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Managing Fly Casts in the Wind: “Rude Boy, Soft Boy”

Good casts are about well-formed loops, stopping and starting the rod and line speed.
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Jun 4, 2024
Fishing raft on dirt road.

Casting Tip for Floating Anglers: Beating the Wind

Nobody knows how to manage casts in wind better than the guides in the Bahamas. It’s almost always puffing at least a little bit in the “Out” Islands. My friend Paul Zabel told me the story about how he was choking with his cast in the wind, but his guide wasn’t buying the excuses. To prove the point, the guide climbed down off the poling platform, slipped the boat in gear, pointed straight into the breeze, then told Paul to hold that course with the wheel.

He then proceeded to stand on the front deck and cast perfect tight loops until the backing knot popped through the rod tip.

“Rude boy, soft boy” Torrie Bevans told me once in a similar scenario on South Andros. You’re aggressive on the backcast, and gentle on the forward cast. Hard, then easy.

Completely counterintuitive, because you want to punch that cast into the wind. But good casts are all about well-formed loops, stopping and starting the rod and line speed. 

The wind in your face is going to help you generate line speed, especially if you start the cast and load the rod with the tip at, or near, the water. Then it’s just a matter of grabbing the extended line behind you and redirecting it forward with a soft and purposeful motion. You don’t need to add any mustard at that point. 

The backcast is the engine, the forward stroke is the steering wheel. And the wind is your friend; it gives you almost all the fuel you need. – Kirk Deeter

The Summer Float-fishing Season Is Here

The summer float-fishing season is here–rivers are running off, the big bugs (stoneflies, caddis) are popping and the fish are moving to the banks. It’s time to dust off your dory, or raft, pump up your trailer tires and start prepping for the things that can go right, while also minimizing all the things that can, and will, go wrong…

River Etiquette: “Been boating for 20 years? Cool. We can all benefit on the river from open and honest communication and by following a few common-sense rules.”

River Safety: Rowing Tips and Fishing From a Boat. “As the rower, it’s your job to always be looking ahead at the bank contour, so you can make adjustments to maintain an ideal distance.”

Ensure a Fun First Float of the Year: “A little bit of planning can make your first outing this summer a heck of a lot smoother.”

Ensure Your Boat Shuttle Goes Smoothly: “A few tricks that can either make, or completely wreck, your day when shuttling a boat.”

How to Keep Your Fishing Boat Quiet: “Anglers need to think about boat noise.”

Why You Always Should Carry a Spare Oar: “Think about boat safety and what could go wrong before, during and after your lazy, summer float.”

Finally, some float-fishing tips: Find the Changes, Find the Fish, Stack Mending for Longer Drifts, Use Attractors for Prospecting, think hard about your approach, and you’ll catch more (and bigger) fish.

Product Buzz

We review the new Titan PRO 25Q Roto Hard Cooler from Arctic Zone. ORVIS has partnered with Four Wheel Campers (coming soon to Flylab) to design a special edition camper to “elevate fly fishing adventures.” A couple great summer boat rods: Epic Reference 6-weight 686 FastGlass, Sage R8 CORE 9-foot 5-weight. Louis Cahill from Gink and Gasoline provides a great breakdown of building your own leaders. GearJunkie checks in with The Best Fishing Shirts of 2024 (Simms Intruder Fishing Hoody is a great choice). 

Fly-fishing News

Check out Flylab on The Venturing Angler Podcast. Deeter sounds off on the state of guides. Fred Troxel on the Mill House Podcast: “A man that has lived fully in many forms; dentist, angler, artist and as a free spirit that many only dream of doing successfully.” Dry fly fishing on New York’s Neversink River: “When you hear ‘New York,’ you probably don’t picture lush green valleys, pristine waterways and drift boat fishing. I know I certainly didn’t.” Once again, time to enter The Flyfish Journal’s classic Smolt of the Month contest (back by popular demand). Some great fly casting tips from Epic Fly Rods (casting power is applied smoothly and progressively).

Recent Press

“I would offer the following as an objective observer: 5, 10, even 15% off is nothing. When was the last time you picked up a penny, nickel, or dime? It’s not nothing, but selling your ends out at 10%? Won’t last.” – New Flylab Member

Regarding 10% off discounts “mattering”...

Our new partner below, Fly Fishing Outpost from Santa Fe, NM, is offering the same amount (10%) across their whole website and guide services. So, you can throw an AVANTT II fly rod and Ross Evolution LTX reel in your shopping cart, plug in the Flylab discount and save $144. I guess it depends on your perspective, but we like to think this is a meaningful amount of savings. The membership also paid for itself in one transaction.

“We got our first subscriber via Flylab yesterday. You guys ROCK.” – Sammy Chang, Strung Sporting Journal

“Flylab is hands down the best looking website in fly fishing.” – New Flylab Partner

We’re always looking for Flylab feedback–send any comments, thoughts, suggestions, and we’d love to hear from you.

Scouting Report

We’re hard at work hunting down the coolest new products, brands and partners you’ve never heard of. 

Gilman Grips

Gilman Grips are non-slip oar grips that require a fraction of the hand strength to hang onto and properly control a river oar. “Grip-Right Technology” provides fishermen with intuitive feathering and feedback on your blade angle, so you don't need oar-rights. Designed to lock oarsmen into safety, comfort and control, Gilman Grips reduce shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand fatigue, so you can put your boat where the fish are biting. They can be retrofitted onto any composite oar shaft, or installed at the Sawyer factory on new composite oars.

Flylab discount: 20% off all non-slip oar grips.

Partner Spotlight

Fly Fishing Outpost

The Fly Fishing Outpost is a full service fly shop, guide service and e-commerce provider in Santa Fe, NM. Their sister guide service (Land of Enchantment Guides), provides fly-fishing trips in the Santa Fe, Chama and Taos areas, as well as the San Juan River and Valles Caldera National Preserve. They have extensively field tested all the products they use, with thousands of guided hours on the water.

Flylab discount: 10% off all online and in-store purchases.

If you’re a fly shop, outfitter, fishing lodge or outdoor brand and interested in becoming a new Flylab partner, learn more about our program here. Join the best partner network in fly fishing.

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