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Casting into pools beneath overhanging trees

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I'm a happy and satisfied member (well almost) of a local club which has access to many good stretches of the Upper Don in West Yorkshire. My biggest problem is casting into small pools overhung with trees which both prevent easy overhead casting from the bank and pose a problem if you're in the water! Advice, technique, tips please! Alec

There is a number of things that you can do to make life a little easier. But fishing small, heavily-wooded streams is always going to be challenging. As your confidence increases, it should get a bit easier and more enjoyable. In no particular order:

• Keep the number of false casts to an absolute minimum. Every extra cast has the potential to catch something unwanted.

• Rod length is important. The longer the rod, the more difficult life will be. In a really tight spot, you can trying using just the top section of a long two-piece rod. You might want to think about buying a very short rod.

• The roll cast is always extremely useful in confined spaces and is well worth spending some time perfecting. A side-arm cast is another useful cast for getting under trees and bushes. In a really tight spot, you could try a catapult cast. This is when you hold the line with your rod hand, fly in your other hand and pull on the line so that the rod bends, then let go and fire your fly towards that elusive trout!

• Don't try to be too ambitious and make over-long casts. Get yourself into position where you can cast to a fish with a shorter cast.

• When you do catch the bank or a tree when casting, don't try to yank the fly free. A little gentle persuasion will often free the fly and allow it to drop gently onto the water, as a terrestrial might. This can convert a disaster into a fishable cast.

Practice and perseverance are called for. And confidence.

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