Friday, June 29, 2012

Casting Weighted Flies

Bob Clouser fly fishing for smallmouth bass. Photo by Cathy & Barry Beck
Matt left me a comment asking me to post information on how to effectively cast weighted flies and  strike indicators.  Weighted flies, especially clousers can cause all sorts of casting problems including snagged hats and even damaged rods.  I fished with a buddy that actually broke his fancy graphite rod by hitting the shaft with a clouser.  The weight on the clouser slammed into the rod at a very high speed and shattered the blank.  I have read many stories of guys snagging their head/scalps, eyes, ears, legs etc.  When you are casting large weighted flies always wear a hat and glasses.  Safety first!

Bob Clouser is the Granddaddy of weighted flies, so it's only natural we use his techniques here on the Smallmouth Fly Box.  His book Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass is a book all smallmouth fisherman should own.  His other book, Clouser's Flies is another one that should be on every fly fisherman's shelf.  Well, Bob recommends an oval cast when casting weighted or large flies.  The oval cast is called many things - Belgium cast, elliptical cast....but we are going with the oval cast in this post.

The concept of the oval cast is detailed in the video below (towards the end).  The oval shape of the cast keeps the fly away from the line and allows it to roll nicely.  The cast is also performed to the side of your body which usually keeps you from getting hooked.

Here is an excerpt from Bob Clouser's book Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass:
"Many of the flies I use for smallmouth bass are either heavy of wind resistant.  When casting these flies, I most often use a special cast designed for weighted flies.  This cast is also useful for sinking-tip lines and shooting tapers.  Often called the Belgium, oval, or elliptical cast, the basic idea behind it is to smoothly pull the fly line, leader, and weighted fly around in an oval with a low but upward-moving backcast and a higher forward cast.  Unlike dry-fly casting, you want to keep your loops relatively wide--though not so wide that the cast is inefficient--and minimize false casting."
In the book Bob has a wonderful pictorial series on pages 107-112 that demonstrates this technique beautifully.  Between the video above and Bob's book you should be a casting pro in no time.

I hope this post has been helpful.  My next post is going to readdress leader construction.  I have tested many leader configurations and have settled on a tapered leader that works great for larger flies.  Best of luck to all of you and if you have additional questions or would like to post a comment please feel free to do so.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post. I was actually in the James catching smallies with a Clouser this morning. I think by default I've been using the oval cast instinctively. Being a big guy I think I try to over power my casts. I keep Lefty in mind while casting and try to think "unroll the line".