August 18th, 2003

Pick Up and Lay Down
By James Castwell


There are many times when we are asked to try to help a bit with someone's casting. It's surprising how often, when casting, they will make one cast and then drop the fly line on the lawn in front of them. A presentation of some sort. When I ask them to please do some more casting, they repeat the same move by picking up the line from in front of them and with one back cast lay it out in front of them on the grass again.

Since I am trying to get some idea of loop size, loop shape and line speed, this "Pick-up and Lay-down," casting does not help at all. It is, I suppose, understandable that a person might want to make a cast or presentation as quickly as possible, but to do so at the expense of a properly executed cast is not a good thing.

Years ago I overheard one of two owners of a pro-shop explaining to the other about the beginners casting class he had just run. He had them doing the 'Pick-up and Lay-down' for an hour. Cool. That should run them back to spin fishing in a hurry, it for darn sure would me. I know I will hear from some casting instructors on this, but I will say this anyway. I think teaching casting that way is wrong and counter-productive. It does not include any stopping of the rod at any point.

It is possible to get some line to go forward by the simple action of just swinging the rod, but not much. (High-speed Italian underlining method excluded) If the "Pick-up and Lay-down" is taught with a solid stop on each end it might be more acceptable but still does not address the proper mechanics of casting. It tends to show the cast as a two part move, one to the rear and one to the front. Nothing could be more detrimental as this then must be unlearned by the student if he is ever going to actually learn to fly cast. The basic cast is, of course, a four-part move. Even more for the advanced caster. The only place where it may have some value would be for some accuracy practicing.

If you are about to spend a few bucks on some casting lessons, ask what is going to be taught, exactly. Don't settle for a reply of, "Hey, this a great course for the beginner, we cover all the basics!" Make them spell out what each of the parts will be. If they can not, or will not do that, 'Pick-up and Lay-down' your feet. And take your money with you. ~ James Castwell


Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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