July 10th, 2006

A Few Good Things
By James Castwell


Like the proverbial British pint, I usually see it as half full, not half empty, and because of that I seem to notice when good things happen; because, mostly, I expect them to. The 'eternal optimist' I am not, but I have been close to it most of my life. I was once accused of "going through life with a fly rod in my hands and my head in the clouds." One pleasant thing appeared on the bulletin board today. Simple thing really, just a fellow saying thanks but important to me any time. Why he said it is also important. He thanked me for something, as with most of the things I write about, that I have no idea where it came from. I may have outright stolen it. Or where ever I got it from, they may have swiped it too. I can't remember where most of this stuff came from. Just picked it up I guess.

It was a simple thing about how to stop a fly rod by hitting it against your hand. One of the silly little things I sometimes recommend to help learn casting. So simple in fact that rarely will anyone ever actually do it when they just read about it. But, she did. The 'she' is his wife and 'she' was new to fly fishing. And 'she' stopped her rod that way and it worked and 'she' caught brookies. Now, 'that' is important.

I write about all kinds of things to do or try for casting and fly fishing and for the most part they are all just little things we all know and do automatically. I know there are no really important ones, because I don't know any really important ones.

Well, how do I rank 'important'? To a new person starting out with his first fly rod and he is swinging it like a rug-beater, I guess stopping the rod could be considered important. But, what I am trying to get through to you is that I am not any great caster or fly fisher. Sure, I am better at it than some, good grief, half a century should make anyone a little better. But, I am not one of the top casters or one of the celebrity fly fishermen/persons.

I find it interesting to read on the web and in magazines about how advanced some folks have become. Well, hat's off to them. I never did have what it took to reach those levels of perfection. Glad I didn't either. Might be too busy looking behind me to see who is catching up. Anyone who has ever seen me cast or been to one of our casting clinics understands what I mean. That it's just fly casting. Get over it. It's a stick with a string and a gob of feathers. I may on one hand be serious, but I always take a humorous attitude about it.

Those who join us in Michigan will see quite a 'performance' on Wednesday afternoon and the program that evening. I will share a life time of trivia with anyone with nothing better to do that day. Ok, I can cast a full fly line out of the end of a rod and cast two rods in different directions at the same time with different sized loops and double-haul back and forth with either hand but so what. If you can't, it's because you haven't taught yourself to do it. I did just because it's fun. I enjoy it. Certainly is not because I have any talent of any sort. And most of it is just for fun, not worth anything while fishing. If you want to do those things, go out and start doing them. Trust me, I know some of the guys who actually have talent. I've seen them cast. Some of the world champions. They are very, very good. Those are the ones who do have skill and talent both.

Just remember, you can get darn good at all of this without talent. Just work at what ever part of fly casting you want to. If I can do it, you can do it.

Sometimes I feel that FAOL is doing an injustice to the fly fishing community. We are making fly fishing information much too easy to find and use. When I get that feeling though, I always try to remember those web sites that are run by absolute idiots who think they are the great gift to the fly fishing world. Reading their blather is sickeningly humorous. The problem is that a few actually try to follow their dictates and that does kind of even things up some. We may take some too far, too fast; they set them back a few years.

Anyway, back to the nice things. They are the times when something I have said or written about has actually been used or tried, and in reality did help a bit. Often you, "get what ya pay for;" well, I don't charge much. I wish you could see the email we get thanking us. We are humbled by them, and continually grateful that we are in a place where we can share and offer a place for you to share too. The site is rewarding in itself, but a simple thank you for 'such and such' and that it worked and that 'she caught some brookies.' Those go a long, long way.

Hey, how much better does it have to get? ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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