Casting Practice: The Diamond Drill
Example practice regimen for 20 minute backyard session:
Set up 4 targets (cones, hats, cans, doesn’t matter) in a rough diamond shape with the top and bottom targets approximately 10 feet apart and the left and right targets approximately 10-15 feet apart. Back off about 25 feet in a straight line away from the bottom target. If you have the luxury of setting this up and leaving it, that’ll save even more time for casting later. If you’re in a hurry, I suggest using a timer to let you know when to move between drills. It’ll keep you more focused. You can easily add an additional 5 minutes to each station where desired.
5 minutes of warmup: Strip off 35 feet or so of line (enough to get to the farthest target) and just make a few pick-up laydown casts to the nearest target, focusing on what your rod hand is doing and making sure that it’s stopping correctly without tipping too far back behind you on the backcast.
5 minutes of targets: Starting with the nearest, give yourself two attempts to hit the target, going around clockwise to the left target, the farthest target, the right target, and then the nearest target again. Give yourself two or three false casts between each to work on your control of line in the air.
5 minutes of air time: This one is surprisingly hard but an excellent skill to practice off the water. The same sequence of targets as above (clockwise), but the goal is no longer to hit the target. False cast 2-3 times over each target, with the fly hovering just off the ground (a foot or less) instead of hitting.
5 minutes of fish: Now your targets are fish, which means we need to cast ahead of where they are and be ready to move the fly or set the hook. Pick a direction for the fish to be facing (left, right, away, toward you, etc) and put the fly in the appropriate spot.
Boom, 20 minutes and you’re done, a little more ready for that next trip. Check out my Instagram page for more drills and for a visual of me doing a few different variations of the Diamond Drill.