May 6th, 2002

Better Fly Casting
By James Castwell

Jim had a good point, it must have been, I stayed on the phone with him for an hour. I am near Seattle, WA, he is by Chicago, IL. He is a 'world class' competition fly caster. He just won a contest lately, senior mens division, I am 67, Jim is a few years older than I. He had a fantastic time, one of the best pitches he has ever made in his life. But I am getting ahead of myself here. While he was practicing a few days before the event (an ACA sanctioned one) something wonderful and at the same time, very puzzling had happened.

I know it has happened to me, and I'm darn sure it has happened to you, and to all of us more than once when we practice. Things are going about normal, I am working on some particular facet of my casting stroke or whatever and then... a cast goes out... and out.... and out... I have no idea what I did that caused, or in reality, allowed it to happen. The line just sails and goes considerably farther than any others have. I have mentioned this to several top casters, they all have had it happen. Some particular group of elements comes together just exactly right and the result is as close to the perfect cast as the combination is possible of delivering.

Wow! What a feeling. Then we all do this, at least I do. Try as hard (that may be part of the problem) to duplicate the cast. Not a chance, never happen, no way, no how, we keep trying.

But that was not why he called. He wants to help promote competition fly casting, not competition fly fishing, we are not in favor of that, although some may like to watch it on TV, they also like to watch 'Wildest Police Video's too. I do not think competition fly fishing projects a very true image of our recreation. Here was Jim's point and he may have a valid one. We all agree it is a good thing to teach kids to fish, then when old enough, to fly fish. To get them to catch a panfish is about all it usually takes to get them hooked for life, or at least interested in the places where fish live. Jim says lets take it a step further.

There are not many places, especially in our urban centers where a kid can fish for, or have a chance to actually catch a fish of any kind. How about considering just fly casting? Even at the events we go to where there are facilities where kids can catch a trout out of a pond or a tank, why not organize some accuracy and distance events too? A tape measure and a few paper plates are about all that are needed and some guys to help run it. There are actually several 'Casting Clubs' in many of the major cities already, but lets try to get more started in the smaller cities and regions.

Competition is a fine tool for building character and the results will surely benefit any one who learns to cast better. We had a wonderful time at out FAOL Fish-In last year and plan to again. We had a big audience cheering, there was a lot of rivalry tempered with congeniality and humility. We all learned, we were all the better for it. Those who did not enter learned by watching, those who entered learned by participating. There may have been some awards given out, but, there were no losers, we all won. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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