You may think that means being able to make your fly
line go 360 degrees. It isn't, or doesn't, or whatever.
It means that over your life of fly fishing you will
end up right back where you started; a bit wiser perhaps,
more experienced, much older, have a collection of fly
rods, and be poorer.
Not the "poorer for it," you will be richer by far in
fly-fishing lore, but you will have spent a lot of your
kids inheritance. They may have squandered it anyhow
and this way they will get some nifty rods and reels
and trouty things. A bit used but selected with care
and handed down with love. Trust me, it's better this
Let's go back and start with the first fly rod you went
out to buy. You didn't know diddly-squat about how to
cast the thing. The salesman tells you to pick out the
one that fits 'the way you cast.' Neat. None of them do,
so you buy the pretty one. Sometime later you discover
a few of the fundamentals of casting (pick one...you have
been reading, watching T.V., talking to your buddies),
and realize your rod is a bit too, (pick one.. slow, fast,
long, short, heavy, light, cheap). No matter, it just
doesn't seem to suit you anymore.
You now make one of the worst decisions of your life,
you take a 'casting lesson.' Just what will that accomplish?
You think it will make you a better caster. Wrong! It
makes you a different caster. Pure and simple, you have
learned a new way of swinging the thing. Now for sure,
that old rod just doesn't cut it anymore. Lucky for you
the salesman just happens to have a rod or two that
will now fit the new way you cast.
Acquisition number two, (they don't take trade-in's).
Oh well, the first rod can become a spare or something
for the time being. Rationalization becomes easier the
more one continues to fly fish. As time progresses you
improve on rationalization and casting, both. Fifty foot
casts, side-arm stuff, some actual control of your loops,
life is good.
You get an invitation to go with a buddy after, (pick one..
carp, salmon, stripers, sharks, bream, etc). Holy-cow.
Can this guy cast! Back to the drawing boards for you.
You make excuses most of the day, (pick one.. my leader
is too, short, long, heavy, light, screwed up, etc).
This guy is belting out seventy foot shots using the
double-haul, (whatever that is). You are determined
The second biggest mistake is repeated. Your sign up
for another casting lesson, (this time the advanced one).
Costly sucker, but, it will be worth it you reason.
Right, worth it to the salesman again. This time you
lay out some serious bucks for the new X-15 Super-Duper
graphite/bourbon Whiz-Bang. Now, boy you will be able
to hold your own. Right, your holding your own fly rod
and the salesman is holding your cash. He gets the gold
and you get the shaft, so to speak. Well now, that makes
three fly rods and you're just barely getting your feet
wet, again so to speak.
Here, go back up and 'cut & paste' the last paragraph
(a few times if you are old, more if you are younger)...
with only minor changes. Saves me typing and you
The years roll on, you do too, and you continue to
learn little bits and pieces about how to cast fly
rods. Each time and every little thing you learn
changes you just a bit. The result? You guessed it.
Your casting continues to change. More rods! But whoa,
this is not necessarily a bad thing, remember their
inheritance I mentioned earlier. Rationalization now
takes over and these casting-tools become 'investments.'
Probably worth plenty in future years, (you hope). The
truth is, some actually may, but most will just become
Time goes on, your teeth get loose, your belt gets
tight and your closet gets full of fly rods. But, a
strange aura of contentment has been settling over
you and your collection, (as it is now called). If
your doctor said to give up half of your fly-fishing
you might reply, "Which half, Doc? The thinking' about
it, or a talking' about it?" But, all is not lost,
you still get out to fish occasionally. Sometimes
alone, more often by yourself. Little known places
from the past. Many are nameless stretches of runs
which probably no longer even hold a respectable head
of anything. You go anyway.
But, now you are ready. You are prepared with the
correct rod for each and every place. You agonize
for days before you go. You fondle the reels and clean
the lines and re-sort the flies. You have developed
casting skills far beyond the understanding of most
mortals, even astonishing yourself occasionally as a
cast develops by second-nature and effortlessly drops
your offering right on target as if by destiny.
You can cast the fast rod with perfection, the med-fast
with ease, the medium with deadly accuracy, the med-light
with either hand and the light with the delicacy of a
feather. You have finally learned how to fly-cast. And
you have also learned that each and every fly rod you
ever bought was just perfect. Absolutely perfect for you,
for the time in your life when you bought it, for the
place where you fished it, and for the way you cast at
That is what I mean by 'Full Circle.' Like a dog chasing
his tail, lots of ground gets covered, but not much really
very important is accomplished. This stuff is all a trip,
a road we chose, a path we follow, a style we claim.
There is no destination; learning fly casting and fly
fishing are just something we do on our way.
Enjoy, and be sure to smell a few flowers along the
way and pester a few fish while you're at it. They
won't mind the game, you're part of their trip. ~ James Castwell