As spring works its way into the many rivers and lakes that make up northern Wisconsin, the thought of casting large streamers to pike and smallmouth excites most anglers. At one point or another, all fly anglers who fish with large weighted streamers have those flies get a little too close. Casting any weighted fly, not only large streamers, can cause problems for the experienced and novice angler alike. Not only are these flies hard to lift off the water, but once they are in the air, they fly as if they are purposefully trying to snag a piece of your fishing attire.
When we are taught to fly cast, we learn that a good cast equals nice, tight loops. With the added weight of weighted flies, you need to rethink this idea. If you throw tight, fast loops with a weighted fly, you will get tailing loops. With tailing loops, you lose control of your line, form knots and have a good chance of hooking yourself.
To handle casting weighted flies, slow everything down and use an oval cast technique (see right). The secret to this casting technique has the angler perform the fly cast with the rod tip no longer moving back and forth in a straight line but rather in an oval fashion drawing the fly line and the weighted fly with it. To perform the oval cast technique, sweep the rod to the side on the back cast and pull the line over head on the forward cast with a nice wide loop. This should be a smooth motion where the fly never stops or drops along its respected flight path.
If you are just learning to fly fish or getting into fishing weighted flies, learning to successfully perform the oval cast will save you frustration and help you avoid mishaps. Taking the time to practice this cast without a weighted fly will help you to get a better feel of the path the line should travel.