How to cast a fly in a strong wind
FLYLINES: Dealing with the wind is about technique; but the effort required to improve casting skills is wasted unless matched with well-balanced tackle. Fly lines should be of the correct weight to deal with the conditions. Casting in a strong wind with light 5wt and 6wt lines can be difficult but can easily be rectified by scaling up to a 7 or 8wt. Weight forwards perform well in many situations, but double tapers, displaying a wide profile throughout most of their length, can penetrate the air, especially in a head-on wind – the extra stiffness of the line helping to turn over the leader (tapered leaders will also help with presentation).
ROD: A rod with a fast action aids presentation, but it’s casting technique that determines the outcome.
Use a short length of line when casting into the wind for the first time. A high back cast will be needed to angle the fly correctly on the forward presentation and this can be easily achieved by leaning forwards as the cast is made.
The tilted angle of the body will allow the rod to stop high and the line will follow. As with all casting, be smooth and do not try to overpower the back cast.
Allow the line to straighten as usual and load the rod. It is also worth learning to haul, as this will provide extra line speed.
Make a forward stroke that will be angled downwards due to the stance, creating a loop that slices through the air with ease. In calm conditions this would create a splash but during windy sessions the impact of the line will not be noticed.
Don’t shoot any line into the forward cast; instead hold it back with the line control hand, a technique that works particularly well on the final presentation. Checking the line in this way stops the bottom leg of the loop from moving, causing the top leg to turn over efficiently. Much the same effect is produced when the line extends fully against the reel.
Above all, don’t overstretch and reach out for distance in windy conditions. Seldom will the fish be at range.
There is other advice on the same web page that deals with back and side winds.