Learn the Reach Cast to Get a Better Drift and Catch More Fish Now

onWater Team
July 9, 2024
7 min read

Learn the Reach Cast to Get a Better Drift and Catch More Fish Now

onWater Team
July 9, 2024
7 min read
Share this post

The basic casting stroke in fly fishing serves to get the fly as far away from the angler as necessary. Distance and accuracy are crucial, but the fly cast, by nature, is a blessing and a curse—an enjoyable and artistic activity in its own right, yet the utilitarian aspect of the fly cast should overrule aesthetics if your goal is to catch fish over catching a Hollywood director’s eye.

But getting a long cast is only part of the equation when it comes to having success in fly fishing. Especially when fly fishing for trout, the fly also has to be presented in a manner that it looks like a normal part of a hungry trout's diet. This is most often accomplished by ensuring the fly has a natural drift. Various skills help to get a natural drift, skills like mending, adding slack, stripping in line, and more. The quickest way to start a drag free drift when fly fishing rivers and creeks near you is to learn and use a reach cast.

A reach cast is essential for obtaining a long, drag-free presentation of the fly. Perform a reach cast by an extended follow through, across your body, of your cast after a stop is made on the forward cast. This follow through allows for a mend to be placed in the fly line before it lands on the water.

Steps to Perform a Reach Cast:

  1. Setup and Stance:
    • Start with a standard casting stance.
    • Hold the fly rod with a relaxed grip.
  2. Basic Forward Cast:
    • Perform a normal forward cast. This involves lifting the rod tip and accelerating smoothly to a stop, allowing the line to unroll behind you before making the forward cast.
  3. Aerial Mend:
    • As the line is unrolling in the air during your forward cast, reach the rod to the side (left or right) before the line touches the water. This movement is known as an aerial mend.
    • Reach upstream (towards the current) if you want the fly to drift naturally downstream. This upstream reach will help counteract the drag from the current.
  4. Timing:
    • Timing is crucial. You should start the reach as soon as you make your forward cast, while the line is still in the air. The rod should be at the maximum reach position when the line lands on the water.
  5. Practice:
    • Practice the reach cast in different directions and varying the amount of reach. This will help you understand how much reach you need to counteract the current effectively

Now that you know how to perform a reach cast and now that you know that it takes practice...you've got another reason to get out on the water and find places to fish near you.

Use onWater to Discover Your Best Places to Fish

Be sure to read onWater fishing blog posts to plan better and fish smarter and help you find places to fish near you.

Thousands of Place to Fish with Offline Maps

Three Ways Topo Maps Help You Find More Fishing Spots

Five Ways Satellite Imagery Helps You Find More Fish

Use Our Hydrology Layer to Find More Places to Fish

Get fishing updates on the fly

Thank you! You're now subscribed.
Oops! Please try again later.