I will assume you have been out in the yard casting. At
this point, one might be generous calling it casting, but
we will anyhow. You may have not bothered with the 'yard
thing' but after that episode on the water the other day
you have now resorted to a little time on the turf. This
fly casting looks so darn easy when you see someone, anyone
else do it. So, what the heck is wrong? Why does yours look
so much 'different.'
I will make another assumption. You are trying to cast,
like it looks like the other guys are casting. Makes sense.
But, it might be one of those ideas that is good, just
happens to be wrong. The human seems doomed to want to
wave a fly rod. I don't know, maybe it was started when
mommy took us to a parade when we were three. There we
toddled, waving that tiny little flag. When you leave
someplace, you wave good-by. Someone leaves, you wave
at them. Waving is drummed into us from an early age
and from every angle.
But, once again, it is I, the great J. Castwell to the
rescue with some more brilliance. Annoying as it might be,
this might be of benefit to your fledgling flapping's.
Even more so if you have had a less than gratifying
experience lately with casting. You make a big swing, a
wave, (a cast?), and not much happens. The rod forms a
circle in the air and your line follows the tip and mostly
piles up in a gobby heap out in front of you. The acid
test of this maneuver is that...if you do it harder...
it gets worse. If possible.
Do this instead. Do not string up the rod. Yes, of course,
put the sections together with the reel on it. Just leave
the line dangle. Hold the cork fiercely, grip it with all
you have. Now, relax your grip and never do that again. It
doesn't work. But, you have had the fun of doing it one last
time. Using now a normal (comfortable?) grip, thumb on top,
the remaining fingers clutching the bottom of the cork,
notice how nice it feels that way. Nice. Comfortable. Relaxed.
That is how it is supposed to be. Get the point yet? This is
going to continue to be fun, pleasant, exciting, rewarding.
And you are going to learn something. Actually you will be
teaching yourself, but that is another matter.
Point your 'new best friend' out in front of you taking care
not to injure yourself, others or bust something. Once satisfied
that you and it are safe, proceed to step two. Look for the
little thing the line goes through right toward you from the
tippy-top. That is a guide. You have several, all on the same
side of the rod. They should be hanging down at this point.
If not and you have the reel on, refer to page 117 to correct
that. Next, 'wiggle' the rod. No, not the whole rod. I want
you to very carefully jiggle, wiggle, flip, jig, whatever,
but make just the end of the rod flip, jump, wiggle, whatever.
Serious here. Just about a foot of rod. Keep at this until
you can make just the end move; back to about the second
Step three. Make the rod pop down and back up just once and
stop. Don't say "huh," do it. Down once and back up to the
starting point and stop...no jiggling. Hint here, your thumb
will play a major part in all of this. Get so you can do this
on command. Make just the tip flex.
Now make the rod flex further back, or down, or toward you,
whatever. About in the middle. One shot. Down and back up.
Don't quit until you can do it. And repeat it on command.
By relaxing your grip you can dampen the rod and keep it
from continuing to wiggle. Play with this freshly gained
knowledge until it becomes wisdom. In other words, make
sure you can and can understand what is happening here.
You are making the rod do what you want it to. Good, Now
we can move on. On to the lawn. String the rod up and pull
about fifteen or so feet of fly line. If you don't nave a
leader on it, stop until you at least tie on about eight
or nine feet of mono, anything, but you have to have
something on it. A little bit of yarn instead of a fly
is cute, but not necessary.
Hold the rod straight up in the air, line dangling. Go
back to the first step, just making the tip of the rod
twitch. Make it twitch hard toward the front. Rather
soon after it has done that, twitch it hard toward the
back. Remember, you are just twitching the tip, not waving
(there is that nasty old word) rod. No, you are not going
to cast that way.
Next make the rod flex more toward the middle of the rod.
This takes more exertion but will pay handsome rewards if
performed correctly. Tie this move with one to the rearward
and you have what will look to the average bystander like
casting a fly rod. Kewl huh? Really, what we are trying to
do here is to get you to make the rod flex. So often we want
to wave the rod when just starting out and by now you realize
that is not a great idea.
Hope this helps you get a handle on flexing the rod some
and you can add it to your casting knowledge. You might
even want to pretend the rod is a big 'Fly-Swatter' and
you are smacking bugs. ~ JC