by Fly Fisherman

The major use of the slack cast is when it becomes necessary to cast a dry fly with, rather than against, the current although it is frequently used in both cases. It is also adopted when the fisherman wishes to scatter his line and leader between himself and the objective target with the purpose of avoiding a drag which would be almost certain with the normal straight cast.

The slack cast is a very simple operation, however if accuracy in placing your fly on a certain spot is required, you
may as well forget it because if the fly drops within a couple to five feet of your target that would be an extraordinary cast and few can do it consistently. The only way I have heard or read of this cast being performed was to give the line a definite jerk either with the left hand or rod tip just before the line completes its straightening on the forward cast. This causes the line to return part way back towards you, falling loosely on the water.

Another method was to make a higher than usual cast above the water, then as the line started to straighten on the forward cast to lower or drop the rod hand straight down from fifteen to eighteen inches.
When I was in my teens I was fishing one day on the Black River in Michigan. I came up on a native of the area fishing a dry bug downstream. He had no reel, the rod was a cut stalk of some type of wood (could have been willow) about eight or nine feet in length. The line, as I remember, was about twelve or fourteen feet in length and secured to the tip of the “pole.” This fisherman, as he worked the water, made one or two false casts then he would wave the rod tip two or three feet in span horizontally on the forward cast. As the line fell to the water it formed an almost perfect snake-like pattern between the rod tip and the bug.

 This permitted a drag free drift of the lure away from him downstream upwards of seven or eight feet, which is a generous float in any dry fly fishing without drag. 1 did not have occasion to try this method of slack casting for some time but I remembered and when I did use it, and effectively, it became my only “loose” cast practice. I called it my “lazy snake” cast.

You are not using a willow “pole” but the procedure is the same. On the forward cast wiggle the rod tip in front of you in a side to side motion and watch the line form a “snake” as it lays out upon the water.
This “snake” formation cast can be performed delicately by waving the rod just slightly or by exaggerating the movement, large “S” curves will form as the line drops to the water. The cast is equally effective on upstream casts where your line must cross varying currents. By the time the curves in your line have been straightened by the water’s force your fly has traveled a long, drag free, journey.

 Many times when you think your apparently refused fly is moving without drag on a normal cast you might be surprised at the reception it will get by casting a few of those “S” curves into another cast to the same location. If you expect to place your fly on a dime with this cast you’re going to be disappointed. Even though the cast is controlled to some degree, the minute you start the rod waving to create curves in the line the fly is going to drop only in the general vicinity of your target point.

Slack cast

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