J. Castwell
February 1st, 1998

Left, Right, Left - The Rest of the Story

I suspect one of the reasons we like to help teach new guys to fly-cast is it makes us look so darn good. I don't think it is the main, or certainly only reason we all do it, but looking back on the times of teaching, I guess I have to admit it is a 'pay-off.' This is not a bad thing. Nothing seems wrong to me to have a rewarding experience teaching, or helping others with fly-casting, or any other part of fly-fishing. But, they can't cast, and we can.

And so it is with me most of the time, at least where I live and fish. But, let me get to the big national fly fishing shows and things change some. These guys can cast! Many of them have a few video's out on the subject. Several have written books. Most run fly-casting and fly-fishing schools. They can cast circles around me, literally. The first time I cast on one of the 'casting-ponds' at one of these show's I was rather nervous. Until I remembered what I teach my students. No one watches the poorest caster, whether practicing or fly-fishing. If they watch anyone at all, it is the best caster; you can't learn much by watching the poorest, but perhaps from a good one you can.

Allan Pratt Cartoon

When at these shows now, I work in a booth where guys ask for and take out to one of the casting-ponds a fly rod so they can try it. Often I will go along with them in case I can answer any questions or help in some way. This is regularly done by the guys who run most of the show booths. One thing we do is to make a fast decision as to which hand the guy is going to cast with and make an attempt to stand on the opposite side so as not to interfere with the casting stroke. So it was with some chagrin when at a show in Salt Lake I found myself on the wrong side of a guy.

We had walked from the Gatti booth to the casting-pond together and I stood on his left side as he was casting right-handed. After some careful short and mid-range casts, Simon had all of the line off the reel and a few feet of backing as well. He was not really showing off, just finding out what the rod would do on long casts. And find out he did! Chatting with me about the rod, he indicated he rather 'loved the thing,' As he continued to cast, I became aware I had made a mistake and was standing on the wrong side of him. He was still pitching the line past the end of the casting-pond, over the railing at the end of it and across the aisle. Now, Simon Bain has one of the most infectious grins on earth and I don't feel badly I had become engrossed in our conversation. So, with line whizzing over the top of my head, I moved to my right, to stand on his right side as he was double-hauling left-handed out the end of the casting-pond.

OK, lets get right to it. With another of his 'toothpaste-commercial' smiles flashing, as I moved to the right side, while still double-hauling, he switched hands and went back to right handed! Darn! I'd been had. Big time. I felt like a jerk. I know others who can cast right or left handed, but, I had never seen anyone who could so smoothly switch in mid-air double-hauling. It simply did not make any difference to him which hand he used. Well, I tell you, it was not real easy for me to cast a fly rod the rest of the day while he was anywhere around.

Bonefish Simon

So, now you know the rest of the story. I am still working on the ability, even though I know full well I will never be able to cast like he can. But, I can try. By the way, that day he was asked and accepted an invitation to become a member of the 'Gatti - Team - U.S.A.' He is one of the top guides in the Bahamas and resides on Andros Island. ~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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