15 Fly Fishing Terms You Need to Know
Fishing in general has its own unique kind of language. When one angler says to another, “I totally got skunked while fishing off Bunche Beach the other day,” the listener knows exactly what his or her fishing buddy is saying. However, once you commit to learning the fine art of fly fishing, there’s a whole other dictionary of terms that you need to familiarize yourself with in order to sound halfway knowledgeable. Here are 15 of the most important terms to learn as provided by our friend and professional fly casting instructor, Joe Mahler:
Casting Arc – the angle between the rods position at the beginning of the casting stroke and the rods position at the end of the casting stroke.
Casting Stroke – the movement of the hand and arm to apply power to the rod, excluding any pick-up, drift, or follow-through movements. This is the movement made in false casting. The casting stroke is made in either the backwards or forward direction.
Creep – to allow the rod to move forward (without power) after the completion of the back cast and before the unrolling back loop has straightened. This is a serious fault in fly casting.
Drift – the repositioning of the rod backward (without power) after the completion of the back cast and before the unrolling back loop has straightened. This is a technique used by experienced casters to gain a longer forward casting stroke.
Fly Casting – the use of a flexible rod to propel a weighted line, in order to present an essentially weightless fly.
Follow-through – a second, separate motion of lowering the arm and rod toward the water (without power), which follows the complete stop at the end of the forward casting stroke.
Line Hand – the hand which anchors and manipulates the fly lines during casting and fishing. The hand opposite of the rod hand.
Loading the Rod – the bending of the rod through the correct application of power.
Loop – the shape of the leading edge of the unrolling fly line during a cast.
Good Loop – in conventional overhead casting a good loop shape is one which the top and bottom strands or “legs” are relatively close together and basically parallel. The leading edge of the loop resembles a U or V on its side. In roll casting a good loop resembles a flattened oval.
Wide Loop/Open Loop – a loop in which the top and bottom strands or legs are widely separated. This is often a fault in casting, but can be useful as in casting heavy flies or multiple flies.
Tailing Loop/Crossed Loop – a loop in which the top strand or leg of the fly line falls below the bottom strand. This is always a fault in fly casting and leads to “wind knots” that will tangle the line when the two strands meet.
Pause – the elapse time or “wait time” after the application of power and complete stop in one direction while you wait for the loop to unroll and straighten. When the line straightens, the pause is complete and you apply power to the opposite direction to begin the next casting sequence of power — stop, pause/power — stop — pause.
Pick up Movement – the movement of the arm and hand in order to lift the line from the water before making the power stroke of the back cast.
Turnover Point - (a) the point at which the tip of the rod moves past 12:00 (noon) as it moves through the casting arc, and begins to point in the direction of the cast. (b) the point at which the rod reverses its bend from one direction (loaded and pulling line through the air) to the other direction (unloading and converting energy to the line to form the loop). This occurs at the stop and the describing term for this counter-flex is rebound.
Source: Joe Mahler, FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor and Author of “Essential Knots and Rigs for Trout” and “Essential Knots and Rigs for Saltwater.” Purchase his books at Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s and visit Joe’s website at http://www.joemahler.com/.