Quick fix/Casting tip # 5 - Keyholes and swingsets
Summer is in full swing here and the fishing is getting tougher, especially during the heat of the day. The fish are often tight to the banks and tucked up under overhanging branches. Getting a fly to these fish can be a challenge. Takes some practice to consistently cast under and through these obstacles. The set up for practicing for these conditions is pretty simple. Throw a few targets under low-hanging branches in your yard and start casting. No trees in the yard? No problem. You can use just about anything. Put the target a couple of feet under your deck or porch. Put a target under your car bumper. I even use my kids' swing set.
Like most casting skills, it's crucial that you practice before you're actually on the water. There are always things to figure out with different casts and you don't want to waste valuable fishing time working your way through them. For example, when trying to shoot a loop under an overhanging branch or through a "keyhole" opening in the foliage, make the cast with your hauling hand and take the rod hand out of it as much as possible. I find the rod hand often "over casts" the rod on the delivery and opens the loop a bit. Not what you want when trying to shoot the loop through a narrow slot. So let the rod hand guide the rod through the stroke, but use the haul to make the cast. Takes a while to get a good feel for this. I have been practicing these casts for a few weeks now and cannot exaggerate how much the practice has paid off. In a day of fishing, I might have to make dozens of casts like this, and I have been amazed at how easily I have been able to hit them just right while on the water. I am catching fish now that I would not have caught a year ago simply because I would not have been able to get the fly to them a year ago. Which I guess is the whole point.