Video Pro Tip: How to Make a Bow-and-Arrow Cast

Written by: Peter Kutzer, Orvis Fly Fishing Schools

The bow-and-arrow cast is an advanced, specialized cast for very specific angling situations. But just because a a cast is labeled “advanced” doesn’t mean that it’s difficult to master. The bow-and-arrow cast is for when you are fishing in very tight quarters, where you have no room for a backcast, or for delivering a fly through a small window of space—say, between two tree branches. Those of us who love fishing for brook trout on tiny mountain streams often find ourselves surrounded by trees or bushes that make traditional casting impossible. The bow-and-arrow cast is sometimes the only way to get the fly to the fish. But the cast also has applications for warmwater anglers who have casting obstructions behind them, or even in saltwater for fishermen dealing with thick mangroves.

The key to a good bow-and-arrow cast, as you’ll see, is where you grasp the line. Once you’ve got that nailed down, it’s just a matter of point and shoot. So practice this useful cast, and you’ll find that it comes in handy.

4 thoughts on “Video Pro Tip: How to Make a Bow-and-Arrow Cast”

  1. Hi Peter, great video, it taught me a lot about a bow and arrow cast that I didnt know, even though i catch a lot of fish with it in New Zealand. I’ve always made the cast holding the fly rather than the fly line which limits the range of the cast. I’m going to test your technique in my swimming pool shortly.

    There are a couple of points you might like to consider to make this cast even more accurate. I get the leader and the rod in the same vertical plane, which makes the cast exceptionally accurate. The other is I seem to be far more accurate when i am holding the reel upside down and the fly directly above it than when i am holding the rod the right way up.


  2. Pingback: Tippets: BTT’s Bonefish Genetics Program, Fishing from a Boat, Bow and Arrow Cast | MidCurrent
  3. I do this cast similiar to you Pete similar except I also hold the fly and however, many large loops I need in my hand. Carrying the loops in your hand rather than leaving the fly line on the ground prevents the line from hanging up on small sticks or high grass at your feet.

    I practice this cast as I do all of my casts. I belong to a casting club and we have circular targets at 10′ intervals out to 60′. It is very helpful regardless of what cast you are practicing is to use targets. Earlier this year my practice with this cast rewarded me with a nice brown on a clear spring creek that could not be reached any other way. I had a 10′ bush behind me and an 4-5′ opening between two high bushes on either side of me. I was on a two foot high bank above the water with high grass at my feet. I was able to determine the amount of line I needed to lead the fish about 20-25′ and presented the fly one foot above the trout and 6″ to the right. All he saw was fly and tippet, when the fly landed he turned away but without hesitation he did a full circle and accelerated to grab the fly. Very exciting! By the way you should never attempt this cast without wearing your lucky Orvis hat.

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