Based on what you see when folks are trying out new fly rods at a consumer show, you might believe that fly-fishing requires super-long casts all the time, but that’s simply not true. Sometimes, the fish are quite close to you or the boat, and you have to make a quick and short cast. For instance, when you’re fishing up one of the mountain trout steams we have here in Vermont, you rarely have more than a couple feet of fly line out beyond your tip top guide.
One of the keys to making a good short cast is actually counterintuitive: to load the rod, you have to make a slightly more aggressive “flick” or “pop” on the forward cast than you would if you were casting more line. Second, a shorter, more compact casting stroke will help get the line to roll out. Finally, make sure you’ve got a nicely tapered leader tailored to the fly you’re using. Put all these steps together, and you’ll find that short casts are a breeze.