View Full Version : How much wind is too much for you?

06-29-2005, 06:37 PM
Just curious as to what wind speed in knots, do you decide to pack it in for throwing flies? :confused:
Personally, once she's howling above 15 knots I call it quits...

06-29-2005, 06:44 PM
see my last post - "It was blowin' boots out there last weekend"

20 kts is too much!

06-29-2005, 06:53 PM
If I can take the boat out (Maritime 18) I can flyfish... From shore, sometimes the best fishing is when the wind is howling in towards shore. The fish can be right at your feet! If you can spin fish, you can flyfish.

06-29-2005, 07:30 PM
Mendy has it right. But there are details. Needless to say, one is not going to get 70-90 foot casts into the wind when it is up to 20-25 kts. So usually one will be limited to fishing with the wind at one's back unless a 20-30 foot cast will reach the fish.

The secrets are choosing one's weapon (a 10 weight will be better than an 8 weight, and a thin/dense sinking line will better than a fat floating line) and in adjusting one's casting technique, which revolve around shortening and compressing the power stroke to get a very narrow loop AND taking advantage of the fact that the wind is inevitably LESS closer to the ground/water. If one can get enough backcast (into the wind) out there to load the rod, then one can throw HIGH on the forecast and the wind will carry and straighten it. Most fail to power the backcast enough. No backcast=no foreward cast. Besides really PUNCHING the backcast, one should try to throw it LOW and FLAT, again to get UNDER the wind. An exaggerated sidearm backcast may be needed to do this.

It takes practice. And arm power. And exact technique. The biggest error people make is even carrying a gear rod at all. It is just too easy to shrug and put the long rod away and pick up the gear rod . So JUST WHEN is one going to learn what it takes? Necessity is the mother of invention.

In our recent trip, Capt. Jeff Smith seemed perplexed that we didn't even want a spinning rod on board, thinking I presume that we were going to be too easily blown out if the wind came up. Well, we had wind challenges all week, but with the exception of the 2 or 3 beginners, we were out there until the capt's called it quits as being too rough for the BOAT!

This fish was caught off Wasque in 20 kt winds, and we fished the WHOLE TIDE RUN!


06-30-2005, 04:40 AM
Ive caught a lot of fish in 25 knot winds while wading with easy casting. Just have to pick your spots (knowledge) correctly and cast (knowledge) with the wind. Simple as spreading soft but'a on a warm muf'n.

Wind and casting aid's while fly fishing tips:

1. When fly fishing and the wind is blow'n hard on your casting arm.:
All we do is turn around and cast on our back cast when the wind is honk'n on our casting arm. Whether in a boat, wade, blind or sight fishing. This casting technique should be practiced until you become proficient at it. It's as simple as spreading soft but'a on a warm muff'n. Before long you will throw it as far or close to it as you presently are on your forward cast. All your doing is letting it go on your back cast instead of your forward. Your arm makes the exact same motion going forward as it does back. The trick is to train your forearm to make that "power stroke" quick and fast (when going back) enough to load the road and keep a tight loop while fly fishing and letting it go on your back cast.

2. The "Double Haul" is another valuable casting aid I would try to learn over the summer if you enjoy fly fishing the saltwater. Once learned it's easy stuff. You can do it with your eyes closed and you'll catch more fish. It helps you in all aspect's of casting. With out getting to deeply into the D.H. I start my haul at the beginning of my power stroke, on both my forward and back. Or another way to say it is at the exact moment and time that you initiate your power stroke, haul 6-10 inch's on both the forward and back. There is a lot more to this casting aid, but that's another article all together.

3. Next time your fly fishing, got the wind at your back, let the wind make the cast for you . I've taken folks through the Orvis Fly School who in NO wind could cast it 40-60 feet, then put them with a strong wind at there back. Helped teach them how to throw it UP into the sky. And let the wind take it out 80 feet. Amazing!
I swear many fly fishing anglers are amazed at the distance they can achieve once this sky writing technique is learned. Lefty Krey said something about stabbing-jabbing the sky with the tip of your rod during the power stroke. You accomplish 2 things.
A tight loop and the line always goes in the direction you excelerate and stop the rod tip. So with a quick stabbing motion upwards, you maintain a tight loop. Also you are throwing the line up, towards the heavens. Leaving it for the wind to take it along for a looooooong ride. It's fun to teach and watch the reaction of my guest's when they get it.

4. Anotherl tip would be to use a 2 handed fly rod or spey rod. These are longer fly rods that you use 2 hand's to cast that are normally 12 to 15 feet in length. The longer rod is what I personally use in any and all saltwater fly fishing. The longer rod has soooooo many advantages that someday I'll write an article on it.

5. Obviously, tight loop's (3-4 feet) are your goal on both your forward and back cast for over all casting. Look at your back cast once in a while to make sure your loop's are tight. Many angler's only perfect their forward cast and sometimes forget about the importance of the back. The back cast set's up the forward and is more important. I used to practice a tight loop by standing on the grass, floating line so I could see it real good and make sure I have a strong wind at my back. With a strong wind at your back, you are forced to throw a tight loop on the back or it fall's apart and with the bright floating line it should make it easy to see. Your goal is to train your arm. Remember - The distance the rod tip travel's during the power stroke is solely responsible for the size of your loop. Nothing else. The shorter the distance the rod tip travels during the power stroke, the tighter the loop. With wind at your back, you will have to make this speed up and stop (power stroke), fast and with power to keep, maintain, consistently throw a tight loop into the wind on your back cast. And have the fly line completely straighten out into the wind. Perfecting this with a strong wind will only make you a stronger caster.
The above are all tip's, techniques, things that we all use while fly fishing the salt. Hope it helps a lil.
Randy Jones

06-30-2005, 05:28 AM
For me, only if the wind was blowing so hard, it posed a general danger to be out on/near the water.

06-30-2005, 06:09 AM
If it's enough wind for me to windsurf with a 5 meter sail, then i definitely should not be flycasting. If its calm enough to kayak, fly casting is usually ok.


Fin Addiction
06-30-2005, 06:14 AM
Let me add a little here....Like Mendy sez the wind is good up to a point. What clients don't understand while they are having fun casting to 20lb fish on the flats is that the captain has listened to the afternoon forcast, looked over wind and buoy data the morning before the trip and knows it's 12 miles back across the bay in 20-25knot winds with small craft adviseries posted. .Some areas react better to wind better than others, some will leave you a lee for your ride home and some will put you out in the snot every inch of the way. I believe one captain was stranded the better part of a tide last week who was part of the group and the others bailed late in the morning. We have knowledge in our areas and saftety comes first especially when the youngest guy I guided last week was mid 50's and the oldest was at the grand old age of 82!! God bless him~ Peter, your group had great casters no doubt but there was more on my mind than just wind angle for the two sports on board...:brow

Go Fish
06-30-2005, 06:17 AM
It takes practice. And arm power. And exact technique.

I agree with the former and later strongly but suggest the midling should be ammended to "And line speed".

I have found that when I get excited (or frustrated) and try to power a cast into or across the wind my timing changes and I get nothing but a pile of junk for a cast. I know I am not the only one that, when "trying to put a little something extra" into the last false cast, throws a tailing loop or similar.

Staying true to your technique is better for your windy casting skills than trying to force extra power into the cast. I have taked to double hauling all the time so I don't have to think about changing my casting when the wind comes up.

As for the original question: If I can keep my footing on the deck I can fly fish. With little fetch and strong winds I'm good to 20 knots.

06-30-2005, 10:03 AM
I hope you didn't think there was any criticism in there, because absolutely none was intended. We had a great week with you and the immediate opinion of the group as that you were a "keeper". Regarding the wind and the decisions when to cut and run, we all understand, and have been there with our own boats or in other situations. What goes down(wind) must come up(wind). And vice versa. The one thing we constantly hear from guides is that 90% of their flyfishing hires have not completed the transition from freshwater to saltwater casting (and that's not exactly how they put it). And if I were a guide and wanted my hire to have a productive day and suspected he was going to get blown down in a 10 kt wind and it was forecast to blow 15 I would probably suggest he bring other gear as well. But I also think, if the hire were to get his thinking straight, the BEST use of his money would be to spend such a day getting INSTRUCTION from the guide on wind casting techniques and walk away from the day, perhaps fishless, but with a greatly expanded future horizon than catching a keeper on a sluggo. And I suspect most if not all guides would be happy or happier to spend the day doing that.

My take was that Spaselytied was asing for a measure of what was possible with a fly rod and Mendys, and my, and Randy's and others point is that yes, there is flyfishing life beyond 15 kts. To make progress there must first be a perceived NEED (which does not necessarily exist when there is a spinning rod on board), an assurance that something is possible and do-able by common mortals, instruction and observation as to HOW to do it, and then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

Thanks to Randy's expanding on points made by others, there is a lot of very good information in this thread.

06-30-2005, 10:31 AM
For me, the answer is pretty simple. I mostly fish from a boat. When the wind blows hard enough that I can't keep my flyline in my stripping basket or in my boat, and my line gets blown into the water before I cast it, then I pack it in. That probably puts the limit around 30-35 kts for me. I have a vivid memory of a day like that last fall. I was fishing in the lee of the shore when a front associated w/ one of the big hurricanes blew through.

06-30-2005, 11:27 AM
I'm with Mendy. If you aren't fishing in wind, its probably not New England. All mental, fish are at your feet anyway. Having said that, over 20 and my confidence goes down a bit and frustration sets in (even thought I know its all mental), but most of the time I won't switch up.

06-30-2005, 12:43 PM
I can cast really far downwind. Best cast to date was around 90' with a 25mph tail wind. Shaun was there. He saw my backing. Fish switch to the upwind side... no problem. Crank up the motor and swing around them. You guys are really blowing the wind thing out of proportion --125-3

06-30-2005, 08:04 PM
Leave the spinning gear behind permanently and you will be astonished at the wind you can fly fish in-25 mph constant wind is easily fly fishable, even if it is coming in at you. I did this in the dark off the beach West of Tashmoo last Saturday night with an 8-weight.

Necessity is truly the mother of invention.