Elevate Your Cast with the Proper Lift

A solid lift begins with the rod tip at the water and continues with a smooth, vertical rise of the rod to a point at which nearly all of the line, leader, and fly are off the water in order to easily control the line to the desired location; maybe to a stop that straightens your backcast, or, to properly place the anchor on a Spey cast, one rods length away and in front of your shoulder, or to simply mend the line properly.
As a fly line has a grain weight, it’s best to lift the line up, not out or to the side, for a smooth upward elevation breaks the water surface tension and allows the line to leave the water without a shock to best prepare your line for a solid mend, set up/switch or roll casts, and just before your sweep.
While there are differences in lift styles for different situations- such as water loading the line when fishing a sinking line, or in a Snap-T with an oncoming wind- the basic lift should be smooth, high and a gradual increasing in tempo to avoid adding slack to the line.
Regardless of which cast is about to take place, it’s critical that the lift be straight up and high enough to begin to SEE the end of the fly line (the anchor) start to move towards you, THEN start the next part of the cast, whatever that might be. Practice removing slack by starting with your rod tip at the water surface and be smooth & steady, but increase the energy as though you’re turning up the volume on your radio dial to the next sequence of your cast.
Practice this simple step on your own. Watch and ask; did my lift peel right straight up off the water or was I pulling the line towards me? If you pulled and overloaded the rod, roll out the line and do it again! Do not add muscle! Allow the rod to work for you by lifting high and not making big, overpowered movements.
Tip on the Spey cast; do not pause at the top of your lift but keep the line moving to place your anchor; this little gem will keep you from adding slack in the line and needing to overcompensate somewhere else in the cast.
If you need more help with your cast, contact me about private lessons [email protected]  
Jennifer La Follette
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