January 15th, 2007

Why We Cast This Way
By James Castwell


This last week I posted on the BB about a statement I sometimes make about how a person casts. The comment is connected to times when I might be helping someone with his fly-casting. I have no idea why it is so often right. I will say in effect, "Is there any chance you learned to cast on a Fenwick?" Almost always I am right. Please do not think I am trying to take any credit for anything wonderful here. I am not. But, what the heck do I see in the casting that makes me think they learned on one?

Could it all just be racked up to luck? Suppose it could be, but I have been doing it for several years and truthfully, I cannot remember a time when I have been wrong. Spooky stuff. And I am not saying I could ever make the right call again. But there have been witnesses to some of them. And then there are the guys themselves who have said yes, they did.

Often these fellows have been casting for many years. They are at some function and they ask if I can help them a little. For the most part the loops are rather wide and there is not a whole lot of 'stopping' going on. The stroke is that of using a moderately slow rod. Perhaps they just never bought any rod that did not cast any differently.

Now, I remember when those rods came out and what a hit they were. But the industry moved on and new tapers and materials came to market. New companies popped up and competition grew rapidly. The trend was to faster and faster rods, other than cane of course. Anyway, they come to me with a slow style and an open loop. Maybe it's just that anyone from the era back then had to learn on a Fenwick, that's about all there was, at least in those kind of rods and price range.

My style has changed a lot. But, that has been on purpose and I have made a career of learning as many as I could and trying to teach when I had a chance. In fact, I don't think I have any particular style to my casting at all. I just do whatever is needed to get the fly out where I want it to go.

It may be that many have concentrated on the fly fishing and not much on the fly-casting part and so are great fishermen, but have not developed a lot of casting abilities. For me, there is not much to equal a perfectly presented fly; a very, very rewarding experience. It is more of an intellectual experience than an athletic exercise however.

My first fly rods were cheap cane and collapsible tubular steel. Not in the same rod, two cane and two steel ones. Slow would not be a descriptive word. Dead perhaps. Heavy would be another good one. But, who knew? Certainly not me. I was thrilled with them and proud too. After all they were fly rods and I was a fly-fisher. Perhaps why I still like a cane rod and even a smooth glass one.

How I ever developed an affection for the fast ones, who knows. But, I did and for some things, the faster the better. Nice crisp tip action. Just flick the wrist and the rod shoots the line out like a snakes tongue. So, does all this mean that it does not matter what we learned on? I guess it might. If it makes you think a bit on where you came from and how you got to where you are now, that might be a good thing too. I hope so.

Sometimes just being aware of things can help. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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