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ORVIS – Fly Casting Lessons – Casting in the Wind

ORVIS fly fishing instructor, Peter Kutzer, provides valuable insights on how to effectively deal with high wind conditions while casting a fly. When confronted with any form of wind, your initial concern should always revolve around safety; it is crucial to maintain awareness of your fly’s location and ensure that no risks are posed to yourself or others.

After addressing safety, the wind direction becomes a critical factor in determining the appropriate casting technique to counteract its impact on your fly line. When the wind blows directly into your casting shoulder, it becomes imperative to find a way to prevent the fly from moving towards your head and neck. Conversely, if the wind is pushing against your non-dominant shoulder, adjustments in your presentation must be made to enhance accuracy. A head-on wind necessitates a tightly-looped cast, while a tailwind calls for an oval-shaped cast.

By consistently practicing and familiarizing yourself with these various methods, you will discover that even when faced with a strong breeze, it will no longer pose a significant obstacle when you are out on the water. For a plethora of additional resources aimed at enhancing your fly fishing abilities, feel free to explore our comprehensive range of online materials. Welcome to “ORVIS – Fly Casting Lessons – Casting in the Wind,” a video by The Orvis Company. In this instructional video, ORVIS fly fishing instructor Peter Kutzer shares valuable insights on how to effectively cast in windy conditions. When faced with wind, your first priority should always be safety, ensuring that your fly does not pose a danger to yourself or others. To counteract the wind’s impact on your fly line, it is crucial to consider the wind direction. If the wind blows directly into your casting shoulder, you must find ways to keep the fly away from your head and neck. On the other hand, if the wind is against your non-casting shoulder, you need to adjust your presentation for accuracy. For different wind scenarios, such as a head-on wind or a tailwind, Kutzer explains the techniques of using a tight loop or an oval cast. By practicing these methods, you can confidently handle windy conditions during your fishing adventures. For more resources to enhance your fly fishing skills, explore our other online resources.

Hello, I’m Kiko, an ORVIS flying pigeon schools representative. Today, I want to discuss the art of casting in windy conditions. While we briefly touched upon this topic in our previous discussion about casting heavy flies in the wind, I believe it deserves further attention due to the ubiquitous nature of wind in various fishing environments, including saltwater and freshwater. Wind can become a formidable challenge. Even on a moderately windy day, it might lead to unfortunate incidents, such as hooking oneself in sensitive areas like the ear, neck, back, leg, or even the rear end. To address these risks, we can employ several strategies. When dealing with a mildly challenging wind, adopting a sidearm cast helps keep the fly away from your body. Pay attention to the angle of your rod, positioning it at an angle that veers away from you. Another option is to cast over your opposite shoulder, shifting the angle of the rod tip to the other side of your body. By making the back cast on one side and then on the opposite side, your fly will land on the opposite side of your body, safeguarding you from potential harm. Personally, I find it effective to turn my back to the wind, with my rod on the downwind side when facing the fish. This allows me to comfortably make a back cast and deliver it to the fish. This technique proves invaluable when dealing with the most perilous wind scenario: a wind blowing into your casting shoulder. Alternatively, you can switch hands and cast with your non-dominant hand, honing your skills and making you a more versatile angler. In time, you’ll be able to send that line out, shoot it, and even start stripping with your non-dominant hand. Start with shorter lines, gradually progressing to longer lines, casting with one hand and then switching to the other. Embracing both hands will undoubtedly enhance your angling abilities. Now, let’s consider a wind blowing across your non-casting shoulder. If the wind comes in at your left shoulder (assuming you’re right-handed), it can be manageable, as it pushes the fly away from you. However, for accurate casting, some compensation might be necessary. For instance, if you want to cast directly towards the camera, compensating by casting slightly upwind can ensure that the fly hits the target with precision. This adjustment can help offset any deviation caused by the wind. Casting into a head-on wind, often misunderstood as the most challenging, can actually be tackled effectively. The key is to maintain a tight loop during your cast. Achieving a tight loop allows the line to cut through the wind effortlessly. To achieve this, focus on executing a smooth acceleration while casting, concluding with an abrupt stop or flick of the rod. By maintaining a firm yet fluid acceleration, you can produce a tight loop, minimizing the risk of “wind knots” caused by overly aggressive or premature movements. Contrary to popular belief, a tailwind can be advantageous, particularly for your backcast. It assists in getting the line to project behind you for a more extended period, enabling you to execute a longer forward cast. To capitalize on this wind direction, a constant tension cast, known by names such as the Belgium cast, the oval cast, or the Bahamian cast, proves effective. This cast involves a low backcast, followed by a higher forward cast, maintaining constant tension on the line. As the wind catches the line like a sail, it rolls out gracefully, deservedly earning its recognition and utility. Even when executed, notice how the rod never fully stops, instead moving in an elliptical pattern, ensuring that the fly sails through challenging winds more easily, especially when the wind is at your back. That concludes our comprehensive guide on casting in windy conditions – an essential skill for any angler. Remember, practice these techniques, adapt to the wind’s direction, and soon you’ll conquer any stiff breeze you encounter while enjoying your time on the water. For additional resources to improve your fly fishing abilities, be sure to explore our other online materials.

ORVIS – Fly Casting Lessons – Casting in the Wind

Fly fishing is a beloved pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts. However, strong wind can often pose a challenge when it comes to casting with precision and accuracy. This article will guide you through the key considerations and techniques for casting in the wind, with a focus on safety and maximizing your performance.

ORVIS - Fly Casting Lessons - Casting in the Wind

Safety as a Priority

Before delving into the nuances of casting in the wind, it is crucial to prioritize safety. The forceful nature of the wind can create potential hazards, such as trees swaying or branches falling. Always ensure that you have a clear and safe casting area, free from any potential obstructions. Pay attention to your surroundings and be mindful of any changes in wind patterns or gusts that may affect your casting.

Considering Wind Direction

Understanding the direction of the wind is essential in fly casting. Be aware of which direction the wind is blowing from, as it will influence your casting technique. Determining wind direction can help you position yourself appropriately and adjust your casting strokes accordingly. It is vital to focus on maintaining control and stability while compensating for the wind.

Casting with Wind Blowing into Casting Shoulder

When the wind is blowing into your casting shoulder, it requires a modified casting stroke to combat its effects. Position yourself with your non-casting shoulder facing the wind. By angling your body and casting side opposite to the wind, you minimize wind resistance and improve your ability to cast with accuracy. This technique allows you to achieve better line control and reduces the chances of the wind hindering your casting motion.

Switching Hands for Wind Blowing into Casting Shoulder

In situations where the wind persists blowing into your casting shoulder, an alternative approach is to switch hands. This technique involves casting with your non-dominant hand, compensating for the wind’s interference. While it may require some practice and adaptation, switching hands can help you maintain control and accuracy, ensuring your fly lands precisely where you intend.

Casting with Wind Blowing Across Non-Casting Shoulder

When the wind blows across your non-casting shoulder, it can affect the accuracy and trajectory of your cast. To counteract this, slightly alter your casting stroke to generate more power and counterbalance the wind’s influence. Aim to cast a bit higher and wider to compensate for the wind’s lateral pressure. By adapting your technique consciously, you can maintain control and achieve accurate fly placement.

Casting with Wind Blowing Straight at You

Casting in situations where the wind blows straight at you can present challenges, but it also offers unique advantages. To make the most of this situation, focus on timing your cast to coincide with the wind gusts. By leveraging the wind’s force, you can achieve longer casts with less physical effort. Experiment with adjusting your timing and power to find the sweet spot that maximizes your casting distance and accuracy.

Advantages of Wind Blowing at You

Despite its challenges, having the wind blowing at you provides specific benefits to your casting technique. The wind allows you to load the rod more efficiently, resulting in a tighter loop, increased line speed, and improved accuracy. Embrace this opportunity to refine your timing and power application, as it can enhance your overall casting proficiency in diverse conditions.

Casting with Wind Blowing at Your Back

Casting with the wind blowing at your back can be both advantageous and complex. While the wind assists in casting longer distances, it can also be challenging to achieve pinpoint accuracy or delicate presentations. To optimize your casting in such conditions, focus on maintaining a consistent and controlled casting stroke, minimizing unnecessary movements that may disrupt your accuracy. Take advantage of the wind’s assistance while refining your technique to ensure a precise and controlled presentation.

Belgium Cast – a Constant Tension Cast

The Belgium Cast technique is a valuable addition to your arsenal when casting in the wind. This cast utilizes constant tension and constant acceleration to improve the line’s control and reduce the impact of the wind on your fly. By maintaining steady tension throughout the casting stroke, you can counterbalance the wind’s forces more effectively, achieving greater accuracy and control.


Mastering the art of fly casting in windy conditions is a skill that requires practice, patience, and adaptation. By prioritizing safety, understanding wind direction, and employing the appropriate casting techniques, you can overcome the challenges posed by the wind and achieve greater casting accuracy and distance. Remember to remain observant of changing wind patterns and adapt your technique accordingly. With time and dedication, you will become proficient in casting confidently regardless of the wind’s strength and direction. Happy casting!

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