Small Stream Tactics: Casting

Small Stream Tactics: Casting
Small Stream Tactics: Casting
Here is another blog I did for FishExplorer, think it might help out some readers here as well.
With the small streams opening up and us jonesing to get out there.  I thought I would give you a couple suggestions on casting in those tight areas that small streams provide for us.
In the picture the area appears pretty tight but gets tighter around the corner at the end, both spots held fish.  Casting accuracy is pretty important on small streams so practice your casting, either at home or on the stream.  If you choose to practice on the stream be prepared to lose flies.  If you make a bad cast and it?s not hung up let it go, fish in small streams are usually pretty aggressive and will move out of their lanes to get food.  In this lane I put a fly just over that stick hanging in the water, while the fly landed fairly close to where I wanted the line managed to drape right over the stick instead of to the left of it.  Lifting the fly would of meant snagging the stick and probably spooking any fish in that spot.  As I was trying to figure out how to mend this line to get it off the stick and not pop the fly into a snag a brookie appeared from the shadow and took the fly. Fish tend to hold close to the undercuts and cover spots in small streams and watch the flats for potential food, this one saw the hopper hit the water and wasted no time in taking it.  After releasing that fish in the pool above me I used the rod to dap the fly down on the riffle in the bottom right of the picture.  I then high sticked the rod to avoid the snags and unlike high sticking I let the slack drift the bug down into that pocket pulling out another brook trout.  After a couple more casts and a snag or two I moved up to the next bend which was tighter.
My creek rod is a 2 piece 6ft 2wt TFO rod, it is great for these small streams.  However even 6ft is too long for some areas.  These tight areas I just use the top section of my rod, it?s like casting one of those Echo Practice rods.  The learning curve on just casting the top section (or top 2 sections depending on your rod) is relatively small but it is different and something that needs practiced.  To help my accuracy with this I usually point my index finger down the rod as I cast, to me it seems to slightly improve how accurate I am.  I only pulled one small brook trout out of that bend.  Which reminds me when you are small stream fishing you need to move a lot, these fish have to spread out to survive so fishing the same run for longer the 15 minutes like you would on the South Platte is not the wisest choice.  If you haven?t picked up a fish by then you should move on to the next spot.
The last casting technique I will touch on for small stream fishing is the bow and arrow cast.  First let me start by saying this cast should be a single fly cast, no droppers for this one.  This is a fairly easy cast to master but takes some time to figure out proper line and distance.  This is an up close and personal cast, I use it to get under cover less the 15ft away but is great in tight cover as well.  You can do the cast parallel to the ground or vertically, vertically being more traditional method if there was a traditional method for this cast.  To start, your line should be approximately the same length as your rod.  Aim the rod towards where you want the fly to land.  Grasp the fly hook bend facing up, down will probably stab you in the fingers as you release the fly.  Holding the line at the reel so you do not pull more out more line, pull the fly back causing the rod tip to flex like a bow.  Don?t pull the fly back to far you want to simulate the flex of a normal cast.  Here is where you can adjust the angle of your cast by moving your fly or rod hands side to side or up and down.  Once you have everything set, release the fly as the tension on the rod is released it will deliver your fly to the target.
Depending on the quarters you may not be able to lift your fly back off the water to recast.  This is where a wrist only cast can put your fly back into the lane.  Using just your wrist make a quick little sideways semi-circle with the rod tip and it should roll your fly back up to the strike zone.  If this is impossible another way to retrieve your fly is to simply strip the fly back into the rod tip and pull the rod back to you free of snags.  Then reset your bow and arrow cast and try again.
Hope these casts help you on the small streams this year, remember practice, practice, and practice.  Tight Lines!
Owner Colorado Mountain

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