Using the Side Arm Cast

All too often we find ourselves on a river with trees or bushes overhanging great fish habitat. Attempting to put a fly on that water with the basic overhead cast is rarely successful. Instead, try turning your cast on its side. All that's involved is imagining that your 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock casting-arc positions are laying on the ground and you are looking down at them. (You're also looking straight down at the back side of your reel). Instead of facing the water, turn your body slightly sideways (with your non-dominant shoulder pointing towards the water) and proceed to cast as you would in the overhead position within the same casting range and with the same power applied to the forward and the back cast. Because your fly is flipped sideways, it doesn't land on the water in the same way as in the overhead cast, and you may need to be even more conscious of mending the line right away. But a little practice will have you able to place your fly where you want it and not in the bushes.

While it's the easiest to side arm cast on the side of your body that you typically cast from, you can also side-arm cast from the opposite side of your body, when conditions demand it. Just turn your body sideways (this time with your dominant shoulder facing the water), turn your reel over so that you are looking down at the face of the reel, and proceed to cast again looking down at your casting-arc positions.