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How To: Roll Casting

What is a roll cast?

Roll casting is a very effective cast especially fishing rivers and streams. It is one of many types of casts that should be in every fly-fisherman’s cast book. The name says it all. A roll cast involves your fly line rolling out over itself as it lands on the water. It is a very simple cast that prevents your line from going behind you like a normal back cast. A roll cast can be done from side to side if you’re fishing on the side of a river, or overhead if you’re fishing upstream or fishing a lake. The roll cast can provide you with a nice, gentle cast that will not spook the most wary fish.

How does it work?

  1. The tension in your line is what gives your roll cast power. The tension will load the power in your rod and give you the best cast possible. Make sure your line stays in contact with the water before you start your cast.
  2. Bring your rod back at a slight angle to prevent the line from hitting you in the face. Your fly line will always follow the path of your rod tip. Slowly bring your rod up into your back cast while keeping tension on the water.
  3. Hold for a second taking note of the tension in your line. After your brief pause, move your rod forward at your target.
  4. Make a hard, forward cast like you would a normal cast and the fly line will roll out in front of you as your fly lands on the water. Be sure to hold the excess fly line in your off hand to maintain water tension.

This video shows a great step by step demonstration of the roll cast:

When would I use a roll cast?

The roll cast is great cast that can be used when a back cast is not possible. Obstacles such as trees, bushes, rocks, or other obstacles may require you to perform a roll cast. Roll casting will maximize your time casting on the water and minimize your time untangling your fly line from branches. While you may not need to use a roll cast all the time is its on that is very important to know when you’re fishing a tough, crowded spot. Roll casting is also effective when there is a strong wind at your back, or if you need to reset your fly quickly.

To sum it all up

As with most things in life, the best way to learn is to practice, practice, practice. In this case, the best place to practice roll casting is on the water. It is very important to keep tension on your line, and grass does not work nearly as well as water. The roll cast is the perfect cast to get you out of those hard to cast places and continue to enhance your enjoyment for fly-fishing.

Good Luck and Happy Fly Fishing!

Have any further questions or want to know more about roll casting? Let me know down in the comments!


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