solutions, what are some of yours?