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by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)

The Slingshot Cast Allows You to Fish Spots Other Anglers Pass By

The Slingshot Cast Allows You to Fish Spots Other Anglers Pass By

What do you do when you see a tight, fishy-looking stream or creek, but there just isn’t room to make a traditional tenkara cast? Often, the answer is the slingshot, or bow-and-arrow delivery.

A common complaint for many tenkara beginners is that they spend too much time “decorating” trees and bushes with their flies and not enough time actually fishing. When you first start out, it seems like the rod is too long and the line has a mind of its own. Just how do you deliver the fly when there’s brush behind, overhead, and on both sides?

With the slingshot cast, you can fish where many anglers would say it’s impossible. I won’t go into the specifics of how to deliver the bow-and-arrow cast here. There are plenty of instructional videos on the Internet that will do a better job. If you study the first photo above, however, you’ll get the general idea. Just be careful and learn the proper technique so that you don’t impale a tender part of your hide! No fish is worth accident or injury. You also don’t want to break your rod.

Once mastered, however, the slingshot cast will often become the second most common cast you use, besides the standard delivery. You can use it to launch flies into tight holes in fishy creeks that other anglers pass by. In fact, if you couple the RIGHT tenkara rod with the RIGHT technique, you’ll find a new world of fishing opening up for you.

For example, a couple of weeks ago I fished a Texas Hill Country creek that has lots of nice holes with plenty of bass and bragging-size bluegills. Most of these spots remain unfished because anglers can’t figure out how to get the bait into the water. One particular spot almost begged to have a fly dropped into it. I used the bow-and-arrow cast, with my new Suntech Keiryu Special 27 purchased from Chris Stewart, to pull sunfish out of the water until I got tired of doing it. What fun! Again, the secret is the correct rod and the right technique.

So, if you don’t already know how to do it, study the demonstration videos on the Internet and then practice until you can deliver the fly safely and with confidence. Tell us how it works for you!

Comments for Slingshot!

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Mar 16, 2017
by: Tom Davis

Nice camo and nice shot!!

Mar 16, 2017
Breaking in the Jacket
by: John Evans

Christmas gift from the wife . . .

Mar 17, 2017
by: Phillip

Some of my most memorable fly presentations were slingshot casts. Very fun.

I have a few more thoughts to add based on my experience:

Fish with an optimized line length. My small stream rod is such that I can extend the rod to 360, pull the fly to the butt of the rod, and fire. No over or under loading the rod.

Just because you can get the fly there, doesn't mean you should. Our creeks will sometimes harbor surprisingly large trout, especially in "impossible" holes. I could shoot a fly out there, but if a good trout takes it, I'm probably breaking my rod before I can do anything about it. Have a plan.

I've found that I only get one shot at executing the cast. Crawling prone to the hole, weaving the rod between branches, and firing the fly off. If the trout doesn't hit, I'll have to move forward to retrieve the fly, spooking every fish nearby. This makes it all the more satisfying when everything goes right and I get the fish.

I'm getting excited for the small streams to thaw.

Mar 17, 2017
Excellent Thoughts
by: John Evans

Good points all, Phillip. Thanks for the tips!

Mar 17, 2017
Nice fish
by: Les A.

I have been practicing the bow and arrow cast, but have not had the chance to use it yet. Catching stream sunfish is more fun than I realized. I have learned there are a lot of techniques to learn with the fixed line rods. I have been obsessed with Japanese YouTube videos on fixed line fishing of late! Last night I found a video that showed the lantern fishing technique that Chris has talked about. Talk about using a short line! They aren't afraid to collapse the rod to get the fish in either. I wish I knew Japanese. I want to go to Japan and do some Ayu fishing! That is the craziest and wildest looking fishing I have seen. They hook a fish on to their line with a trailing treble hook and than catch a second fish when it defends their territory! So you are always pulling in a foul hooked double! One word of caution! If you watch Japanese fixed line fishing you will be tempted to "go long." I followed Chris' advice to fish the longest rod possible and my special order 8 meter rod arrived yesterday! Chris will get you whatever you want!

Mar 21, 2017
Nice post.
by: Dave

I love the slingshot cast!!! Great post.

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"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

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