On a business trip out West it just so happened I was staying at a motel in Boise with a large pond behind it with a jogging/biking trail running between it and the Boise river. I had my flyrod with me me for just such an opportunity and I took advantage the next day when I had nothing on my agenda. The river was closed to fishing because it was too early, but the water in the pond was crystal clear and I could easily see bass on beds. I was eager to see if I could catch one. Well, there’s a lot of healthy folks out there in Boise and there were bikers, joggers and walkers all over the path. I had to time my backcasts in between bikers and joggers. I was constantly watching behind me and I was getting a lot of dirty looks like folks thought I shouldn’t be there. (When I did manage to catch a really nice bass, when I held it up, the busy path was completely void of people . Figures.)
For urban fly fishers availing themselves of public waters, this is a common problem. Numerous parks have water that can be fished but then there’s always the aspect of being mindful of the back cast and the safety of others. There is plenty of water around with busy highways behind them. Of course the gear fishermen all think fly fishing is “dangerous” and I’m sure they even think that as they raise a nine-hooked Devil Horse behind their back to suddenly snatch forward without looking. I remember my neighbor’s son watching me practice in the front yard and I heard him ask his father about what I was doing and I was shocked to hear the father’s answer, “That’s fly fishing, that’s dangerous.” Yet most of the pics and certainly the nastiest pics I have seen of hook and flesh accidents are gear tackle related.
Considering flies are first of all, single hooks, and they are also typically very small, I consider the risk minimal compared to gear tackle ; however, the back cast associated with overhead casting is definitely a problem around populated areas. But I’m here to tell you fellow fly fishers, there is a solution and it starts with a T. Yes, the Tongoriro Roll Cast can eliminate your fear of hooking a biker or a Buick and you don’t have to sacrifice any distance with the TRC like you would with a static roll cast.
I’ve been delighted with the Tongariro Roll Cast since I’ve mastered it and as I’ve been using it in various urban settings I’ve begun to really appreciate the safety aspect of it. No longer do I have to worry about children, dogs, joggers, bikers, Buicks, drones or low orbit satellites when I’m out at a public waterway. The hook stays pretty much in or over the water. The D-loop, which is just flyline and couldn’t hurt anyone, never extends more than about 20 feet. The hook is in the water and doesn’t follow the D-loop, it’s only going forward after placing the anchor. The other day I was at my neighborhood pond and the street was only ten feet behind me. Neighbors were walking, kids were skateboarding and biking, a lady pushing a baby in a stroller came by, and I even talked to them as they passed by and never stopped casting.
For more information on the TRC, the best thing in single-handed fly casting since the double haul, the following are other articles I’ve included on this site: