May 29th, 2006

Advanced Casting
By James Castwell

Advanced casting is the result of practice. Those who won't practice won't ever get there. One of the worst places to practice, or think you are practicing casting is while fishing. Either you should practice casting or go fishing. Not both at the same time. I know, it seems like you should be able to, but if you are working on your casting, you sure aren't giving fishing a fair shot. Your casting should be automatic when you are fishing. The fish deserve at least that much. It is an insult for them to be caught by a sloppy caster and they feel very sensitive about these things. Being the upstanding guy you are I am sure you wouldn't insult any fish, trout or pan.

So, now that you have decided to uphold your obligations and actually learn how to cast good, what exactly is it you should practice at? Right. You don't have a clue. Good, Honesty is Always the Best Policy. Your casting leaves lots of room for improvement and mostly you hope whomever is watching you never saw 'The Movie!' Now we're getting somewhere. Start here.

At least this year, clean the fly line. Please. It really will help it go through the little thingies on your rod and even help it float (especially if it is a 'floater'). Is there any possibility you can fine a place to practice where your line won't get damaged? A lawn would be nice, a pond or lake or even a river if it is not ripping along at five knots. Actually, those of us top professional expert caster guys have a special line we use for practice (when we do it). No big deal, it's an old line that served it's time on the stream and we replaced it with a dandy new one.

Line control is where it's at. Too many think casting is about the rod. It's about the line. Where it's supposed to go and how to get it there. The rod is only a stick that helps you cast the line. Remember that... cast the line. Let's get started. I am going to presume you are not just reading this and I didn't take my valuable time writing this whole page of wisdom just so you could be entertained. You are going to practice. If you don't you should feel guilty. Don't worry, I will remind you of it when we meet someday. You can show me then how much you have learned. Ok?

Step one. Line cleaned, rod strung, at least nine feet of something resembling a leader (just mono will work most of the time) room to swing the thing, no one looking, especially any close relative or acquaintance. Swing the rod tip around in a big circle like a cowboy with a lariat. This will clear a space for the rest of the practice and convince anyone watching to leave as you certainly have no idea of what you are doing. No one wants to spend time watching an idiot, they can learn nothing. Now that you are truly alone, flip out about twenty or twenty-five feet of line in front of you and just let it lay one the ground (or whatever it is on). With the tip of the rod make little circles while sweeping the rod from in front of you off to your right side. This will cause little hoops or coils of line to form and run on the ground (water, or whatever) as you sweep the rod along.

This will not be of any real value but, I just want to see if you can follow directions. They are kinda of cute and you can impress others with this someday when you actually learn how to cast better. It may help to graphically demonstrate however that the line goes where ever the tip of the rod does. I suppose that could be of some value after all, who knows.

After you have entertained yourself with your newfound skill try to get more serious and lets start learning something that may make our casting even better. Loops. Big ones, medium ones and little ones; on command. You're in control though, but that is the next thing for you to try. I know you can cast some, but you are here to become an advanced caster guy, right? So let's advance. Make a big loop with the fly line in the air. Big loop. How do you do that? By swinging the rod more and not stopping it as much as you are supposed to.

Now make the loops out in front of you gradually tighter, smaller narrower. Just a little at a time. You will find that the more you use the tip of the rod and stop the rod the tighter they will become. In fact, if you stop the rod sharply enough you can actually make the line twist around itself on the way forward. That is also called a tailing loop. It is good to know how to make one so you can understand how not to make one. Sometime when you may be fishing and are trying really hard to make a cast and find that the harder you try the worse it gets (more tailing loops) you will understand not only what went wrong but how to fix them.

Now that you have mastered the big and small loops in your forward casts do the same thing in your back casts. I know, it's not all that easy, but I have confidence in you. You can do this. Get with it. These are just a couple of the things you need to be on the road to becoming a competent caster. Who knows, some day even an advanced caster. There is always the underhanded flip-thru-the-loop reverse delivery high-hopping presentation cast I am so famous for. Now, that is advanced. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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