Dusty Wissmath's Fly Fishing School & Guide Service
Dusty grew up in Missouri, started fly fishing at age eight, and spent his formative years highly distracted by the sport. He began guiding and teaching fly-fishing in the early seventies while working on a degree in Wildlife Biology at the University of Wyoming. Living in Jackson, WY after graduate school he tied commercially for High Country Flies and guided on the Snake, Green and New Fork Rivers and in Yellowstone National Park.
After working as a Biologist in Wyoming and East Africa, Dusty started his fly-fishing school and guide service in 1995. He also served as the lead instructor at the L.L. Bean Fly Fishing School in Virginia and still teaches at the Wulff School of Fly Fishing in New York. He is a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor and is a member of the Board of Governors of the F.F.F. Guides Association. When he’s not teaching or guiding, Dusty gives casting demonstrations and workshops at sports shows from Montana to Virginia. His articles and photographs can be found in several outdoor magazines.
Dusty is on the Pro Staff of the Scott Fly Rod Co., Ross Reels, & Hyde Drift Boats and is a fly designer for Brookside Flies of Denver, Colorado.
Fly Fish - Common Casting Problems
Dusty Wissmath, director of Dusty Wissmath's Fly Fishing School and Guide Service based at Whitetail Resort, discusses common casting problems.
Dusty Wissmath: Hi I am Dusty Wissmath and this is an introduction to fly casting. Let s talk a little bit about some common problems that people have when they are casting. To begin with, let s talk about the roll cast. Now, to review the roll cast and I am just going to use my rod hand again, right here, so you see what s going on. Remember we choose the target, lift the rod up in to position, tilt our hand out, check a position. Let that line anchor on the water, execute the cast by letting our elbow pull our hand down to a close stop. Common problem that people make is not coming to a complete stop, letting that line anchor. So the roll cast looks like this and they wonder why it doesn t work. It doesn t work because it did not come to a stop. Remember, we have to let that line float back to us and settle on the water. We are using the surface tension of the water against the fly line to load the rod, so we have to let that line anchor. If we do that and start from the right position, that roll cast will work every time.
So let s talk about the basic cast. Now, remember we said that this angle, this 45 degree angle from zero to 45, opening and closing that angle, is a heart and soul of the cast. When I stop the rod, after the acceleration, the direction of the tip of the rod is traveling, determines the direction, if that loop is going to unroll. That s why, we say that that 45 degree angle is so important because if I stop that angle at 45, the tip of the rod is going to point that line right behind me. If I go like this, that line up is going to land on the ground behind me and it s going to get stuck. Stop that angle at 45 and you will be sure that your line is going to go in the right direction. Also the stop itself is very important. I have got to make a hard stop. I can have my angle correct but if I don t put a good stop, I m not going to form a loop. I am just waving this rod back and forth. Stop on the back cast, stop on the forward cast, like so. The last thing that I want you to think about is relaxation. The reason that we do this is for relaxation. So let s go in to it with that idea. The only thing that you do in a hurry in fly casting is the stop. Common mistake what people have is they think about that 30 feet line that they have got unrolling behind, and they realize that it s got to go out and they get in the big hurry to get it go in the other direction. If you hear that sound, it means you are rushing your forward cast. A fly cast really shouldn t have any sound at all, like so, but if you rush it, you are breaking the sound barrier. I call that a two dollar cast. I have never found a fly after I have heard that noise, it is always going to cost you, two bucks to replace it. So those are the some things to watch out for when you are making your cast and now let s talk about the different types of flies.