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Fly Fishing 101, Part 9
Fly Fishing IS Casting!

To cast, or not to fish; that is the question. If you can't adequately cast a fly line you might as well not fish.

Any kind of fishing is based on learning something about that kind of fishing, even if it's how to put corn on the hook. Ten years ago we lived on Flathead Lake in Montana. Kokanee salmon gathered on gravel beds before spawning. The local method of fishing them was to use two kernels of white shoe peg corn threaded on a hook. But the corn had to be threaded on the hook in one very specific manner. If you put the corn on any other way, no bites. Really. Now ask me how I know? A guy sitting in the next boat took pity on us and showed us exactly how. And then we caught fish.

Success at fly fishing is dependant on casting, not corn. Joan Wulff probably said it better than anyone, "if you don't know where the fish lie but can cast well enough to cover all of the water with finesse, you are likely to solve the mystery and catch fish. If you know where they lie but can neither reach them nor present the fly naturally, you are not even in the game." That's a quotation from her book Fly Casting Techniques

It's really quite simple. Anything less than knowing how to cast well gets you fresh air, maybe sunshine, and probably a sore arm or shoulder.

I often see people fly casting who just don't have a clue how to cast. The fly hits the water both in front and in back of them. The rod travels in a half circle. Line, leader and fly all hit the water in a heap - with a splash. What a waste of time and effort. Ultimately fly fishing for these folks becomes a futile exercise and they quit. We all expect some reward or pay off from our recreation. Without reward, even just the pleasure of casting well (which really is great fun), there is no recreation.

Recreation is an odd word. What it really means is time spent re-creating ourself. An escape from whatever we do for a living. An escape from the everyday world.

For me and thousands of folks, fly fishing does that. It is an expression of HOPE. In fact, all fishing is an expression of hope. We "hope" to have a great time. We "hope" we will catch fish. We "hope" to make a connection with nature.

So why spoil it with ineffectual casting? You don't have to. Read a book. Watch a video or two. They can really help (check the list for both at the end of this.) A friend who is a pretty good caster may be willing to watch you cast, and help spot problems. Keep in mind, the absolute rule: The Rod Has to STOP to Make the Line GO.

Finally, you can take a class. A class will save you several years of trial and error. Even if you have your own equipment, your best bet is to take a class where everything is furnished. We have had people in our classes who have been casting for years.

We had one gentleman in a class who was 80! He had used a roll cast all his life. Never figured out how to do any other casting that worked. Some folks taking our class just want to learn how to cast a long line. Others have casting faults they have not been able to correct. Everything from raw beginners to very experienced.

Wherever your level of ability is, you can gain enough confidence to cast properly in any situation. This isn't brain surgery, it's fly casting.

Stop by the Chat Room and meet some fellow anglers. It is a nice bunch of people - always willing to help with fly fishing problems! Or just share your fishing adventures. Fair skys and tight lines, ~ DB

Have a question? Email me!

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