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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Are you casting or fishing? #14198409 11/22/21 02:26 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
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RexW Online Content OP
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Recently, I started at the Cold Hole and worked my way up Spillway Creek on the Lower Mtn Fork just to explore that part of the river. I ended up moving from one small waterfall to another and fishing the pool below each of them. This was not complicated fly fishing, just two nymphs, couple of split shot, and an indicator. Place the fly at the base of the waterfall to drift either through the foam and bubbles or along the seam at the edge of the eddy while holding the rod high during the drift. This style of fishing used to be called “high stick nymphing”. I suppose that one of these days I’ll have to learn one of the newer techniques that have a cooler sounding name, but this one was producing fish.

At one point, I noticed another fly fisher watching me and they reminded me of someone that attended one of my double haul classes. If it was them and they recognized me, they were probably questioning their choice of casting instructors. The casting technique I was using was perfect for the fishing conditions, but nobody would ever say that they were “pretty” casts. I wasn’t even forming a loop or using any false casts. I suspect that it looked like I didn’t have a clue how to actually cast a fly rod. However, the flies were landing where I wanted them, the line was positioned for the drift, and the flies were not tangled. It may have been ugly, but I’ll argue that it was a good cast.

So, what is a good fly cast anyway? Personally, I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” answer that defines a “good” cast. To me, a good cast is one that puts the fly in the right orientation and location needed for the spot you are fishing. Let’s be honest, if the Stripers are surfacing on Lake Texoma 50 feet from the boat, a 30 foot cast will not catch any fish. But, a nice doubled hauled 80 foot cast will not catch anything either if the trout are 15 feet from your toes. Adjust your casting technique to match the conditions you are fishing. Learning additional casting skills will help you to become a more versatile fly fisher.

What casting technique was I using that day? It was a modified “Belgium” (sometimes called an “elliptical”) cast. This style of cast moves the rod in a different plane in the back cast and the forward cast. The transition from the back cast to the forward cast is done without stopping the rod. I would lift the flies from the downstream drift on my right side while swinging the rod back and without stopping, bring the rod over my head to deliver the flies for another pass through that pool. Using this casting technique, I could pick up the flies and change the direction of the cast mid-air to present the flies about 90 degrees from where they started. I can’t do that with a roll cast, but a Belgium cast allowed me to do it accurately. I was also adding a downstream Reach cast due to the fast water and landing with a slack leader to help the flies sink faster. Put all of that together and you’ll get an ugly, but very effective cast for that situation.

I encourage you to learn some of the non-standard casting styles such as the Belgium cast, the Reach cast, the Curve cast, the Pile cast, and there are many others. Then experiment with them on the water and I’ll bet you’ll have a successful day.

Have fun!

Rex
FFI CI
TFO Rods

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Fly Fishers International certified casting instructor
TFO Rods pro staff
Re: Are you casting or fishing? [Re: RexW] #14198439 11/22/21 03:11 AM
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Capt. Mac Online Content
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Sometimes I like to just cast- work on my loops, line speed, rod position and all that other technical stuff. When I'm trying to make the "prettiest" casts I can make I'm usually not expecting to catch any fish. When I actually start "fishing" my casts look nothing like my practice sessions. I'm just trying to get the fly in front of fish, by any means possible. I have especially noticed this when I'm saltwater fishing. If I'm blind casting clousers into a channel I usually make some fairly pretty casts. But, if I'm sight casting to fish on the flats I'm trying to get the fly in front of the fish as quickly as possible, any way I have to. And it's probably ugly. But I catch fish (usually) so...


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Re: Are you casting or fishing? [Re: RexW] #14198548 11/22/21 09:38 AM
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karstopo Offline
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Necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes, I know that the fish are there, but something about the situation, the wind, current, obstacles, lighting, time window, etc. made it impossible for me to make the appropriate casts and mends to get a quality presentation. Those types of situations had repeated enough to spur me to be more versatile in my casts and mends. Because of those real life on the water fishing situations I’m more versatile at casting and mending. These days, I generally have a cast and mend solution to most situations I run into out in the saltwater, but that’s not how it was in the beginning.

Re: Are you casting or fishing? [Re: RexW] #14198914 11/22/21 05:09 PM
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Dougfresh Offline
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I’m basically self taught when it comes to casting so I could probably use some perspective or critique wink
I think my casting is reasonably good in terms of creating a loop and line speed. Kind of like a beginner golfer with good tempo and fundamentals but I ain’t hitting any 300 yard drives yet.

I need to go out with a guide and maybe focus on casting technique as much as getting on fish.

Re: Are you casting or fishing? [Re: RexW] #14198978 11/22/21 06:09 PM
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hook-line&sinker Offline
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I've spent most of my fly fishing efforts here in Central Texas on warm water creeks, lakes and ponds mostly bass fishing...
Didn't know that a casting technique would have a name or what it looked like..
The primary thing that really mattered to me was getting that fish to hit my fly...

Then along came the internet & YouTube with the endless stream of experts showing how I was doing it all wrong... wink


>)));> Wishin' I was Fishin' <;(((<

“Personnel is the most vital and important aspect of any industry.
If you’re just going to grind them up, it’s not going to end well for anybody.”
SCOTT REINARDY


Re: Are you casting or fishing? [Re: RexW] #14199089 11/22/21 07:38 PM
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karstopo Offline
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Youtube was and is a great thing for me. I can’t seem to read something or hear a lecture and then translate what I have read or heard into anything like the correct form or motions. Watching a video, however, it’s been much easier to learn about anything that requires hands on movement. A repair manual on how to fix a washing machine, no good for me, a video with the same information, yes, perfect, now I understand. Lefty Kreh book on fly casting, yikes, what the heck! Watching Chico Fernandez cast a fly rod, preferably volume muted, now I get it. Sitting in on a how-to-lecture, I’m already fidgeting in the second minute. Watching someone demonstrate the cast, now I understand.

Read, no, spoken, no, watch a demonstration, yes. All fly casting and fly tying videos I automatically mute. The words they say invariably confuse me. Their motions inform me.

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