We hear it a lot. "Ya can't catch fish if your
fly ain't on the water!" Well, let's not be too
hasty here. There may be more to it than that.
Most often the phrase is probably true, but
there are many, many times when it is not.
Presentation. Ah yes, the complete control of
all aspects of casting. Certainly false casting
is one part of casting. Still, the drive to get
the fly right back on the water is strong and I
admit that I have more than once driven my fly
right back to a spoiled take or a stupid miss on
Not what I'm talking about here. First off, when
I am working a dry upstream, or quartering upstream,
I often use exactly the same length of fly line on
successive casts. By holding onto the line with my
left hand, pulling in one long pull, I can make
faster drying false casts due to the shorter line
in the air. Then by returning my hands to the same
place the fly will land exactly where it had before.
This is great for repeat casting over a suspected
spot, or for moving upstream one foot at a time,
which is often my method.
Another time when false casting is needed is when
a very precise cast is desired. There are times
when I will make a cast off to one side or the
other of where I really want my actual cast to go.
I might move it over three or four feet so as to
not line and spook the fish I think are there.
I may make sure that the speed and shape of the
front loop are just right before I turn it loose
on the fish. Again, that is false casting, but
with a definite purpose. Sometimes having the
perfect cast will be required and a few false
casts can go a long way toward that end.
This may surprise some of you but I have done it
for years. Or, you may already do it. When I decide
to move a short way, whether on a stream, or the
edge of an ocean, I just walk along false casting
instead of winding in my fly line and holding onto
I can't begin to count the times when there has been
a rise or a spinner fall and I have simply false cast
as I selected which target to cast to. It keeps the
fly dry and very ready. So, don't be in too much of
a hurry to slap that fly down so you can get a fish.
Take your time with a little false casting; besides,
it's fun too. ~ JC