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Fly Casting Safety Considerations

Updated on March 12, 2011

You will already have picked up that I'm a firm believer in anglers wearing polarizing glasses at all times, because you can see so much more through the surface of the water. When fly casting, this is especially important, as you want to target your fish as accurately as possible. They also help you to see the river bed when wading, and may prevent you stepping into a deep hole! 

The eye protection that glasses offer is vital, too. Remember that you have a hooked artificial fly traveling round and round your head and body all day long, frequently at great speeds. There is that ever-distinct possibility - however remote - that a gust of wind could blow it directly at your face. I've seen people with hooks in their noses and ears, and I've had one in my scalp. That's bad enough, hut the thought of a hook in the eye... wear those glasses.

To avoid hooking yourself, always check wind speed and direction. Be very wary of a wind that is blowing the fly line actually toward you. If you're right-handed, this obviously means a wind coming from the right. Try to avoid such a situation, especially when you're a beginner.

Once again, as in nearly all forms of fishing, use a barbless hook or flatten the barb when you're fly fishing. Should anything go wrong, a barbless hook slips out with relatively little pain or fuss.

Always check above and behind you for any power lines. Remember how easily electricity is conducted through carbon.

When you are fly fishing, always be aware of anybody moving behind you along the bank. Never risk that quick cast before they arrive, just in case you get your timing wrong. 

Whenever you move position, it's a good idea to look behind you to see if there are any problematic trees or bushes... or livestock! I've actually seen a young bullock hooked in the ear and run off all the line and backing! 

If you're wading on a river or Stillwater, it's frequently tempting to go out just that little bit further and deeper to reach rising fish. Do this very, very carefully, and always make sure that you're well within your depth. If you are wading, it's a good idea to have a wading stick with you to act as a third leg for balance, and also to be able to test depths in front. Be extra careful if there is a rapid current.

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