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Old 01-20-2011, 04:09 PM
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whitefeather whitefeather is offline
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Default Fly Fishing Without the Back Cast

At the risk of committing the sin of blasphemy against the purist form of fly fishing, let me first say that the love of my life (fly fishing anyway) has always been and always will be a nine foot, four to five weight, fly rod with reel and a dry fly or nymph at the business end. There is nothing so graceful as watching a well placed, long, gentle cast to a rising fish and certainly nothing as fulfilling as the feeling it brings when accomplished.

In anticipation of a return trip to GSMNP in the next few months, I began thinking about my boyhood days back over sixty years ago and the thrill of that first spring outing on the river, passing the time trying to fill my stringer with a few nice fish for supper. Back then I used a fly rod nearly all the time, forsaking the bait casting ways of my fishing buddies amid their jabbing remarks about my "trot rod".

Not having enough room for a proper back cast always seemed to be my nemesis that presented itself when least needed. Sometimes a roll cast would suffice, but at times, when some distance was needed, the roll cast also came up wanting. It was after a few of these experiences that I came up with this idea, although I never claimed it as my originality. I thought there were probably others that had the same idea, nearly simultaneously with myself. I called it the "Indiana rig". Perhaps locals from many areas of the country use this same exact setup and have their own pet names for it.

It consists of a short fly rod (seven foot light action is ideal) and a light or ultra light spin cast reel, that is convertible for left or right hand use, 4 lb. test line, a small clear bubble (bobber) that has the line going through it with a center peg (which pops out to adjust the length of leader to the bait and reinserted to hold the line), and a dry, wet, or nymph fly tied to the business end of the line. I still have the Johnson "Century" reel I bought all those years ago, and it is my favorite ultra light reel for this rig, not to mention, it is still in great condition. Many of you younger folks probably have never heard of this reel but I bet more than a few of the old timers among you, like myself, have indeed. Perhaps you even owned one.

Now, I never quite understood, why, with a fly rod and reel, as well as a spin/bait casting rod and reel, a person would cast with the right hand, switch the rod to the left hand and crank the reel with the right hand. This never made any sense to me and always seemed rather awkward. Then there is the possibility of missing the strike of a nice fish while switching. So I have always fished "left handed" and do so even now with fly rod and reel.

So, picture this: the fly rod, in your right hand with the reel mounted on the fly reel seat, hanging upside down, handle on the left side. But, with the gearing reversed so it can be cranked with the left hand the same way you would crank a spinning reel. The push button of the reel being fully exposed to the rear, the line is grasped between the cork and forefinger. A "bump" of the push button against the upper thigh or wherever "cocks" the rig. Then, with a flick of the rod, release the fore finger. The weight of the bubble and split shot if used, "shoots" the fly out to the intended spot on the water. Choreography of the cast and the release goes hand in hand for different casting scenarios, but isn't difficult to master after a little practice. For those folks who are left handed, the right/left conversion of the reel is not needed, so just about any spin cast reel will work.

This rig can get your offering in the smallest of places, it can be dead drifted just like with a fly line, but without the need for mending, and will produce an effortless and remarkably accurate cast to any spot, once you have practiced it a little. You can also just drop the (bubble, leader, fly) in the current mend letting the fly drift as far as you want through riffles and other suitable locations. You can also shoot it straight forward across a stream to the quiet water of an over hanging bank. You can use a weighted nymph or un-weighted nymph with a shot, fished along the bottom the same way as nymph fishing with fly line. You can use a strike indicator instead of the bubble if you have enough weight to make a cast. Incidentally, the bubble creates enough counter force when a fish strikes, due to its buoyancy, so missed strikes are somewhat minimized. A tippet or tapered leader can also be used by attaching it to the monofilament in much the same way as you would a fly line. You can work more water with less chance of spooking the fish while wading and you can get as low and stealthy as you want. And, its a great rig to take back packing since its light weight and fully collapsible. You also save a lot of time recovering from hang casts in the tree limbs or bushes (one of my specialties), not to mention lost flies snapped off on the forward part of a fly line cast.

This is in reality, fly fishing without a back cast. It isn't my favorite way to fly fish the Smokies; that would be (for me) a nine foot graphite rod as I mentioned earlier, but a long gentle backcast to a gentle landing of the fly right over the feeding lie of a hunger trout is seldom the case in the GSMNP streams I fish. The method I have described is every bit as productive as spin casting but still retains the feel of the fish on a fly rod, especially when playing it. If I am fishing rhododendron covered streams, especially small pocket water streams, I'll go with my Indiana rig every time. But now that I think of it, "Smokie Mountain Rig", becomes a more appropriate moniker. Give it a try, if you haven't already!

Whitefeather
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:00 PM
Heavynets Heavynets is offline
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I've used a spinning rod with a bobber and fly and it works. And works better than I would have ever imagined. However, about two years ago I took a spey casting lesson up in Indianapolis on the White river that has helped me immensely in situations where there is no room for a back cast.

All spey (two handed) casts are just as applicable to a single hand rod. I find myself using spey cast technics at least 50 % of the time. Not always because of the lack of room, they're just fun and easy.

I highly recommend a spey casting lesson to everyone.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:48 AM
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whitefeather whitefeather is offline
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Heavynets,

Thanks for the reply! I've never used a spey rod or techniques, sounds interesting! Aren't the spey rods longer, about 10 feet in length?

An interesting technique, one I alluded to but didn't describe in my original post, is the technique of "flipping" or shooting the line/bubble/fly straight out in front of your position. This is an old bassin' trick I learned from Jay Lucas a long time ago. That and a technique he called "banjo stringin" the fish. I'll describe this technique in another post.

The flippin' technique involves a little more practice and can get a hook in your hand if you don't coordinate it correctly. So practice with a hookless line and bubble is a wise thing to do until you have it down correctly.

Imagine the end of the line from the tip of the rod to the bubble you're holding in your hand, as a rubber band. Holding the bubble with the line length about three quarter the length of the rod, point the rod at your intended spot. Pull back on the line at the bubble, with the leader hanging down in front of your leg close to the rod shaft and even with it, putting an arc in the rod. This works best with a medium action rod. Holding the rod butt close to your body, push the rod quickly in a forward motion (not far) as you release the bubble in your one hand and release your finger holding the line against the cork on the other hand in a quick flip. The reflex of the arc in the rod will flip the bubble/fly forward. Raise the rod 10 or 20 degrees to add some elevation. After some practice you will note more and more distance with this method although its original intent was for short distances in heavy cover, boats near the bank, putting the lure under over hanging limbs, etc.

Suppose you are standing on a thickly covered bank with bushes or rhododendron all around with a small opening in front of you. Deep pool, you can't wade with out spooking the fish. You see a nice trout near the edge of the cut bank on the other side. You can't cast in a normal fashion, but you can play the fish if you hook up. This is one instance where flippin to the fish comes in mighty handy! No slapping the rod against tree branches, no back cast needed, no moving to a more convenient but less strategic spot.

In anticipation of a strike, and after resetting the reel to crank position, grab the line again at the position you did for the flippin' cast. When you get a strike, pull straight back on the line to set the hook, no need to raise the rod tip.

Nice to see a fellow "Hoosier" on this post. I will look into the spey rod techniques you mentioned. I'm always looking for new and interesting "stuff" when it comes to all types of fishing, especially if it puts the hook on the fish and the fish on the hook.

Whitefeather
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:20 PM
Heavynets Heavynets is offline
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Your flippn' technic sounds similar to what I have always called a slingshot cast. It can be done with a fly rod too at short distances. see link

http://www.fieldandstream.com/articl...ies-under-dock

Spey rods range from about 12' to 16' long, Switch rods are about 10.5 to 11' long. Two handed technics can be done with one hand and with any rod length. You just have to move faster with the shorter rods and of course you don't get the same distance that you get with the longer rods.

I'll try to let you know if I hear about a spey class in the area.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:29 PM
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NDuncan NDuncan is offline
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Very similar to a "bow and arrow" type cast too. It works great in tight quarters with no room for a roll, back, side, overhead, etc cast.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:54 PM
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whitefeather whitefeather is offline
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Guys,

Sounds like we're all on the same page with this one, just different "pet" names. This technique was popular with the bassin tournament guys a few years back. I learned it from Jay Lucas over forty five years ago. And right on with the fly rod, Heavynets, I've used that one a time or two, also.

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Old 01-21-2011, 06:03 PM
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GrouseMan77 GrouseMan77 is offline
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You Indiana guys must be snowed in.

A few years ago, about this time of year, I was fishing Thunderhead Prong and the catching was a little slow. I decided that I would practice my bow and arrow cast. I pulled the fly back and watched the fly line shooting out but not the leader and tippet. It took me a second to figure out what happened because my hands were dang near froze. Buried in my left thumb was a rather large prince nymph. Thank God it was barbless.

I use whatever cast I need to get the fly to the fish.
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:38 PM
1fish 1fish is offline
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Default Spey cast

There are several spey cast videos on U Tube. Just type in" how to spey cast fly rod".
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:50 PM
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whitefeather whitefeather is offline
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Grouseman77,

You're right about the snowed in Indiana guys, or at least myself. Seems we've had snow on the ground since early November, ever since my last trip to GSMNP.

Ouch! I hate when that happens!

Whatever it takes is my motto, too.

Once I had a nice big bow on the line in a deep pool with white water on both sides and I noticed all of a sudden I was no longer feeling him fight, but I could still see the strike detector going around in circles. I reeled in and my fly line to leader not had failed. I hated to leave the bow with the hook in his mouth and 9 feet of leader for fear he would wrap and die. I planned to release him anyway but dang!

I went in after him, finally got a hold of the line and pulled him in. Then released him!

I climbed out of the water soaking wet and freezing but with the feeling that I had followed through with my plan. A ranger had been watching me the whole time. When I climbed the bank I saw him and just smiled. He nearly bust a gut laughing as he got back in his cruiser and went off down the road. He didn't even check my license.

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Old 01-21-2011, 08:31 PM
Knothead Knothead is offline
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I came up with a homemade cast for fishing in tight spots. Basically, it is a type of pendulum cast. I let out line about the length of the rod. I raise the tip and let the line swing back. Then I drop the rod tip quickly and let the line flip out, almost like a roll cast. Lots of ways to accomplish the came thing.
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