Why Casting Downstream is Important

casting downstream
“You need to be casting downstream”. As guides, we say it all day long. This is very important when fly fishing from a drift boat. Why do we say it? Because casting downstream sets the stage for everything that comes next.

Casting downstream has many benefits

  • Downstream? Which way is that? Picture your drift boat as a clock. The bow is 12 o’clock, the stern is 6 o’clock. When casting downstream on the left side of the boat, aim for about 10 o’clock. When casting downstream on the right side, shoot for 2 o’clock. An angle of 45 degrees downstream off the boat is perfect.
  • Get the drift. Just about the most important part of your presentation to trout is the drift of your fly. When drifting a fly along the bank you must have a drag free float. One way to do this is having your fly leading the way down the river. Meaning your fly comes first and following is your leader and line. Casting downstream places your fly immediately in pole position.
  • Share the love. This really comes into play when you have two anglers in the boat. Sharing the water goes a long way to the happiness of everyone in the boat, including the guide. If the person in the front is casting upstream, the back person has nowhere to fish except upstream too.
  • Eyes on the prize. You really need to be looking ahead as the boat drifts along the shore. Out of your periphery choosing the next spot to cast your fly. If you are looking upstream you can’t make decisions on upcoming spots and will continue not casting downstream.
  • Cut the slack. Casting upstream will almost always give you too much slack in the water. When a fish takes your fly you end up picking up the slack and not setting the hook in the trout.
  • Poaching isn’t cool. This is when the person in the front of the boat continues to cast upstream into the back person’s water.
  • Tangled time. Continue to poach and you will get tangled with the back person. You can also end up casting over the person in the back of the boat fish when they are landing it. This can cause big problems and even allow the fish to escape.
  • Fly rescue. You are going to cast your flies into the trees. Everyone does it. Just part of the game. Your guide will have a much easier rescue mission as he rows the boat to the snag if he can approach it from upstream rather than rowing back upstream to retrieve the fly.

Looking for more info? Check out this great article on casting downstream found on MidCurrent.