J. Castwell
October 6th, 1997

Off-hand Casting

Let's take a little trip. The place is a casting green on the edge of a five acre pond by the ocean. Mountains in the background, lodges in the foreground. The time is 10:30 am. a Saturday. The sun is out, blue sky...gentle breeze...nice morning.

For the past hour the ten people in the fly casting class have been learning how to stop a rod on the front and back cast; most have the idea. We pound the basics firmly into the major muscle group; the one that keeps their ears apart!

Here is where the "trick" comes in. This is about what it sounds like...

"OK...now that all of you have 'mastered' the art of casting, were going to try something a little different. Besides, it will allow you to get some blood back into your casting hand. Several of you have not only had to learn how to cast, but have had to 'un-learn' the habits of lobbing a spinning rod. You have had to fight your right arm. We're gonna fix that now."

By this time they have tried the things I have instructed, and for the most part, they have worked. In other words, they believe in me. They have confidence in my methods. So, here we go.

"OK, I want you to consider your left hand. Look at it. Do you realize just how dumb it is? There is hardly anything it can do, at least not well. You have never taught it to do anything. It could do things; it just hasn't had the chance. The best thing is that it does not have any BAD HABITS either! Right now, we are going to take advantage of that."

"Please put the fly rod in your left hand. STOP! As you start to cast, I want you to talk to your left hand ... out loud if ya want to. Remember, you are learning now. Tell your left hand EXACTLY what to do. One step at a time. Stop in front, pause ... pull back, stop, pause ... pull forward, stop, pause ... pull back, stop. Good, keep it up, you're doing just fine. Talk to it ... tell it what to do. Make it cast. You know how it should be done. Teach it. Over and over ... great! Ok, you can take a break now."

"Some of you were actually casting better with your left hand than you were with your right. What all of you just did was show me that you know what it takes to make a good cast, you just need more practice. More time teaching your right hand 'what not to do'. And here is the plus on this exercise."

"In talking to your left hand you were strongly re-enforcing the steps mentally on how to cast. Don't forget, I can not teach you anything. You must learn it. I can say it, show it, explain it, comment on it; you must learn it."

With that we continue our casting class to the end of the day. I usually add somewhere that, "you should try on every practice cast to be doing something, not just aimlessly casting. That only makes you a very experienced aimless caster."

So there you sit at your computer reading this and saying, "yeah, right, so what, big deal." Well, it is. Next time you have a chance give it a try. It does work and it can work for you. It will work for you.

Just think how you will feel casting from a drift boat for a fat rainbow and the guide says, "under that bush on the right bank." "Like that," you reply?~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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