July 26th, 2004

False Casting
By James Castwell

We hear it a lot. "Ya can't catch fish if your fly ain't on the water!" Well, let's not be too hasty here. There may be more to it than that. Most often the phrase is probably true, but there are many, many times when it is not.

Presentation. Ah yes, the complete control of all aspects of casting. Certainly false casting is one part of casting. Still, the drive to get the fly right back on the water is strong and I admit that I have more than once driven my fly right back to a spoiled take or a stupid miss on my part.

Not what I'm talking about here. First off, when I am working a dry upstream, or quartering upstream, I often use exactly the same length of fly line on successive casts. By holding onto the line with my left hand, pulling in one long pull, I can make faster drying false casts due to the shorter line in the air. Then by returning my hands to the same place the fly will land exactly where it had before. This is great for repeat casting over a suspected spot, or for moving upstream one foot at a time, which is often my method.

Another time when false casting is needed is when a very precise cast is desired. There are times when I will make a cast off to one side or the other of where I really want my actual cast to go. I might move it over three or four feet so as to not line and spook the fish I think are there. I may make sure that the speed and shape of the front loop are just right before I turn it loose on the fish. Again, that is false casting, but with a definite purpose. Sometimes having the perfect cast will be required and a few false casts can go a long way toward that end.

This may surprise some of you but I have done it for years. Or, you may already do it. When I decide to move a short way, whether on a stream, or the edge of an ocean, I just walk along false casting instead of winding in my fly line and holding onto the fly.

I can't begin to count the times when there has been a rise or a spinner fall and I have simply false cast as I selected which target to cast to. It keeps the fly dry and very ready. So, don't be in too much of a hurry to slap that fly down so you can get a fish. Take your time with a little false casting; besides, it's fun too. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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