Tournament Techniques- Fly Accuracy
Dry Fly Accuracy- Chris Korich
The foundation of your casting form is your stance in relation to the target. Don't change aim from target to target by twisting at the waist. Keep the same upper and lower body relationship for consistancy. Start the aiming process by first positioning your feet and the casting stroke will be in alignment.
Next in importance is keeping your stroke slightly to the side of your head so you can see the progress of the loop. This helps the aiming process because it aides your depth perception. Just as you complete your forward stroke with the rod, look up without moving your head and follow the line as it flows toward the target. You'll find with practice that spotting the fly over the target is much easier using this this method than looking for the fly to pop into your field of vision.
Another useful tip involves observing where your fly is landing with respect to the target. Is it consistantly long or short? This can be a valuable observation for your remaining shots for it tells you something about your measuring.
A good caster plays the wind. You will notice that even on the windiest days, especially where it seems to blow in circles, every so often the wind will pause or at least become directionally consistant. Even if this is only for a moment, this is all the time you need. Make your presentation now!
You should also take advantage of long pauses in the wind to move from target to target. as fast and accurately as possible. When extending or shortening line between targets, false-cast five or six feet above the water. Being that you're not actually attempting a measurement between targets, there's a no reason to false-cast too low and risk a chance of ticking. Once you're trying to measure a cast to a given target, lower your false cast to about two feet.
Don't waste time making unnecessary false-casts. Yet, on the other hand, don't rush. There's nothing wrong with using your allotted time. If your hand or arm becomes fatigued, throw the line behind you and rest.
Another observation that's a must on the farthest target. After making your first round presentation, observe where your fly lands and take notice how much excess line remains hanging from the reel. If you scored a perfect, simply extend your line in the second round until the same amount of line extends again. Even if you missed the first round shot, you will should still be able to estimate what would have been the correct amount of line, and hence, have the second round shot pre-measured. (revised from The Creel circa 1979)
Trout Fly Accuracy
The same approach that Chris Korich wrote for the Dry Fly event applies to the dry fly round of Trout fly and with the exception of the number of allowed false casts in the Wet Fly round, it also applies here too. The hardest round for many is the Roll cast round because of three things.
The first cast is so close, it's difficult to keep the fly in the water while having enough line to form a D-loop. That is why it helps to kneel to create more slack. Secondly one must change directions in the roll cast up to approximately 45 degrees since the targets are not in a line. This requires making casts over both shoulders and with side winds too.
Thirdly, is the degree of difficulty hitting the 45-50 foot target even with a side or head wind and a change of casting-angle. You must set-up your cast by dragging all but about the last 4 ft. of fly-line behind you to load to rod sufficiently. If dealing with a head wind, you could even point your rod well behind you and keep the rod-tip low for maximum power and line control.
During the roll casting round of Trout Fly, once you have correct form programmed in your brain, you can almost aim with your toe, close your eyes and cut the target in half!
Bass Bug Accuracy- Henry Mittel
In all fly accuracy events, the straightest and most reliable way to the center of the target is a tight loop. Every caster should do everything possible to learn to cast extremely tight loops, reliably. But given that nobody is perfect, we have to accept the fact that sometimes our timing isn't perfect, that we get thrown off by the wind just a little. Casts in Bass Bug are especially succeptable to small errors or imperfections. The heavy bug on a short leader easily jerks the line around if we added too much power or didn't use the right timing. This results in waves in the leader and line, which can easily lead to tangles when the loop is super tight. Hence, every caster who hasn't achieved the ability to cast a perfect loop 100% of the time has to make a compromise.
One one side, a tight loop delivers the bug more accurately and reliably and one can judge distance better. On the other side, there is the risk of a tangle. That virtually always means the loss of all the points on the next target because of the limited number of available false casts. Every caster should be aware of the amount of waves and glitches he/she tends to have. The loop size should be adjusted accordingly. As the caster gets better, this adjustment could depend on the conditions. Under perfect calm, the best loop size should be rather tight, almost like in Dry Fly. Under windy conditions, especially when wind isn't constant, the caster would probably open-up the loop to be safer. Ideally, one would open-up the loop only for casts where there's trouble during the back-cast and only proportionally to the amount of trouble there really is.
One more thing about tight loops in Bass Bug, they are especially desirable during false casts. A tight loop shoots line better than an open loop because of higher line speed. Also the bug doesn't move as quickly when the line and leader are practically straight. That makes it easier to judge the distance, which is very important, especially in the second round when we only have one chance. The tight loop is somewhat(!) less important during the lay-down cast. If the bug moves fast as the line and leader become straight, this only effects how fast the bug will hit the water. That is, unless you plan on judging distance also on the lay-down for last minute corrections. Those last-second corrections should be common knowledge for casts to the 6th. target. However, they can be applied to a lesser extent also for the 5th. and 4th, target too.