Q I am new to fly fishing and am looking to improve my fly casting. and I am fairly good at about 50 feet, even in a good wind. I can cast one-handed to 50 feet with good, tight loops. This distance seems to do well for me for marsh fishing for reds and speckled trout, but I want to be able to cast to 100 feet with little effort. Is it possible to do so with my Orvis Clearwater 9-foot, 8-weight Mid Flex 6.6 rod and 8-weight Scientific Anglers Bass taper line, or do I need to upgrade to get longer casts?Your problem is one that most fairly good fly casters are faced with. They can cast well to about 50 feet, but when they try to extend well beyond that distance, they fail. The problem is that invariably, the caster destroys his loop on the final cast by applying too much force over too long a distance at the end of the cast. Remember, the only thing that makes your line go faster (which means it will travel farther before the loop opens) is how fast you speed up and stop the tip at the end of the cast - commonly referred to incorrectly as the power stroke. It is not power that makes your line go faster; it's how much speed occurs during the final moment of the stroke, coupled with an abrupt stop.If you know how to double haul, you can measurably increase your distance by doing the following. All you do when you haul on the line is cause the tip to flex. Almost all good casters double on the line at the same speed for every cast. A good caster should realize that the double haul is like a gear shift. When you need more speed, haul not longer, but faster - which in turn will accelerate the rod tip faster. Instead, almost all casters try to develop the extra energy for a long cast with the rod hand. Instead, the rod hand should control the loop and direction, and the line hand should be responsible for the speed of the cast.If you want to increase your distance, try this. Make two false casts, noticing that you are controlling the loop nicely. Make an identical false cast, but haul much faster. Caution: When you initially haul faster, there is a tendency to also increase the power of the rod hand. Just make the nice false cast that allows you to make a well-formed loop and haul faster. This will add yards to your cast.And, James, the fly rod and line you describe are excellent. If you follow these suggestions, the equipment is certainly capable of letting you reach 100 feet.HAVE A QUESTION FOR LEFTY?
Questions in this column are selected on the basis of general interest. The number of questions submitted is too great to permit publication of all of them or for Lefty Kreh to respond individually to each correspondent.