There three ways I know of to make a curve cast. With the exception of the
in-the-air-mend cast, they are all difficult to control. I have a hard time
placing the fly accurately enough for dry fly fishing when I try to
introduce a curve into the cast. In most situations it is better to try to
position yourself so that you don't need to make a curve cast. Usually by
positioning yourself you can accomplish what you want with a reach mend.

The Swisher and Richards method is to cast sidearm and to overpower (for
right handers) your cast to make a left curve and to underpower your cast
to make a left curve. The left (overpowered) cast is essentially a tuck
cast made in the horizontal plane. This is a relatively easy cast to make
since you just put extra power into the cast to make the leader snap over
and pop back into the left curve. The underpowered cast however is
extremely difficult to make (unless you are using a bushy fly to stall the
cast) and in my opinion is not a practical fishing cast. Very few, if any
casters, can reliably underpower their cast so that the loop collapses
before it straighten out and falls down to make the right curve. And it is
impossible if there is any wind at all. Fortunately, the left curve is the
type of curve right handers will make 90% of the time for fishing the right
side of a trout stream when facing upstream.

An easier way to make a curve cast is to make the standard overhand cast
and just before you stop the the rod at the end of the power stroke, snap
the rod tip to the left or the right. Again the left curve is easiest for
the right hander because it is done by pronating the hand at the end of the
power stroke. If you hold your right arm out in front of you, it is the
motion than rotates your hand clockwise or palm up. The opposite or right
curve is formed by a snap supinating the casting hand and snapping the rod
tip to the right. This is very difficult and tiring for me.

You must make the tip of the rod curve left or right just at the end of the
cast inorder for the curve to be in the leader. Any delay will move the
curve down the line closer to you.

The final curve cast is the in-the-air-mend cast. We all know that the line
will follow the rod tip. To introduce a curve into the line while it is in
the air, you move the rod either to the left (for a left curve) or to the
right (for a right curve)  then back to the center after the power stroke
and stop of the normal casting stroke. The futher you move the rod off
center, the deeper the curve; the longer you keep the rod off center, the
longer the curve; and the sooner you after the cast you deviate the rod
tip, the closer the curve will be to the leader. The in the air mend then
is sort of a delayed curve cast. Because of the delay after the power
stroke, the curve is displaced down the line toward the caster.

This is a very useful cast for me and easier than the true curve cast. You
will find yourself making right mend casts all the time if you fish the
left bank of a stream. The right mend cast throws the curve upstream and
allows you a longer float. Wnen done correctly it will mend more line than
a reach mend.

Another time to use a true left or right curve cast is when streamer
fishing and you want to present a sideways view of the streamer to a fish
you suspect is holding in front/beside of a rock or log. Here, accuracy is
not as important as it is for dry fly fishing. Face downstream from above
and to the side of the rock and make the horizontal curve cast so that the
leader crosses directly in front of the rock by about 3 feet. The streamer
will then enter the fish's vision from the side, swim across in front of
him, and then upstream as if to escape. It is an effective way to fish the
rocks and bouders in the stream. It works well for fish that are holding to
the side of a boulder when the streamer enters their field of view from the
other side of the boulder. It is a perfect ambush set up for the fish since
it looks like the baitfish couldn't see him and is trying to sneak around
the boulder. Therefore you want to make both a left and right curve in
front of the boulder so that you have the streamer crossing both ways.

Copyright 1996 by Henry Kanemoto.
No reproduction, electronic or otherwise, is allowed without permission of
the author.