Fly Fishing 101, Part 10
Do you remember an old safety rhyme
from your childhood? Stop, look and listen before
you cross the street ... I've used this phrase in an attempt to put
the basics of fly casting into a form you can remember. No
matter how good you become at casting, there are days when
things just don't seem to work. Not that it ever happened to me
personally, of course. (Yeah right!) But I do hear about these things.
Go back to the basics. STOP. You
have to stop the rod for the line to go. LOOK. Watch the
loops of fly line. Practice making a big letter "C" loop. Then
work on the tight letter "J" loops. Lefty Kreh (one of fly fishing's
more noted authors, who has probably taught more people to
cast than anyone) teaches an exercise to his students that helps
the caster have a better understanding of the relationship between
the casting stroke and the line. Remember, what happens in the
stroke and the resultant action of the line is up to you. Neither
the rod, nor the line has any life of it's own. You impart the life.
Here is Lefty's exercise: With about 30
feet of line, make a couple of normal casts. Now try to come
really close to the tip of your rod with the end of your leader
(without actually hitting the rod). Play around with this. It will
show that in trying to come really close to the tip with the line,
you have to use a short stroke. Don't just read about doing it:
I've already given out the third part of
the basics. It is LISTEN. You can find out a lot by listening
to your casting. Most folks will do the back-cast so you don't
hear anything but the line itself. But on the forward cast there
may be a "whoosh" sound. That whoosh sound relates to making
a proper stop on the cast. The cast becomes a wave instead of
a casting stroke.
Without the stop, (a hard stop) the sound
is just the rod traveling through the air. Another of the big names
in teaching fly fishing, Al Kyte in California, teaches basically the
same elements to casting. The exception is when his students are
making an acceptable cast, he tells them to make the same cast
but use half the effort. Relax.
This is supposed to be fun, not aerobics.
Once learned, fly casting is something you can do for the rest
of your life. I don't think I said it was easy to learn. Listen for
the whoosh. No whoosh? Terrific.
This is very basic casting, but enough
to get you out there. Of course, there are lots of other things
about casting to learn. We will work on those in the future.
What we have covered will allow you to develop your casting
and maybe even catch a fish.
Not everything works for everyone, but
I had a student who was a harpist. She used a pair of golf
gloves to fly cast. She felt she had a better grip on the rod
and line with them.
Back to the videos
I mentioned last time. Go out and rent anybody's casting video.
I would like you to watch it twice. Once with the sound turned off.
Look for the basic elements we have been working on. Watch it
again with the sound on.
All instructors have different teaching methods.
Sometimes using a different phrase or name for a movement or
action makes more sense to an engineer type than it does to a poet.
Give it a shot. Maybe the light will turn on.
Stop by the Chat Room and meet some fellow anglers. It is a nice
bunch of people - always willing to help new fly fishers! Or just share your
fishing adventures. Fair skys and tight lines, ~ DB
Have a question? Email me!