Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Side Cast

By Ron Williams

The side cast requires the same techniques as the normal over the shoulder cast. You must use a power stroke between 11-1 or 10-1 on the casting clock but in the horizontal plane rather than vertical. 

Start at 1 o'clock with fly in the hand and flick it forward stopping at 10 and waiting for the line to straighten before beginning the back cast. Repeat this, each forward cast letting out a little more line until you are ready to present the fly to the fish. 

Most times the rod will be almost parallel to the water when trying to get under low hanging branches although the angle could be just about anything between 45 Degrees and flat parallel with the water. This all depends on the situation.

Practice by finding a tree at home and without a fly, try to false cast and keep the line traveling in the gap between ground and branches. A perfect place to practice is standing in the yard with rod tip under the roof of the verandah or even under the eves. Practice until it is second nature. You will catch a lot more fish by learning this cast than perhaps any other on local waters. 

The Side Cast allows you access to those fish that others just wont try for and just walk past. Most people look at a river and walk by large sections because they see them too hard. Indeed you may be one of those people. But it is in that very water that the better fish are to be found. Because it is difficult to fish the fish are not often caught even by those who can cast well but you stand a better chance in these spots of hooking a good trout.

Casting this way looks hard and can be difficult to grasp initially, but if you understand that it is just the same casting stroke only tipped over on its side, you will find it easier than you think. Practice by finding an overhanging bush or tree branch or even the verandah on your house. The most common location is under the old clothes hoist!. Sustain a series of false casts in the gap until it becomes no effort. Speed the loop up, slow it down. Get comfortable with it at home.

Once on the water you will lose flies. You will cobble up leaders and mess up fish. But every so often you will make a perfect cast where only a single presentation is possible and a good brown will glide up and take your fly! A fish in these spots is worth ten rising in the main bubble line in an open pool!