Video Pro Tips: There’s No “Right” Style of Fly Casting

Here’s an important video in Orvis casting instructor Pete Kutzer’s series on getting started in fly fishing. Pete discusses one of the more contentious subjects in fly casting: whether or not there’s a “right” way to do it. Some folks will say, “You need to lock your wrist,” while others will maintain that a little wrist is necessary. And so on.

But as Pete says, at the heart of any fly cast is a basic, simple thing: the rod must move and then stop. If you can accomplish smooth acceleration to a hard stop, then you can cast a fly rod, no matter what your wrist is doing. (But don’t try Pete’s behind-the-back trick on the water.)

If you’d like an in-depth analysis on this subject, check out the article “FLY CASTING: Substance & Style” by Al Kyte & Gary Moran. Published in the 1990s, this study looked at elite fly casters such as Lefty Kreh, Mel Krieger, Steve Rajeff, and Joan Wulff to see how their casting form differed. What Kyte and Moran discovered was that there are many ways to achieve the same goal.

7 thoughts on “Video Pro Tips: There’s No “Right” Style of Fly Casting”

  1. Great tips!! So many professed techniques out there on how to cast it gets confusing. As usual you make great sense and simplify the cast. Thanks!

  2. My statistics professor in college used to say “there’s lots of ways to skin that cat”. (I never skinned any cats so I’ll have to take his word for it.) Thanks Pete for breaking it down to the just the basics. When I’m showing a newbie how to cast, getting them to stop and pause on the backcast seems to be the hardest thing to get across, that and “feeling” the rod load before the forward cast. I’ll try to get them to focus more on the result of the cast, i.e., getting a fly in front of the fish, and let them figure out the best way to do it.

  3. If you use only your wrist to cast, then after a day of casting it may become sore. Larger muscles can do more work longer. The new rods are also lighter so take less effort to make a cast.

    I try to use both my body (balance), arm, and wrist casting. My biggest problem is after a week of fishing my thumb is sore because I think I grip the rod too tight.

  4. You can even cast with no arm motion, entirely from the hips. This is especially true with Spey casts. Yet, I’ve never heard anybody talk about the lower body in any video. They only time this ever came up in my experience was watching Nobu at a Spey clave when he said “It’s like throwing a hook,” and really put his hips into it.

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