January 15th, 2001

Twenty-five Years Ago
By James Castwell


The date said January 1976. It was an old copy of Outdoor Life I had saved for some reason or other and I came across it as I was cleaning out some shelves making room for some new books. I poke things away figuring I may someday need them and have a few select copies of some sporting type magazines in my 'library.' As I was chucking out things I didn't figure I would ever need again, I wondered why I had saved this one. There at the bottom of the cover was my clue. "6 experts tell their flycasting secrets!'

This could be interesting. On page fifty-five there it was, a whole bunch of stop-motion pictures of a guy flycasting. A great article by a friend of mine, Jerry Gibbs. He did a bang-up job, very complete and some fantastic stroboscopic runs by Leonard Kamsler of various casting methods. He is a fine writer now and was even way back then; pretty fair caster too.

So, I wondered what may have changed in the last quarter century of flycasting. He had interviewed, at length, six well known fly-fishers of the day; Stu Apte, Leon Chandler, Lefty Kreh, Mark Sosin, Bob Stearns and Leon Martuch. It was a lengthy feature covering several pages of text and some pictures which went clear across both pages. He even included a short interview with Doug Swisher of 'Swisher and Richards' renown.

They covered all aspects of flycasting. They left nothing to chance, spelling out each element of a successful cast, how to do it right and how to keep from doing it wrong. Six of the best in the world, they covered it all.

Nothing, nothing has changed. Not a thing in the last twenty-five years, not a darn thing. With all the tremendous advances in equipment and technology, there has not been anything new in flycasting! Some fly rods you stroke like a kitten, some you punch and others require finesse; each rod and situation requiring it's own unique application for the time and place. We still have the 'tailing-loop,' Lefty still reaches back, Stu still likes to fish blue water, and Chandler still pesters trout and bonefish when ever the chance permits.

Well, maybe something has changed after all, something which effects flycasting. It has become easier. Easier to cast thirty feet, it takes less effort with the new rods. It's less work to fly-cast all day, the rods weigh less, load faster and deliver the fly more efficiently. Fly lines are better now, they float higher, sink faster, stay cleaner longer and require even less care than back then.

I have watched many of the best in the world perform with their fly-rods and it has often occurred to me that as each has a unique 'style,' the exacting necessary elements of the cast were always present. They were just performed a little differently, or faster, or slower, or harder, or softer, or smoother, or sooner, or later, or higher, or lower, but never exactly the same. That is why they are all differently trying to obtain the same results. Because they are all different. So are you. We call it 'style,' we each have our own. Right or wrong, for better or worse, we all try to accomplish the same thing our own way; and so it should be. The art of fly fishing is unique to all of us. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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