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May 29th, 2000

Casting Can Be A Picnic
By James Castwell

Each time I am given the opportunity to offer casting instruction or just some pointers in a 'tune-up' situation, I am again reminded how differently each of us casts a fly rod. Think about it, have you ever seen two guys who cast exactly alike? At least I never have. Also, it seems that with any given group, such as a TU or FFF outing, many would really like to be able to cast better, but really don't know how to learn.

The biggest stumbling block is vanity. That inner voice who tries to keep us from making a complete fool of ourselves. It keeps many from practicing casting. But, I am here to tell you that, without exception, when we do any teaching, the group is sure glad they came. Most learned and are all a bit less self-conscious about casting in public.

Here is what I am proposing. Darn near a challenge. Get your group together for some casting fun. Plan for a Saturday, or Sunday event. See if someone will be responsible for a couple of Bar-B-Q's and pass the hat for some chow. Serve the food about noon. Find someone who will take over the duties of running the class and give some good casting instruction. It may be the guy from a local fly shop, or just someone in the bunch who can get the job done.

Make the day fun. Dream up an accuracy contest,(a few old hula-hoops work great) they are a fine leveler of abilities. Distance is fun but tends to be won by the same person most of the time. When I do these things, I supply the rod for the distance event, a mushy, semi-worthless eight weight I bought from a drugstore. It cost $9.95 (not on sale either) Casting from a sitting position at targets is great too, simulates casting from a drift boat. (If you have an actual boat or personal pontoon boat available even better.) All this is on dry land of course. Work it out. Take charge.

Group fishing outings are fun, but a little variety is always good. Some casting games will offer more opportunity for all to get to know each other better and improve their casting at the same time.

Another good point is the swapping of fly rods. Not to keep, just to cast. It becomes a 'big-boys-show-and-tell.' We are all pleased with our stuff and most happy to let someone else get to play with it. And we get to try theirs.

So, go for it. Plan it at the very next meeting. Bring it up under 'New Business.' "Hey, I want to have a casting picnic. Castwell says we should. Anyone willing to give me a hand with this?"

And how about this? Send me an email about how it went, maybe some photos too. I can find a place on FAOL to put it up. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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