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March 13th, 2000

FLY-CASTING with STYLE
By James Castwell



Me, a few years back
I remember some years back in a creative writing class one of the new guys was giving the instructor some guff as he was being criticized about a class project. Something to the effect of, "I don't want to change that, it's my style!" The reply fairly shot back, "You haven't been writing long enough to have a style, that's terrible! Change it!" And so it is, for a few new to creative writing. No one is willing to give up some presumed latent ability and will hang onto anything that comes up cloaking it under the guise,'style.'

Often the same vanity is displayed by those new to fly-casting. Sure, we don't want to make a spectacle of ourselves and for that reason we often practice in private whenever possible. However, since most new to fly-casting haven't any idea how to improve, most don't practice. They just fish.

And that's fine, as far as that goes. In time though, we all must be seen in public. Therein lies the rub; other fly-casters can see us. So we valiantly cling to our only excuse for our methods. It's our style.

Ask yourself now, have you ever really closely watched some other fly-caster to try to figure out just how he did the things he did? How high he raised his arm, or if he raised it at all? Did he stand up straight or cast bent forward? Use his wrist or his whole arm? See, you need to be observant to improve. If you have noticed these things and tried to copy them you may be in a real quandary. No two cast alike. Doubtful if you will ever see it, just as no two guys are alike. Similar perhaps, but not exactly alike, unless they are twins. We all cast a bit differently. All the necessary elements of the cast are included, but we all have a different way of doing things, in a word, our 'style.'

So you read books, go to fishing shows, try to cast like the 'big-boys' do. Well, stop it! What they have IS style, THEIR style. You will develop yours in time. Time, knowledge, learning, practice and more time, and more practice. Remember, the one thing you do have is time. So take it. Buy the books, go to the shows, hit the fly-shops and work at improving. Improving how you cast, not trying to copy anyone, that won't work.

I once was asked to help a casting instructor with his class. He got out in front, made a few casts and announced, "Now that's how it's done. Do it like that!" Of course none could and were very discouraged. I was very impressed; just not favorably.

Fly-casting style is not something you are born with, it's more like a merit badge or digging a ditch. It takes work and time. For right now, if you are still getting the hang of things, don't worry about how you look, or about your 'style.' You don't have one yet. ~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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