|Freshwater species caught with Sage ONE 4wt Switch rod|
Recently my Thai fishing guide and long time friend told me that lots of his clients find it difficult to do fly fishing in stocked pond due to limited back room. Most of these ponds were not constructed with fly fishing in mind, so back cast room was never catered for in the pond construction. Most people find it challenging casting in such environment where raised platform, overhanging trees, bushes and man made structures cluttered the background. This prompted me to share my experience in this article.
Firstly, let me say up front that two hand rod is the most efficient tool for such fishing. It is precisely this type of environment that got me started on Spey casting in the first place. After a number of years of playing around with two hand rods ranging from 10.5 feet to 12.5 feet, I find switch rod around 11 ft best for the job since they are light and not too cumbersome. Two hand rods that are too long can be tiring and risk snagging on overhanging trees and other structures.
Next the line system is crucial. Too many people made the mistake of coming with Scandi type line or worst still, traditional long belly line that is ill suited for such fishing. From experience, I find short belly Skagit type line best for the job, with preference towards modern Skagit line with a good aggressive taper. The older generation of level Skagit line just does not have the taper to give good roll cast in very tight situation (small D-loop). If I have to recommend a good line, it would have to be the Wulff Ambush line or the RIO Skagit I-Flight. More recently, the RIO Scandi body (or Scandi versi-tip) that is more like a hybrid between Skagit and Scandi head may have also made it to the list.
Next comes the casting. There are 3 type of cast that I usually use in a pond, they are the wiggle roll cast, Perry poke and the static roll cast, depending on the condition. I use the wiggle roll cast whenever there is very little backroom and yet I want to get the distance. The first video here shows how the wiggle roll cast is performed.
When there is sufficient backroom for a Skagit cast, then Perry poke will give you the best distance. The video below shows how to perform a Perry poke while standing high on a platform.
If the situation is dire and you are really tight on back room, then the static roll cast will be your only choice. This is where a line like the Wulff Ambush or Skagit I-Flight really shines. Due to high concentration of mass near the tip of the rod, this line gives deep loading even with minimal D-loop and roll cast 50ft - 60ft easily. Below is a video showing the static roll cast.