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March 20th, 2000

The Perfect Cast
By James Castwell

Just as the Holy Grail, the perfect cast seems to elude all who would pursue. Or so it would appear. Who among us has not at some time tried to perform the absolute loop, the ultimate presentation, the delicate delivery, in a word, the perfect cast. In practice it is sought, in dreams it is sought and too, in fishing.

But how can we find that which we can not even describe? Would we know it if we saw it? Indeed, would we recognize the perfect cast if we ourselves actually performed it? Could it be we have already seen it and did not recognize it for it was so well camouflaged with the surrounding elements that it went unrecognized? Certainly, the opposite cast stands out, all too often it would seem. Usually it is executed with an audience in close attendance, just to make sure it does not go un-appreciated.

The perfect cast, however may be not as illusory as it may appear. You see, the cast does not necessarily exist in the realm where it is most often expected to be found. It can be found in the mind of the first day learner as the line goes out smartly for the very first time. "Perfect," is the comment heard while the grinning neophyte retrieves his forty feet of fly line from a lawn.

On a stream, a roll-cast miraculously lands near where it is intended. Again the expletive. As one advances in fly-casting ability and accuracy and distance become more often a result of intention rather than accident, the search for the elusive perfect cast seems to become even more futile. The more one learns and knows of casting, the harder it becomes to make the perfect cast. The absolute, the no-flaws-whatsoever, the not-too-low-in-back, not-to-high-in-front, perfect cast.

The Grail-like hunt continues, for some in competition, in nearly a daily pursuit. Entering many contests and events, practicing endlessly in expectation that at least one of the casts will be exactly right. Yet it never is, not quite. It could have been smoother, perhaps longer, maybe with less sound, better leader roll-out. Always something is lacking. It is an endless search.

It is a bit like a journey toward a destination. The trip is it's own reward. The hours and hours of endless endeavor, all pointed at one singular goal. And if ever attained, to be repeated instantly on the very next cast. How odd, to think that once achieved, we could repeat is instantly. We have been searching for years and assume we could repeat it once found. Strange folks these fly-casters are indeed.

Mike Croft art

Take heart. The perfect cast is everywhere. Like the one the new caster made. At that exact moment it was the very best he could accomplish. No more, no less. Perfect. The best you can make at any given time and combination of abilities will result in your perfect cast. Perfect for that day.

The ultimate perfect cast can be found on the stream or lake. It can be the result of a novice or professional. A neophyte or an expert. If it resulted in a fish taking the fly, how could it have been any better? What more could it have accomplished? What more was expected of it, or for that matter, of you? Yes, the perfect cast masquerades in many guises.

So, relax and rejoice! You have already done many 'Perfect Casts,' at least I think you have. ~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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