May 19th, 2008

Castwell Casting
By James Castwell

The stream was only about twenty-five wide, flowing from my left to my right, but the wind was coming up and from my casting hand side. Perfect place for an almost automatic left-hand curve cast. Unfortunately the only person I impressed was myself. But those casts did look great.

I was at the throat of the first pond at Rocky Ford spring creek on Mother's Day weekend. A motley crew had assembled for our annual 'Central Washington Fish-In,' and this day most had actually gone to some lakes for some giggle-fishing (C&R panfish), so my wife and I had this area all to ourselves. She had crossed a small bridge and set up shop right across from where I was fishing but she was casting into the wind, out onto the pond itself and I was concentrating on the flow starting it.

There were some dandy rainbow there, most of the time I could see the fish and would be trying to present my size 20 bwo so it would neither drag nor sink nor scare the bejeebers out of any when it had swung through its drift and I picked it back up for another cast. I was standing on a sloping bank and you can see her in some pictures I took from where I was fishing.

OK, so my casts were good. After all these years they better be. I was using a Sage ultra-fast TCR because I (make that, we) needed often there to drive our casts into or alongside of the wind in this spring creek valley. Now, these 'bows' were all pretty big. Bigger than many of are used to finding. Well, at least I am used to finding. Small would be sixteen to eighteen inches ranging up to whoppers of twenty-eight. Most of the ones we caught ran around eighteen to twenty four. Remember, barbless little size twenty bwo.

To make it all possible we used a hunk of really stretchy (Frog-Hair) tippet material. The fish never got anything much to pull against. That's a good combination and we have done that many times in the past. We are fortunate to have a wide range of rods to choose from. Yes, it does make a difference. And I still admire the guy who fishes for everything using just one rod. Those guys are good. They have to be.

Anyway, I would make my cast quartering about forty degrees upstream, stop the rod just enough to make the line straighten out in the air and recoil enough to give me some controlled slack for the middle of the stream, while allowing the wind coming from my right hand side to blow the fly to the left; upstream. Throw a quick small roll-cast mend upstream and drop the rod tip and control the slack. Lord, those casts were text book.

But there is a problem to doing it that way. Accuracy. It can leave a little to be desired. Why is it that when I, and several guys I personally know, why is it that when we make a cast and the fly doesn't go exactly (I mean, to the inch) of where we think it should, we want to rip it up and re-cast it? I know I am not alone on this. I have asked around, even on this last FI. Yup, they all admitted the feeling is there.

Don't get me wrong, I don't do it anymore, but that old urge is still there. Fish them out. I know most of you do that but I wanted to make a point of it for the newbies and a reminder for us old birds. I am not going to say, "How many times I have caught good fish on the end of a swing of a broken cast," but I am sure I have. I do know of one for sure. My dry Adams type fly sunk at the end of the drift and some fish took it about two inches under water. Humiliating.

Anyway, fish out those broken casts for both reasons. You probably won't scare any nearby fish and you just might catch one. After all, when you have a really good, high riding, dragless dry fly out there, why not leave it there? So it's not in exactly the best spot according to you. Big deal. You could get lucky. Fish them out.

I fished from this spot for at least half an hour, Deanna had caught a nice bow from here a few minutes before me and I liked the conditions. Those were some of the finest, best presented, well mended casts I have ever done. Never got a hit, but did see one nice one drift back under it for about two feet and then stick his nose back down and wiggle back to his resting place. Like I said, I never had a hit from there, but it was mid day, the fish were full from the morning, the sun was high, the hatch was over and the spinner fall had not started and the solunar tables were in bad shape and I was not wearing my lucky argyle socks.

I had a great time. Actually did catch some fish at various other spots on the creek, just not right there. Had a nice chat with a guy and his wife who drove into the parking lot but could not fish as they could not buy a fishing license. It seems that on Sunday, Mothers Day, the state of Washington's computer system (where you buy your licenses) was 'down.' No one could buy one anywhere in the state they told us. They were not really happy about fact. They had fished there for several years and were astounded when I told them I had been using a dry fly. No kidding. They always used scuds and didn't know that these fish could be caught on dries.

I also was informed that I should fish here in the winter, January is best, the wind blows hard and it knocks the scuds off of the grasses growing along the shore line. The fish go on a feeding frenzy all day long. See, I learn something new every day.

Oh, by the way, I have removed the posting from the Bulletin Board. It was getting out of control and I was only kidding when I suggested a banding project for mayflies to follow their mating habits. And the guy who put up the posters of a 'found cat' and used the pictures of a possum made my day. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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