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Tongariro  Roll Cast


Riverstone Fly Fishing Guides Tongariro River

The reason the Tongariro Roll Cast is so effective is that it allows you to create a bigger D-loop than ordinary roll casting, which imparts greater power and distance. You also want to have everything aligned as straight as possible just as when roll casting.

You will find that the closer the anchor is to you the more effortless the cast is. If you use a longer leader and heavier flies then the amount of fly line you need to leave as part of the anchor will decrease, whereas if you are casting a dry fly then you may need to leave a few meters of fly line on the water to provide a sufficiently large anchor with the necessary resistance.

Set up | Set up as though you are going to execute a standard roll cast

Slack line | Drop a heap of slack line onto the water

D-Loop | Sweep the rod behind you parallel to the water and cast the slack into as tighter D-loop behind you as you can

Forward Cast | The rod loads with the fly line moving into a tight D against your rod tip and the anchor, cast your forward stroke

Key Terms

Riverstone Fly Fishing Guides Tongariro RiverLine Stick | Is the water tension that holds the fly line to the water, i.e. when your line is on the water and you go to lift it off you will see a bit of a splash as the line rips clear of water because of the waters resistance against the fly line.

The D-Loop | Imagine you have just cast on the water. Now you lift your rod tip up and point at the sky (12 o’clock). Then a friend walks out into the water 5 meters away and grabs hold of the fly line and walks behind you holding the line up high. This forms D-shape with the rod being the straight bit of the D and the line the loop part of the D-shape.

The Anchor | When you roll cast the fly line, the anchor is the flies and leader that are still touching the water at the time you begin your forward cast.

Line Hauling | Where the non-rod holding hand pulls line toward through the rings during either the forward and/or backward casting stroke creating a tighter loop, a greater load on the rod and therefore a more powerful cast.

Key Points

Riverstone Fly Fishing Guides Tongariro River

Don’t drop the rod tip | When you cast the slack behind you that forms the D-Loop make sure that you don’t drop your rod tip too far allowing any of the slack to touch the water as this will increase the amount of line stick which adds to the size of your anchor and the resistance on the water.

Single & double haul | To achieve the best distance you will need to haul. Haul when you throw the slack out, when you throw the slack back into a D-Loop and when shooting the final cast. If possible shoot/slip line anywhere you can in the setup. I shoot/slip some more into the D Loop.

Keep rod tip low to the water | Make sure that your rod tip is in a low side cast position only 30-60cm from the water, as this speeds up the process and stops the heavy flies sinking and increasing the resistance of the anchor.


Riverstone Fly Fishing Guides Tongariro RiverAlthough you can perform the Tongariro Roll Cast with a broom stick and a bit of rope if you needed to there are better combinations of tackle. A fast action rod will give a longer cast in the end, I am currently using a New Zealand made Composite Developments XLS 8 weight 4 piece rod.

Long belly fly line  | This is the most important part of your setup. The best taper and line I have found so far for my rod is a Cortland 444SL, although any longer belly line is suitable. Consider using a line which is 1-2 weights above your rod rating.

Fly rod of 9 to 10ft | Any standard rod is suitable although beginners may initially find a medium action rod rather than the increasingly popular faster action rods, may offer a gentler learning curve.

Trace, indicator, and flies | Beginners will find it easier to begin with if they remove the flies from the end of your trace and simply tie on a small indicator. As you progress begin to add weighted flies in increasingly gradients as you become more comfortable.

Sunglasses and hat | For peace of mind and safety its a good idea to wear sunglasses and a hat, which gives greater confidence to concentrate on what matters – breaking down and perfecting each of the 4 stages of the casting process.

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