River Fly Fishing – Using a Short Line

River Fly Fishing – Using a Short Line


Clients practicing short line techniques on a river course.

One of the delights of fly fishing on the river is that we can often enjoy using just a short, simple cast. Not only is this relaxing and gentle on the old elbow but it is a very effective method.

If you are moving up or downstream either fishing blind (not casting to rising fish) or stalking fish who are rising for flies, it is crucially important that you do not cast over any fish lying in front of you. You must search all the water methodically using a short line to avoid spooking fish.

The classic example (and we are all guilty of this) is when dry fly fishing. You spot a lovely rise upstream and full of excitement you sling a long cast up towards it! There are two issues with this;

1. The longer cast you make the less accurate it is likely to be, so there is more chance of spooking the fish.

2. There is a good chance that there will be fish lying between you and the fish you are casting to and it is probable that your line will spook them.

It’s far better to bite your lip, contain yourself and work the stream up towards the rising fish and put in a more accurate cast over it if you do not hook anything in the preceding water.

These short line casts can be a roll, overhead or side cast using a dry, wet or nymph – it doesn’t matter as long as you work all the water piece by piece.

Using this technique you will surprised how many takes you get right in front of you!


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