Practice Update

As I mentioned a few posts ago, tuning up my back cast lead to some further savings in effort – going both ways. My standard practice regime has since been changed to include minimum effort and also back cast delivery drills which have helped cement in these recent improvements.  The page on Fly Casting Practice has been amended to incorporate the changes. Here they are the in a bit more detail.

Minimal Effort Casting Drill

This is now how I often begin and sometimes end, a practice session. Beginning with it sets the tone and ending with it reinforces that tone as the new normal.

Start with a short length of fly line out, say 5-10 feet plus leader which is around 10 feet long for my usual practice set up. Make gentle, short strokes both ways, while making sure the loops are kept tidy – narrow, in the same plane and pretty much parallel. 

See if you can reduce effort enough to make the cast fail – incomplete turnover. Trust me, it’s not easy until you get a fair bit of line out. No hauling or shooting is allowed at this stage. Try to make slow, easy movements, finishing with soft or hard stops but soft is probably more in the mood.

Gradually, extend the cast until to you get to medium distance or longer as you wish. The idea, obviously, is to remind us just how little effort is needed. That’s the groove you want to stay in for most overhead (and side) casts.

As a variation and reinforcement try making PUALDs both ways – one back and then one forwards. Then make a single false cast in one direction before making a delivery in the other. I do this in one delivery direction at a time.

Extend distance and the length of the stroke but keep the same effortless, smooth and soft stop stroke. Keep the stops high and the loops narrow.  When it becomes necessary to haul in order to preserve low effort casting I do that but until then I try not to haul. How far can you go? I’ve gotten out to 80’ both ways and will be looking to extend that.

This is also how I often finish up, coming in shorter again and maybe sneaking out to medium distance.

Accuracy Casts in Both Directions

To reinforce the improved back casting I deliver, to targets, off that cast as well as the forward cast. For this exercise I add hauls and false casts back in, one at a time. When things are going well I might shoot line for the longer range targets.

Timing of Drills

When I started the new regime each drill/exercise was timed using my cell phone. These days I rarely use the phone, not because I’ve given up on time management but because I don’t really need it now. A drill is performed and when all seems in order it is time to move on. Overall the sessions range from 45 to 60 minutes.


The particular purpose(s) to which each session is dedicated changes but always with the resolve to never practice without at least one clear, conscious purpose. Good practice is intentional.