September 1st, 2003

Shake it Baby!
By James Castwell

When we get into this fly fishing game we soon discover that there seems to be a whole lot of things about casting we don't completely understand. The truth is we may not have even reached the point that if we heard the answers we would know what the questions were. But little things like that do not get in our way and off we go, whacking away at the streams and ponds with great delight. We fish a lot, cast a lot, catch a fish on occasion and have a wonderful time. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Then we read something or bump into some well-meaning individual and discover we have been 'doing it all wrong!' Be not dismayed, you have not been doing anything wrong at all. As long as you were doing the best you could with what you had to work with, gear and knowledge, you were doing just dandy.

"But," you say, "I want to get better!"

Relax, you will. It takes time to learn some of this stuff and correctly apply even part of it. That is the fun, the allure of all of this. Fly fishing is an ongoing learning and discovering avocation. If you ever run into someone who claims to know all about it, run like hell. Little or nothing can be gleaned from a fool.

However, you say you want to improve some. Alright, by now you have heard or finally learned that your fly line makes a terrible amount of commotion on the water if you just rip the spent cast up and back. Somewhere it is written, "just get the line moving first," and that will keep the surface explosions down. Neat, so just how are you exactly to do that? Let me try to take you gently by the hand here and help you unbolt your training wheels.

When you start the rod back and start the back cast (lifting the line from the water) give the rod tip a gentle little shake back and forth. It doesn't have to be violent, in fact it will be in direct relation to the amount of fly line on the water. The more line, the harder you shake the rod tip.

The idea here is to get little wiggles of line going down the slack from the rod tip to the water. As they run out the line just lift it from the surface nice and smooth as a babies bottom. There are other ways to accomplish this but for now, play with this one, I have for over sixty years now and am getting fairly proficient at it. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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