Ask Brook

What is a reach cast? Why do I need it? How do I do it?

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I’ve needed a reach cast in my casting arsenal for some time. But until recently I’ve not really been able to get the whole thing done in a manner that was effective. A recent video clip I watched from Joan Wulff would have been very helpful a few years ago when I started trying to do this.

First, what is a reach cast? According to Tom Rosenbauer in the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide, a reach cast “is merely an aerial mend”. So, it’s a way of mending, helping you manage your line so that you get better drag free drifts as your fly approaches a fish.

Why a reach cast and not just a normal mend? Well, if you’re a “on the water” mender you know that one of the tricks that’s difficult to master is to mend the line without moving the fly. One of the tricks is to make sure you give the line some slack as  you mend to help limit the movement of the fly. The reach cast is useful to master because you mend before the whole rig (line, leader, fly) hits the water. So, you get the correct mend without moving the fly.

So, how’s it done?

Rosenbauer continues, “Just before the line hits the water on a forward cast, you move the rod upstream of where it would have ended up on a standard forward cast.”

So, easier said than done. To see how it all comes together, check out this video over on that shows Joan Wulff demonstrating the reach cast.