man casting a fly fishing line


We’ve all experienced ridicule at some point in our lives and I’m sure you’ll all agree it’s not pleasant. For self-conscious adolescents in particular, there couldn’t be anything worse than being humiliated in public.


Unfortunately, as an aspiring and enthusiastic young angler, one of my moments of humiliation was fishing-related. I’d spent weeks designing and building my own bamboo fishing rod. The rod was a backyard experiment and poorly built to be truthful, but to a kid obsessed with fishing, it meant the world.

Upon completion, my grandfather suggested that I cross the main road near our suburban Sydney home and practice casting in an undeveloped paddock. Two or three casts in, a car loaded with P-platers pulled up next to the field and burst into hysterics. They laughed, hurled abuse and repeatedly questioned whether I had caught anything among the field of grass. I retreated, embarrassed and angry that my grandfather had unwittingly set me up for humiliation.

Thankfully, with twenty-odd additional years under my belt and the benefit of hindsight, I can now reflect upon the event with humour and I realise how spot-on his encouragement to practice casting was. Check out these tips for casting practice.


It’s an age-old, but accurate expression. Fishermen are on a constant learning curve and we can always discover new ways to improve our skills or procedures. Although ‘perfection’ is a rarely attainable goal, practice is the one and only way to develop and refine your abilities. So get out to your nearest field or waterway and practice casting. Spread out a series of buckets in a yard and try to cast barbless lures or small sinkers into them. You can also place obstacles around the buckets (i.e. chairs) to increase the difficulty. If anyone mocks your efforts at improvement, there’s a handy little fishing weapon called a metal slug. They cast like bullets and straight as an arrow and will put a serious dint in anything that gets in their way!


I’ve heard many anglers discuss casting techniques over the years. Some Bream anglers suggest casting with one hand, fly anglers say wind with the left if you’re right handed and the list goes on. I’ve found that most of this advice relates to image perceptions or old conventions with no substantial basis. In fact casting single-handed for example is more likely to offer less control than a steady two-hand cast. Most of these superficial technicalities don’t affect your accuracy or ability to catch fish so don’t agonise over them. My line of thinking is to do what is comfortable and works for you.


Good casting usually involves creativity. Watch and learn from the anglers around you. Try different techniques and make mistakes- that’s how you learn. I’ve fished with some gun-fishos over the years and observed some incredible casting. Skimming plastics deep under wharves, seemingly impossible underhand casts into thick mangrove snags, there are some guys out there that just kill it. They are typically focused, creative and not afraid to attempt the impossible.


Regardless of how skilled you might be at casting, there are fishing tools that will provide additional benefits. Modern medium-fast rod blanks make casting light lures a breeze. Rod length also has an impact on casting distance with longer fishing rods usually providing more throwing power.

Fishing line selection is important to improve casting distance. Generally the thinner the diameter of the line, the easier it falls off the reel during casts. Always make sure the spool is filled correctly. Too much line on the spool will result in tangles and not enough line will increase friction and decrease the length of casts. There are new lines on the market that also dramatically improve casting distance so keep your eyes peeled for these.

Keep a practice fishing rod rigged at home or in your office and flick lures around in your breaks. Your family, friends and colleagues might think you are nuts, but once you’re on the water you’ll be casting cannons like a pro.


Is there anything you can add to this article? Let us know and share with everyone else in the comments section below.

Peter Hollingsworth

Peter has been fishing all around Australia since he was a boy. He loves camping, fishing and kayak fishing.