Fly Fishing 101, Part 9
Fly Fishing IS Casting!
To cast, or not to fish; that is the question.
If you can't adequately cast a fly line you might as well not fish.
Any kind of fishing is based on learning
something about that kind of fishing, even if it's how to put corn
on the hook. Ten years ago we lived on Flathead Lake in Montana.
Kokanee salmon gathered on gravel beds before spawning. The
local method of fishing them was to use two kernels of white shoe
peg corn threaded on a hook. But the corn had to be threaded on
the hook in one very specific manner. If you put the corn on any
other way, no bites. Really. Now ask me how I know? A guy sitting
in the next boat took pity on us and showed us exactly how. And
then we caught fish.
Success at fly fishing is dependant on
casting, not corn. Joan Wulff probably said it better than anyone,
"if you don't know where the fish lie but can cast well
enough to cover all of the water with finesse, you are likely to
solve the mystery and catch fish. If you know where they lie but
can neither reach them nor present the fly naturally, you are not
even in the game." That's a quotation from her book Fly
It's really quite simple. Anything less
than knowing how to cast well gets you fresh air, maybe sunshine,
and probably a sore arm or shoulder.
I often see people fly casting who
just don't have a clue how to cast. The fly hits the water
both in front and in back of them. The rod travels in a half
circle. Line, leader and fly all hit the water in a heap - with a
splash. What a waste of time and effort. Ultimately fly fishing
for these folks becomes a futile exercise and they quit. We all
expect some reward or pay off from our recreation. Without
reward, even just the pleasure of casting well (which really
is great fun), there is no recreation.
Recreation is an odd word. What it
really means is time spent re-creating ourself. An escape from
whatever we do for a living. An escape from the everyday
For me and thousands of folks, fly
fishing does that. It is an expression of HOPE. In fact, all
fishing is an expression of hope. We "hope" to have a great
time. We "hope" we will catch fish. We "hope" to make a
connection with nature.
So why spoil it with ineffectual casting?
You don't have to. Read a book. Watch a video or two. They
can really help (check the list for both at the end of this.) A
friend who is a pretty good caster may be willing to watch
you cast, and help spot problems. Keep in mind, the absolute
rule: The Rod Has to STOP to Make the Line GO.
Finally, you can take a class. A class
will save you several years of trial and error. Even if you have
your own equipment, your best bet is to take a class where
everything is furnished. We have had people in our classes
who have been casting for years.
We had one gentleman in a class who
was 80! He had used a roll cast all his life. Never figured out
how to do any other casting that worked. Some folks taking
our class just want to learn how to cast a long line. Others
have casting faults they have not been able to correct.
Everything from raw beginners to very experienced.
Wherever your level of ability is, you
can gain enough confidence to cast properly in any situation.
This isn't brain surgery, it's fly
Stop by the Chat Room and meet some fellow anglers. It is a nice
bunch of people - always willing to help with fly fishing problems! Or just share your
fishing adventures. Fair skys and tight lines, ~ DB
Have a question? Email me!