I have a reasonable standard of casting, however it all falls apart in windy conditions. Please help!

Most people find these conditions challenging and one of the main reasons is that they cannot generate enough line speed to penetrate the wind - whether it is on your back cast or forward cast. So let's first look at casting into a head wind.

One advantage of casting into a head wind is that the wind will help you with the turnover of your back cast and will help load the rod in preparation for the forward cast. Now once you have reached this point the fun starts! At this point the majority of anglers will put as much power as is physically possible into the forward movement, which results in a wide loop - resulting in more line area for the wind to blow against and the line being blown back on itself. Solution: the final snap of the wrist must be put in late in the forward cast as if you are trying to hit an object approximately one to two metres further than you are casting. The result of this will be a tight loop shooting out low and once the loop has unfolded then the line falls on the water. If, however, it is extremely windy then either use the double haul technique or a single haul on the forward cast which results in more bend in the rod, more line speed and more penetration through the wind. Hope this answers your question, but remember - all of this should be practised on a playing field before you go out fishing!

Dear H, I suffer from windknots every time I go fishing even if there's no wind. Is it my casting?

In a word, yes. Unfortunately it is your casting style which is to blame. First of all let me explain what windknots are, and why they are so named.

Windknots are caused by the caster putting too much power in too short an arc ie. 'punching' the rod. This results in your nice, level u-shaped loop resembling a circle unfolding, but when the haul line extends the fly either catches the line, or worse still the whole thing slides down the cast creating a knot which you aren't aware of until you get broken off by a fish and you see the telltale curve at the end of your nylon.

The main reason they are called windknots is because when it's windy that's the time that most anglers put most effort into their casting - so the the poor old wind gets the blame! Solution: Try and be as smooth as possible in your forward stroke when casting and widen your power-arc. This means that the stroke of the rod on the forward cast will be pushed from the point of pausing on the backcast all the way through the forward cast. Result: nice level loop & no more windknots!

Email your questions to Hywel - we will publish a selection of questions and answers on these pages, so be sure to come back often!