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Wind on Your Right Shoulder?

Posted on March 14 2014

Wind on the Right by Louis Cahill Photography
Sometimes the wind is not your friend. Photo: Louis Cahill

Casting a fly rod with the wind blowing the line into your body is probably the toughest casting situation you can face.  Yes, when you’re new to casting in the wind it can be a challenge to cast directly upwind, but a tight loop, high line speed and the right casting plane can all make a cast straight upwind work fine.  No matter how experienced you are though, it’s a pain in the butt to cast when the wind is blowing the line into your body.

Here are 5 tips to make that wind on your right shoulder a little less unpleasant.  Note to lefties: every time you see the word ‘right’ in this post, substitute ‘left’.  Sorry – it’s just easier to write and read this way!

5 Options to Deal With Wind on Your Right Shoulder

  1. Cast sidearm.  Using a sidearm stroke will keep the line further away from your body and your rod and the guide on the poling platform.  Safety first.
  2. Keep your line speed high.  High line speed and nice steady tension throughout the casting stoke will also keep the line further away from you.  The wind moves your line much more when it’s slack, so take out any pause in your casting stroke, especially on the back cast, and cast fast.
  3. Try a back cast.  If you face away from the direction that you want to present the fly and cast off your right shoulder, the wind is now on your left shoulder, blowing the line away from you – nice!  Now you can make your normal casting stroke but drop the fly on your back cast.  It can take some practice to be accurate, but folks who are really successful on the flats are good at presenting on their back cast.  Here’s an example – the wind is coming from 3 o’clock and the fish is a 1 o’clock.  You turn to face 7 o’clock, and make your normal casting stroke but drop the line at 1 o’clock on your back cast.
  4. Shoot more line when you present the fly.  If you’re using a normal forward cast presentation, having a long back cast with the wind on your right shoulder is really problematic – with 60 feet of line behind you, it’s tough it avoid it crashing into you when you come forward.  Say you’re making a longer cast to a fish at 11 o’clock, 60 feet.  Rather than making a 60 foot back cast, use lots of power in your casting stroke, make your last back cast about 40 feet, and try to shoot the remaining 20 when you deliver the fly.  No, this isn’t the most accurate way to present in the wind, but it’s better than having a fly buried in the back of your head.
  5. Butt on your right, tip on your left.  For shorter shots to fish in the noon to 3 o’clock range, this is a great option that allows you to face the fish but keep the line blowing away from your body.  Raise your rod so the grip is about eye-level and maybe a foot to the right of your head.  Now angle your rod down to the left about 45 degrees.  Voila – the tip of your rod is on the left side of your body, so your line is too.  You can make a forward casting stroke right-handed without fear of impact.  Unless you’re Tim Rajeff you’re not going to cast 90 feet like this, but for shorter shots it’s definitely an option worth practicing.

More Casting Tips


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