There are two schools of fly casting instruction that dominate fly fishing. One method is espoused by Mel Krieger and Joan Wulff. The other is espoused by Lefty Kreh and others. They are quite different in some respects, and very similar in others. It pays to note that world Fly Casting champion Steve Rajeff uses the Krieger/Wulff method of casting.
In the Krieger method of casting, the rod remains close to vertical through the entire cast, only dropping as the cast is delivered. It maintains the 10-2 casting stroke as most efficient. The elbow is mostly stationary during the cast, with only the forearm and wrist moving to propel the fly line. The wrist hinges to deliver energy to the rod, and the concepts of line control remain the same. The line must be extended behind you before starting forward- the line must be extended in front of you before starting a back cast.
The Kreh method of casting differs in these ways. The rod is held at an angle to the body, and the elbow is not stationary. The upper arm, forearm and wrist are all involved in the cast, with a longer motion through the body. During the elongated casting stroke, the wrist hinges from 10-2.
At the Missoulian Angler, we have employees who are proponents of both casting styles. It’s a matter of style, not substance. Each employee has their reasons for using the particular method, and most casts are a combination of both styles. We feel it’s important to know both styles, and then pick and choose the parts you like and work for you!
Most beginners will be shown the Krieger/Wulff method of casting. It has less moving parts (elbow stationary) and is quickly grasped by beginners. The main difficulty lies in the fact you can’t watch the line on your back cast, and you’re doing it all on feel. The Kreh method is not taught as often, due to the relative complexity of the cast. With a moving elbow, more places are introduced where the cast can have problems. Krieger for simplicity, Kreh for comfort.
Wondering how this relates to your casting instruction? If you click here to go to How To Cast If You Spinfish, you’re going to find the method shown is the Krieger/Wulff school of casting. If you click here to go to How To Cast A rod If You’ve Never Held One Before, you will find the Kreh school of casting. We think at some point, you should click on both links, and learn as much about casting as you can!