This Week's View|
by Deanna Lee Birkholm
May 12th, 2003
Give Them The Back Of Your Hand
Archive of Ladyfisher Articles
I was sitting on a rock next to a spring creek, casting
a dry fly to huge trout. Why sitting? A couple of
reasons, the first being the angle and height of where
I was sitting made me nearly invisible to the fish.
The second, I have a bad ankle from a horse fall years
ago and standing or walking on bowling-ball-sized rocks
wrecks my ankle.
The sitting/stealth part is good. This was pretty open
ground with little for cover, bushes and so forth, although
there were some fly-eating reeds within back-cast distance.
Upstream were a few people, my husband, and some others from
the Fish-In. 'Z' was my gillie. The upstream observers
instructed how many fish were in a lie and where to place
the cast. Casting on demand.
If a particular dry fly didn't get the proper reaction - a
follow or take, 'Z' would hand me another rod with a
different fly. This was really neat! The ultimate in
service to say the least. However the flies became progressively
smaller the longer I fished.
The size of the fish was un-nerving. Big rainbows, fat
and well fed. But they did show interest and I tied into
I wanted you to have a mental picture of the place (check
out the CWFI 2003 on the Fish-In page to see the photos)
because I ran into a common problem. Wind.
The wind came up and was blowing from my right putting my
cast into my head/face...and I had a gillie on the right
hand side as well. I've often advocated learning to cast
with both hands, it really does help to reach some areas
when you are fishing. But in this case, it isn't what I
There is another way! If you are right handed, pretend
you have a rod in your hand and are going to make a normal
cast. Now, roll your wrist to the left so the palm of your
hand is facing out. Can you see the back of your hand?
Where is the tip of your rod? Ah ha! On the left! Where
the wind will blow the cast away from your body/face. It
is called 'casting off-shoulder.' With a little practice
you'll find it very natural and it will enable you to cast
in situations where you would otherwise have to stop fishing.
It isn't as easy to do a double haul with this method, but
even that can be done. For short casts you should not have
a problem at all. Once the cast is made you fish the drift
out as usual, making mends as needed.
You did see the magic word 'practice' right?
A word here on mending line. I made a mental note on how
often I mended line with an upstream cast in this particular
situation. The mend itself is a very small letter "c" maybe
a total of four inches in hand movement, from bottom to top.
But since there was a series of riffles, the mend was made
about every 4 or 5 seconds! That is what it took to stay
drag free on a dry fly. There wasn't a choice.
Fishing for a number of years brings many techniques to
the point of being absolutely so natural you don't think
about doing them, you just do them. It takes a good
fishing trip to make some mental notes I can bring back
to help you with your fishing and catching - and my writing too!
~ The LadyFisher
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