A quarterly newsletter from Clear Creek Fly Casting LLC.

Your source for efficient, controlled, effective fly casting

Fall 2018

Booking with me is now available online on the Booking page. If you don't see a time available that meets your schedule just contact me to work something out.

Welcome to the Fall 2018 newsletter. Hope you enjoy it, and if there are questions, comments or suggestions for topics for the newsletter, please let me know. This newsletter is for you, and if you have interest in a particular topic, chances are that there are others with the same interests. In the meantime, I try to present topics relevant to all of your fly casting and fishing needs. Speaking of relevance, please note the topic “How do I cast streamers?” in the I Get Questions section.

Thanks to all who took lessons this past year! I hope you have found them helpful and that you continue to practice. Some of you are fly fishing club members and are planning talks for your group. Please remember that I’m available for group presentations as well as group lessons. Presentations are usually in power point format and have been well received. Just contact me at to get started.


Contact me for more details about any of these at

Create your own event: I love teaching groups! Put together a presentation or clinic for your group! It can be a fishing group or a group of interested people that don't fish yet! I can help you tailor instruction to your group's needs.

Lecture/Discussion Presentations: I have found these can be extremely helpful for groups. I have multiple topics available and even simply one entitled “Casting Q and A”. These are done at no charge usually. See the website for more details.

30 with 3 lesson packages: I am now offering 3 one hour lesson packages for $150---a $30 savings. This will make a great gift for someone, including yourself! Times and location will be scheduled individually.

Fly Casting Fundamentals Class: Six one hour lessons comprise this class designed to help the caster achieve at least Bronze level fly casting skills as outlined in the FFI Fly Casting Skills Challenge. This can be done on an individual basis or in a small group. The price is $300, the same as for 5 lessons, which is a $60 savings. Great for beginners, novices or those just trying to improve their skills!

Video Casting Analysis: If a picture is worth 1000 words, a video is worth far more. You will see things you had no idea were occurring with your casting motion and learn how to correct them. Define and rid yourself of bad habits! Clients will be given practice methods to improve their cast. The minimum time needed for this is 90 minutes and the cost is $80.

Casting Instructor Certification Mentoring: Instructor certification from the FFI is an accomplishment that will help you become a better instructor as well as caster. Let me help you understand the expectations of the exam and become a better caster and teacher! I mentor exam candidates and administer exams, so I understand the tests and what it takes to pass. Most importantly, it will help you be the best teacher you can be in all phases of fly fishing.



This is not a casting paradigm, or “how to cast” article. Rather this is a description of 5 essential elements that must be included in each and every cast. There are fairly predictable things that happen when each one of the essentials is violated. When each of the essentials is met, a beautiful cast results.

  • STRAIGHT LINE TIP PATH: The fly caster’s objective is good loop formation which is created by a straight line rod tip path during the casting stroke. Without a good loop (4 ft. or less top to bottom leg with a relatively straight top leg) the caster will be less accurate and wind will be an excessive problem. There should be a smooth progressive bend in the rod as the caster pulls the weighted fly line. When the rod tip path is doming, the top leg of the loop will be doming and a wide loop results. If the rod tip dips during the casting stroke, the top leg of the loop will dip. This is a tailing loop and will often cause knots and tangles in either fly line or leader. (though often called wind knots, they have nothing to do with the wind!) When a straight line rod tip path is achieved, and good loop is formed with a relatively straight top leg. This loop is efficient, works well in the wind and carries the fly to the target. The following 4 essentials are components that assist the caster in forming such a casting loop.
  • ELIMINATE SLACK: The correct starting position for the pick up into the first back cast is with rod tip low (at or in the water) and the line and leader straight. Unintentional slack is the caster’s enemy! The most common mistake I observe at lessons and on stream is not eliminating slack before the cast is begun. Slack in the line does not allow for efficient rod loading (bending) and delays the moment at which the line is under continuous even tension. Lefty Kreh used to say the cast can’t start until the end of the line is moving---how right he was! The two most common problems scenarios are: starting the cast with a rod tip position higher than water level and starting the cast with loops and squiggles of line in the water rather than line straight. Fly fishers may get away with it, but have to work harder than they should and make an extra false cast or two to form a good loop.
  • VARIABLE ARC SIZE: Casting arc size is the major determinant of loop size, and varies with amount of line past the rod tip and line speed. The casting arc is the amount of rotation of the rod during the casting stroke as measured at the rod butt. Simply stated, short cast, narrow arc; long cast, wider arc. The instruction to move the rod from 10-2 on the clock face works for a particular length of line for a given rod. The arc for a 20 ft. cast is much shorter. If one were to use an arc of 10-2 on the clock face for a 20 ft. cast, the loop would be wide and inefficient. I see this mistake made frequently, and it is one of the major reasons some fishers have trouble making short accurate casts. As one adds line from 20 ft. to 30 and 40 ft. and tries to maintain 4 ft. loops, arc size must increase, albeit in small increments. Casting at higher line speed also requires a slightly wider arc: the rod bends more and a wider arc is required to achieve straight rod tip path.
  • APPROPRIATE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF FORCE APPLIED: The force applied during the casting stroke must be one of smooth acceleration, followed by an abrupt stop, and is variable depending on line length and line speed desired. The quantity of power applied should be just enough to get the loop to form at the line speed necessary. I frequently see casters overpowering their casts, especially in the wind. They often widen the arc, get wide loops and the cast fails. This is both frustrating and fatiguing. Casting should almost never give you a sore arm! Another common error is one of quality---power is applied roughly or unevenly (I call it punching) which results in a dipping rod tip path and therefore a tailing loop. This is especially true of individuals who are self-taught in my observation. In short, slow down, smooth out and don’t use anymore force than you need.
  • APPROPRIATE TIMING: The pause between casts, such as back cast to forward cast or vice-versa when false casting, is variable and dependent on line length and speed.Short cast, short pause; long cast, longer pause. If one waits too long, the line falls, loses tension and the upcoming casting motion is wasted on removing slack. If one makes too short a pause, the top leg of the unfurled loop is accelerated inappropriately and a whip crack type noise is heard. This often snaps off the fly. So, how long does one wait? Watch your forward cast and get a sense of the time it takes for the loop to almost completely straighten. I find that when people wait for the line/leader to go completely straight, their reaction time allows slack to form. If you can see the line/leader connection as it just starts to get to the nose of the loop, that’s when you want to make the next casting stroke. Don’t forget to look at your back cast occasionally by casting sidearm. It’s good to see this cast for loop size and shape, as well as judging timing.


How do I cast streamers?

Anyone who has casted streamers knows that it’s like someone just played a dirty trick on you by attaching a sinking Rapala to the end of your leader. There are ways to make this easier and here’s how. If you have questions about details, please contact me!

Adjust your leader and tippet. Make sure the tippet is the appropriate size. Use the “rule of 3”, which means take the fly size and divide by 3. This is the approximate tippet size. For a size 6 fly, tippet size would be 2X; for a size 8 fly one could use 2X or 3X, your choice. The length of tippet can be 6-18” which depends on water clarity and light level. The leader can be 6-8 feet, and shorter for a sunken line. The fish that eat streamers are typically not leader shy.

Consider a streamer line. These lines are designed by manufacturers to cast heavy flies. They are often up weighted (the Scientific Anglers Titan 6 wt. line is actually an 8 wt.) and have line mass pushed toward the tip which improves control and turnover of the heavy fly. Using a heavier line on your rod (within reason) is not harmful. If you don’t want to purchase a dedicated line, make sure the above adjustments in leader and tippet are present.

Slow down and open up your casting loops. I consider a good fishing loop as 4 ft. or less top to bottom leg with a relatively straight top leg. Make your streamer loop 4-5 feet and slow down your cast. You do this by slightly opening the casting arc. You may need to narrow the loop a bit and pick up the line speed in windy situations, but overall the above should work well for you.

Learn and use the Belgian cast. This cast looks like an overhead cast, but the significant difference is that there is no stop on the back cast. The line/leader/fly is kept under constant tension as it is swung around and then cast forward. This softens the extreme tug of the back cast with a weighted fly and avoids the accompanying recoil and slack often responsible for tangles. This cast can also be used to change directions. Remember one must still stop on the forward cast as this helps loop formation and delivery to your target. Hauling can help, but only if your foundation cast is adequate.

Learn and use the roll cast. If you don’t already do this, you should—for all your fishing. With streamers, roll casts get the fly to the surface before lifting into a Belgian cast. Also roll casts can be used to cast the streamer to the next target. Keep in mind that with a heavy fly and sink tip, one may need to roll cast more than once to free the fly from the water before the delivery cast.