Publishers Note: Castwell was unable to produce a
new column this week, so here is an oldie.
"Well, you're back, good. I hope my last article
got you wound up and ready to learn how to get
really, really, good at casting. Now, forgive me, but if
you wanted that, you would have gone out and
bought some of those books on casting. In fact, you
probably already have a few. There are some very
good ones; some less than, some more than, but for
the most part they all do the job. Yet, for some
reason you feel that just maybe you can pick up
something in all of this.
I write this remembering being humiliated by
more than one good caster. Once was at
Scientific Anglers in Midland, Michigan. I was new to
the sport and lived only a few miles from them, so
over I went. Friendly? I should say. The "Big-Guy"
grabbed a flyrod and we went out front onto a casting
platform over their pond. Well, he cast some line -
then some more line -- then the whole line --- and
then a whole bunch of the backing! Jeeze!
I tried not to look too impressed, but the truth is
I nearly gave up the sport. But, I didn't. I stayed with
it. I learned, practiced, worked, got better, started
helping a few friends, got even better. That's how I
got into teaching.
Then, there was the time at our camp on the
AuSable river. One of the guys showed up with a new
Russ Peak rod and proceeded to show us what he
could do with it. My friend, it was a humbling
experience. He was casting side-arm over sage brush
and he laid out the whole line in about four casts. I
couldn't do that. I'm not so sure I could do it today.
He was good. He had "IT," whatever "IT" is. He later
went on to run the fly-fishing end of 3M.
Are You At Your Best?
Some people seem to have an ability to do things
that we mere mortals just don't have. Like golf,
tennis, or playing the piano. All we can do is to try
really hard and be content with our best. Good
enough to get it out there and catch a few fish, but
never spectacular. Well, that's life; that's the way
things are. I told you last time that I'm not a great
It's true, but I am a good one. In fact a pretty
darn good one. But, I'll never be great.
And you know what? It's O.K. with me. Perhaps
it wasn't years ago, but it's OK, now. The fact is, I
had to work pretty hard to get where I am now. But,
I'm glad I did. It has all been more than worth it.
It does feel good to cast a smooth line, an
accurate cast, a darn good loop, and sometimes, a
heck of a long one. And, you can do it too. But it does
take practice, and for some of us, a lot of practice.
I've cast with, fished with, and even guided some
world class casters and fly fishermen. They're no
different from you and me. They're just a little better
at casting, and they got there the hard way, they
worked at it.
Don't hold back. Find out how good you really
are. Maybe you're one of them. Work, practice,
learn, read, study, and then, think about what you're
doing while you practice. Don't just go out and whip
your flyrod around.
Analyze What You're Doing
Watch your line, rod, reel, and hand at all
degrees of the cast. Put a name on each element of
your cast. If something isn't working, don't try
harder; CHANGE IT! Trying harder could even make
it worse; change something! Maybe just the
placement of your feet.
Now, here's a question for you:
Are you casting the flyrod or the fly line?
Is your flyrod a lever to sweep the line around,
or is it simply a somewhat stiff part of the line?
Analyze what you're doing. Have someone watch
you. Tell them that you are going to try to cast just
like the books say.
Nice tight controlled loops; front and back.
Powerful stop on the back cast.
The correct amount of reach-back drift.
No slack in your pick-up as you come forward.
A good accelerating forward motion to a solid
The perfect cast! You can do it! We need more
good casters, you may be one of them. Becoming
aware; putting names on each of the actions of
casting, studying and improving each; that's the start
of teaching yourself to cast well. ~ JC