Samuel A. Minick

When a fly caster’s back is literally against the wall, and the trout are rising, he has two options. One is the roll cast, but the maneuver can be splashy, and not always accurate. The second is the steeple cast, so named because the rod tip lifts the line straight to the sky–like a church steeple. At short ranges, the steeple cast is easy to do and the angler’s best bet for making accurate presentations.

1. Get a grip. Your biggest risk for fouling up a steeple cast is overcocking your wrist on the back cast. To avoid that, straighten your index finger along the top of your grip (a). As you lift your cast, point your finger at the sky.

2. Load the rod low. In tight spaces, use the water surface to create line tension and load the rod. Start the back cast with your rod tip pointed at the water (b), and the line fairly taut.

3. Adjust the clock. The classic fly cast is often described as moving the rod tip between 10 and 2 o’clock. With a steeple, the back cast is an “up cast” that stops at 12 o’clock (c). Wait for the line to extend above the rod tip before you stroke forward, or the line will be impossible to shoot.

4. Point your shot. Finish the cast at 3 or 4 o’clock (d) with a gentle flick, pointing your index finger at the spot where you want your fly to drop.