Illawarra Flyfishers Club

How to Strengthen Your Casting

Any saltwater fly fisherman will tell you that a day of casting a heavy rod with a heavy line and bulky flies can be quite taxing on the casting arm, especially the forearm and wrist. At a club casting clinic supervised by Peter Morse earlier this year, he spoke of a couple of ways in which he exercises the muscles of the forearm so casting a 10 weight (or even an 8 weight) all day at longtail tuna or trevally doesn't take superhuman endurance. And lets face it, when you've got the weekend away or you've spent the money to go up north, you don't want to be restricted by tired arms.

The idea of the arm exercises revolve around squeezing something that offers a reasonable amount of resistance to being squashed, such as a tennis ball. While Peter Morse reckons the tennis ball is the way to go, if you are starting off, then it is probably a bit too hard. I think he has been casting 8 and 10 weight rods at tropical fish for a very long time! Try something a little softer, like a squash ball, or even better, a racketball or something similar. We found some old rubber balls at the old Ern Webb's shop and these have been quite good. I have a small foam light globe that I was given at a careers fair, and this is probably the best of all, though I have torn it a little bit through regular use.

Start off with something that is easy to squash, like a racketball or a foam ball. Squash the ball slowly for 10 to 15 minute periods - repeat this regularly a couple of times a day. Once you have become stronger in the forearm, try taking on the tennis ball...

Remember that like any exercise regime, it is important to start slowly, then build your way up to something like the tennis ball. If you can get to the stage where you can easily squash a tennis ball repeatedly for 10 or 15 minutes, then the fish don't stand a chance!