How To Cast a Saltwater Fly Line (12 Tips and Tricks)

Saltwater fly fishing is a far drive from the popular freshwater fishing. For one, their casting methods are pretty different.

To cast a saltwater fly line, let out at least a 10-15 foot (3.05-4.57 m) line. Hold the fly with your other hand at its tail and do a backflip and a quick front cast. The line will drag the fly along. Pull the line and do another quick back and front cast to deliver the fly to the fish. 

Casting a saltwater fly line takes special skills and tricks, which I will discuss in the following sections.

to cast a saltwater line should be about 10 to 15 feet

7 Tips for Casting a Saltwater Fly Line

  • Speed and time: In saltwater casting, you must be fast if you hope to catch any fish. It takes speed to do a back and front cast to deliver the fly to the feeding zone effectively. Time is of the essence as the fish won’t wait for you to catch them.
  • Cast with precision: As much as speed is essential, you must also be precise when casting. When you sight a fish, figure out where the fish is headed and cast your fly accordingly. You’ll have a couple of misses as a newbie but you’ll get better with time.
  • Observe the wind: You need to observe the direction of the wind. Saltwater fishing can get windy, especially when fishing tropical regions. The direction of the wind will determine where you’ll cast your fly line. This may get trickier when you’re fishing on a boat.
  • Maintain focus: Focus on your target fish. You can’t catch a fish that you are not looking at. Focus on the fish you’ve sighted, and as you go for it, keep your eyes on it. To watch the fish while casting, use the feel of the rod to know when the line is loading and never turn around to watch your backcast. This will cause you to lose sight of the fish if he decides to switch directions or pick up speed.
  • Learn casting distance: Learning to cast farther in saltwater fishing is one skill that makes it all the more exciting. Learn to cast at least 50-60 feet (15.24-18.28 m) into the wind. Like precision, you’ll become more efficient at this with time. Just keep practicing.
  • Practice ahead: The gear for saltwater fishing is different from that of freshwater fishing. The reel is heavier and bigger, and the rod is stiffer and fast. In addition, the line is thicker and stiffer. If you’re a newbie, practice with the rod at home before going on the trip.
  • Use a flexible rod: You’ll want to go for a slower action rod if you are just starting out. Slower rods are easy to feel and more forgiving of a bad cast. For more information on this topic, check out Why do fishing rods bend?
using a flexible rod is impotant

5 Saltwater Fly Line Casting Tricks

Watching saltwater anglers casting their fly line may appear easy. Well, saltwater fly line casting involves some tricks.

  • Backcast: Learning to do a backcast is pivotal to your casting. Hold your rod bent to do a back cast, with the tip pointing down. Next, flip your rod backward in a straight line smoothly, and bring it to an abrupt stop above your shoulders.
  • Forward cast: To do a forward cast, you’d need first to do a back cast. With your hand slightly up in the back cast position, return the rod in a straight motion, with the tip pointing down. This is called a short quick cast.
  • High line speed: High line speed is effective in the case of wind, and it requires strength. When it’s windy, bend your knees (almost like a squatting position), and keep your rod moving in the middle in front of you. This way, you’re able to block the wind and fish well. Load the tip of your rod for better movement. You can also do a double haul to cast farther into the water.
  • Rod movement: Your rod’s tip should point between 10 and 2 when making the casting motion. Secondly, move your rod in a straight line seamlessly, never changing the plane of the rod tip. Don’t move it with force. Let the “pull” of the line generate distance, not the strength of your arm. The harder you cast, the less distance you will achieve. Give it time to straighten when doing a cast before moving it. Let the movement be in your middle front and not necessarily above your head or on the ground.
  • Double haul: The double haul is a quick movement made when casting. Do a back cast before you stop; let your free hand pull out the line. Hold the back cast. Now, do a forward cast and pull the line again. Double hauling is a more professional skill you’ll be able to do with constant practice.
casting a line can be done in a few easy steps

Guide on How To Cast a Saltwater Fly Line

Are you a new saltwater angler and finding it difficult casting? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cast a saltwater fly line. 

  1. Hold out your rod, like in a handshake, with one hand. Your four fingers should go under the rod while your thumb holds it up.
  2. Roll out at least a 15-25 foot line and a 10-15 foot leader. The length of line you roll out depends on how far you want to cast and where you’re casting from- land or boat.
  3. Lay the drooping part of the rolled-out line on the middle finger of your free hand so it doesn’t drag on the water.
  4. Hold the tip of the fly with the free hand. Keep it away from your body or face.
  5. Next, do a quick back and forward cast while holding the fly. 
  6. Let your rod fall on your other hand for stability when doing the forward cast. Once you do the forward cast, the line will drag the fly out of your hand to the water. 
  7. Do a back and forward cast one more time to deliver the fly to the feeding zone. 

Important Things To Note

Keep these suggestions in mind when casting your fly line.

  • Don’t do the back and forward cast forcefully or impatiently. Let the inertia of the line moving back and forth to pull the line forward.
  • The rod tip should stop at 10 and 2. Allow the tip a few seconds to straighten. Return the rod forward smoothly; wait for the rod to straighten. 
  • Every movement should be done in a straight line, preferably slightly to the side. However, you can move the rod tip below, in the middle, or even above your head, especially when it’s not windy.


Saltwater fly fishing differs from freshwater fishing, especially in casting methods. In saltwater casting, release the line and do a quick back and forward cast.—speed and time are essential in saltwater casting.

To fish accurately, you must be fast, observant, focused, skilled, and precise in your casting. You also need to know how to do a back cast and a double haul effortlessly.

Saltwater fishing is enjoyable if you follow the steps to cast your fly line and practice at home. You’ll find you’re in for an adventure.

saltwater fly fishing a freshwater fishing have different casting methods