I read more in the winter than the rest of the
year, weather I suppose is mostly responsible. I
like stories of and by the old guys of our sport,
so I read mostly old books. Then it happens, I read
something new and get cranky.
Conflict. I do not read for conflict, I read for
enjoyment. But, what I see these days conflicts with
what I read and it bugs me. So, I come in here and
write this stuff for us to think about and spread
some of the conflict around. Makes me feel better.
You ever read any of the old books about fly-fishing?
The ones where a few guys hang out in a log shack on
the edge of a little known brook for the spring opener?
Great stories. Great writers. Great times.
Often it will turn out that some new guy will arrive
and have never been fly fishing in his sheltered
life. The first day on the water old Doc takes
the fledgling aside for a few minutes until he
can get a fly out past his waders. Doc pats him
on the shoulder, sends him upstream 'to fish the
riffle,' and doesn't see him until lunch. By the
third day or so our hero can get his fly about
anywhere he feels it is needed. No big deal. He
fishes, casts, loses some, lands some and floats
his hat surviving a dunking.
The emphasis is on anything except casting. What
time to get up in the morning, where to crawl out
for lunch, when to change flies for the evening,
how late to fish, talk of flies like the 'Royal
Coachman' winding down with lies, cigars and
bourbon following dinner.
Today things are different, now they arise in a
motor-home, enjoy a perfectly turned omelet, take
the ATV up stream, sling-cast their way down to
the lunch/picnic area, find the water bottle,
brie and crackers and veggie sandwiches. The
fly of the day is the 'Woolly-bugger,' the evening
is spent in town at a non-smoking Steak house, then
back for the night to the great outdoors of the
mini-winnie. Watching a campfire thru its window
can be lovely, no bugs.
How would any newby even consider such an outing
without at least a full week of casting instruction
by a professor of casting and other certifiable
doings. You are made to feel like a rag-picker if
you don't take every lesson offered by the local
My dear friends, (I do that for extreme emphasis)
that is not what fly-fishing is all about. It's not.
It's about lots of things and casting is only a very
small part. If you can get your fly out in front of
you most of the time, hurray. If it lands in a mess,
so be it, you get a nice drift that way. If you plop
it down and it scares a fish, you will teach yourself
how not to do that. If you hang it in a tree, fine.
You will have the fun of buying some more or maybe
even learning how to tie the things. It won't come
overnight, but it will come.
All this whoopty-do about casting is way overblown.
Do you need improvement? Probably, but it will come,
and at whatever speed you want it to come. You will
learn, (make that teach yourself) how to fish and
cast for the places and conditions you face. As
time goes on you will expand both your fishing
areas and abilities to match them.
I'm not saying to not get help, if there is some,
go for it. But, if none is readily available, go
for that too. Time on the water, time by yourself
and time itself will answer many of your questions. ~ James Castwell