February 3rd, 2003

A Different Stance on Casting
By James Castwell

You have seen the riser, forty feet upstream. Carefully you enter the water, easing your way into position for a perfect presentation. The clear water shows you exactly where you can step, crouching slightly forward as you strip out the required fly line, never taking your eyes from the widening rings of yet another insect becoming dinner. The conditions are just right, no wind, plenty of room for a back-cast, a trout upstream unaware of your presence...

Ya, right. Like you think that will ever, even just once, happen? In your dreams perhaps, but rarely while you are fly fishing. That stuff is what happens to those fancy guys who write the pretty picture books on the shelves at the fly shops. For guys like you and I it just doesn't happen that way. My day would be more likely to be this way. The fish is a long cast, across stream, bushes behind me, lard covered rocks and a small hurricane developing.

So when I practice my fly casting, what do I do. You guessed it. And we used to teach it that way too, back when we had the school out here. Often the new students would look a bit concerned with the wind at our facilities, often at least ten to fifteen miles per hour or more. But, it really helps to practice in such a breeze. First off, you most often will be fishing in some wind. You need to learn to handle it. Facing into it will help you with your back-cast, makes it nice and straight. Casting with the wind gives you practice on driving a hard tight loop into your back-cast, without doing so, things fall apart fast. Remember, wind is our friend, slack is our enemy; wind can help reduce slack.

Now, sure it is fun to stand up nice and proud and look like a ballerina with a fly rod, feels good and impresses some folks...but, it won't catch fish. Nope, you need to get into all kinds of goofy positions and figure out how to make a cast. Really try to make it hard for yourself. If you can still make a good cast one way, make it harder. You may just be surprised at how good you really are. Getting confident now, switch to the opposite hand, that should spice up your game some. You will never get good with out trying different things.

True, there are many times when you can actually stand with some degree of comfort and cast, more often than not, but, there are times when it is not even remotely possible. Here is just one example from a month ago in the Bahamas. We spotted a few bonefish at the four o'clock position, with me standing in and facing the bow of the boat, that would be behind me to my right. The guide went ballistic when I started my false casting at the ten o'clock position. (It was easier and faster than turning tight to my right and getting into the right position for the cast) Two false casts to the ten o'clock target and one delivery on my back-cast dropped my fly right on target. One cast, one bonefish. Had I fiddled around trying to get into a better position for the cast the fish would have been long gone.

Experiment with all kind of casting positions, change your feet, how much and how far you lean, or bend or whatever. Make a game out of it. You can only improve. Here is a picture of a little boat taken at a Fish-In. The caster had to sit while two guys rocked the boat as he cast. It was an accuracy contest. Six hula-hoops arranged at different distances. It was won by the oldest guy there (also had fished the most). Point made. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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