You don't need elite skills to catch lots of fish on the fly 

Want to catch more fish on the fly? Keep your casts short

Photo: NPS/Neal Herbert

There are few more impressive sights in fly fishing than an angler lofting out a 60-foot cast, the graceful loops unfurling with fleeting beauty. There are also few fly-fishing tactics as pointless and counterproductive as excessively long casts. That goes for both for the individual angler trying to land a few fish, and for the whole sport of fly fishing in general.

For 95 per cent of freshwater fly fishing in Canada, the truth is you can catch plenty of fish if you can cast 30 feet with a modest degree of accuracy. That applies to rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes all across the country, for pretty much every species of gamefish fly anglers target. In the majority of cases, in fact, you’ll catch more fish on a 25- or 30-foot cast than some show-off shooting line to the horizon, especially in moving water. That’s because accuracy and efficiency almost always trump distance when you’re fly fishing. Here’s why.

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