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December 16, 2008

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Flicking Tomatoes (And Other Tips)

I think a lot of flyfishing books and articles overcomplicate things. Most of the best tips I've learned came from guides who have figured out a way to explain something in in 30 seconds or less. As such, I've been working with Charlie Meyers of the Denver Post on a little "tip book" that shoots straight guide insights without the cumbersome, sometimes frustrating, theories.

Here's a taste:

"Flick the Tomato"
The best casting motion involves a gradual, controlled acceleration to an abrupt stop. Imagine it this way: If you have a tomato stuck on the end of a stick, and you want to fling that tomato into a bucket, say, 20 feet away, how do you do it? If you “whip” the stick, you end up covered in ketchup. But if you gradually fling the tomato off the stick, you might get it there. Same deal and same feel with the fly cast.

"Watch Your Thumb"
There have been countless articles and books written to coach people on the best ways to keep that proper casting plane at “10 and 2” on the imaginary clock face, and in my experience, most explanations overcomplicate both symptoms and cures. When you start thinking about too many moving parts during the cast, you get confused and your problems compound.

The best “homespun” tip I ever learned to straighten out the issue of going too far and/or over-cocking your wrist on the backcast came from Dan Stein, a guide on the Bighorn River in Montana. He simply suggests you keep your casting thumb in your peripheral vision at all times. Lose sight of your thumb, and you’re going back too far.

What do you think? We're thinking about producing some of these with video, and putting them on the site (as in "The Cosmic Mend" several weeks ago).

You have any tips I can steal? I'll give you credit...



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Alex Pernice the 13 year old fly rod winner

There was one I saw in a book that said instead of using a rod on you're first casts use a glass of water, you do it to fast and forcefully, you end up soaked.


That's a good one...

Another way to describe that gradual, controlled acceleration motion that is the foundation for any good fly cast was offered up by Steve Rajeff, arguably the best caster and all around angler to ever pick up a fly rod. He said to imagine throwing a glass of water (or beer, if you’re so inclined) toward another person. You don’t just chuck it. You lift it off the table, accelerate as you aim, and stop suddenly to let the liquid fly. Imagine doing that when you make your cast and, while you might not fling the line as far as Steve (nobody does), you will cast with more distance and accuracy.

Matt Zicafoose

A tip I have heard is to "pitch" the lure from a flyfishing rod, so that the jig or bait tends to be felt heavily, rather than paying attention to the leader. There are other emthods, but the flyfisherman should never pay more attention to the line while casting as a beginner with a heavier lure.

Alex Pernice the 13 year old fly rod winner

Thanks Deeter, that was the thing I read, out of an LL.Bean book on fly fishing I have.

Matt Penttila

One thing I have seen when teaching new students (young and old) how to cast is the limp wrist syndrome. I carry a piece of yarn, tie it in a loop large enough to make a figure 8, small end over the rod butt, large end over the casting wrist, sometimes you have to double the yarn up to make the loop smaller. You'll be amazed at how soon they forget the yarn and start casting without it. Also I give them a 3 foot 1/8" dowel with 4 feet of yarn to see and practice the cast.


Kind of embarrassing but true...I was working with a great teacher here in Yukon and he always taught kids to "flick that poop off your rod". The tomato is a little more cultured, but the kids sure found the poop funny...and I never forgot it.


here's a real short one - PRACTISE.

no matter what anyone tells you, you simply gotta put in the time.

the less time I spend teaching clients to cast is the more time we both spend actually fishing... and practising is free.


flicking the tomato

Mel Krieger talked about throwing an ornage from a javelin in his videos


I think BLACKNBLU should "practise" his spelling!!!!!


yeah jk, I know, blu is supposed to have an "e" at the end. Its kind of a joke, like your knowledge of the English language. "Practise" happens to be correct spelling where I'm from - i.e. Canada. Its also correct spelling in England, well, where they invented English. Hope you know more about casting than spelling.


Ah, you are a Canadian.... that explains it all!! I never commented on your screen name? No need to get so hostile, I thought Canadians were Friendly? I know where English is from, but we don't speak that English hear in the US. "Practise" is spelled wrong where I come from (it even shows up on the spell check in this comment box!!!!), so if I were to mix the proper English and Canadian I would tell you........ I don't care that your screen name COLOUR is spelled without an "e", so BUGGER OFF, EH!!!!!

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