Having just returned from a trout fishing trip in New Zealand, I’m a changed man. Amazingly, before this trip, I had never really found myself needing to roll cast with a single-handed rod. Clearly I’ve led a sheltered life! But in New Zealand, it was a necessity. There’s nothing more humbling (or humiliating?) than when you’ve been fly fishing for the best part of a lifetime and suddenly you find yourself not being able to get a fly out straight.
Fishing New Zealand’s Tongariro River entails fishing a lot of steep-sided pools, where it isn’t always possible to get a back cast. It’s not always a problem, as invariably you don’t need a long cast, but occasionally you’ll find yourself needing to get a good distance out of a roll cast.
My guide, when fishing the Tongariro, was a guy called Garth Oakden. When Garth showed me the ‘Tongariro Roll Cast’ I knew I had to learn it. Essentially, the Tongariro Roll satisfies two key requirements of a good roll cast. First, it helps you start with a decent amount of line out; and second, it helps you start with the majority of your casting line lying on the water surface, right in front of you, more or less in line with your target.
If you’ve tried roll casting when your line is still dragging downstream beneath you, you’ll know how difficult it can be. The key to a good roll cast is making sure the line is moving in one, constant direction and not trying to turn a corner mid-flight.
Check out the steps below. If you can follow this process, I’m confident you’ll be able to get significantly more distance when spey or roll casting.
You may even be rewarded with a beauty like this:
Photos courtesy of New Zealand rafting and fishing company, Tongariro River Rafting.