fly casting & fishing tips

Big tarpon caught on the fly rod

A week ago I attend­ed the Wom­en’s Fly Cast­ing Clin­ic where I caught some new fly cast­ing & fish­ing tips. The clin­ic was spon­sored by Cape Cod Trout Unlim­it­ed and Oster­ville Anglers Club. Orvis Fly Cast­ing Instruc­tor Chris Kodor­da con­duct­ed the clinic.

The clin­ic was well attend­ed with fif­teen women of var­i­ous cast­ing abil­i­ties tak­ing part. 

For me, much of the clin­ic was con­fir­ma­tion. As my post from ear­ly April states, it’s all about the fly line! You can spend hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, of dol­lars on a fly rod and reel. And the truth be told, one of my favorite fly fish­ing rods comes with a $1275 price tag. Sad­ly, I don’t actu­al­ly own this very expen­sive fish­ing rod, my client does. I just get lucky enough to cast it once or twice a trip.

Same for the reel. If you are fly fish­ing for big game off­shore, get the right reel for the job. How­ev­er, if you are striper fish­ing, pur­chase a mod­er­ate­ly priced reel that is light weight, as you will be cast­ing that rod a lot and the weight of the reel takes its toll on your cast­ing arm.

But back to the casting clinic…and fly casting & fishing tips…

I think the most inter­est­ing part of the clin­ic for me was Chris’ demon­stra­tion for “fight­ing” a fish. I’m a teach by demon­stra­tion instruc­tor and learn by doing. Chris artic­u­lat­ed the pow­er of a fish­ing rod in var­i­ous angles. Sim­ply put, pulling straight up on the rod is not only the least pow­er­ful way to catch a fish, but also it often just pulls the fly right out of the fish­es mouth.

Hold­ing the rod at a low angle (as well as heed­ing the guide’s instruc­tions) was instru­men­tal in bring­ing this 100+ lb. tar­pon to the boat in short order.

The best way to “fight” a fish is to pull the rod side­ways, at a low angle, against the direc­tion of that the fish is pulling/traveling. This has always been instinc­tive for me, but now I can share the knowl­edge with my clients. Also, when fish­ing for stripers, a strip strike is essen­tial. A strip strike is when you pull on the line to set the hook. In actu­al­i­ty, it’s both a strip strike and a rod strike. I’m not a trout fish­er­man, so it’s fair to say that I don’t total­ly under­stand the cor­rect strike for riv­er fishing.

A safe way to store your fly rods

Final­ly, I was asked how I store rods on my cen­ter con­sole. My boat is designed for fly fish­ing with recessed deck hard­ware (cleats & nav­i­ga­tion lights), and fan­tas­tic under gun­nel rod stor­age. How­ev­er, the rods that are “in use” are stored as shown in the pic­ture above. 

I use the suc­tion cup fly rod hold­ers made by I FLY, how­ev­er, I nev­er close the “cuffs”. I find that sim­ply insert­ing the rod butts into the hold­ers and strap­ping the upper part of the fly rod with a leader friend­ly vel­cro ties pro­vides sol­id hold­ing pow­er (even in gusty winds) and easy access.

Take a look around your own boat and see if you can find a safe and acces­si­ble spot for your fly rods. T‑tops usu­al­ly rule out the con­sole area, but offer oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties for secur­ing your fly rod.