|Casting is Helpful but Overrated:
|November 24, 2008
|For dry fly fishing in rivers and steams, Casting is rarely what prevents people
from catching fish. Flyfishing schools and instructional videos will tell you that the secret to successful fishing is great
casting. They're wrong. It is true that to reach some spots you need to be able to cast a long distance. We think those spots
aren't worth the trouble. In our experience 80+ percent of a river or stream will be accessible to a flyfisherman with even very
limited casting ability. Forget the casting lessons, ignore that hard-to-reach 20%, and start catching 80% of the fish now!
Oftentimes the 9 feet of my fly rod is long enough where I can literally reach out and dabble my fly over a little hole or riffle.
Nearly all of the fish I catch are within 30 feet of where I am standing. Not only are long-distance casts not worth it, they are tiring,
more susceptible to wind and obstructions, and in the event that you hook a fish, you are just that much farther removed from the action.
We once fished for the day with an 80 year old gentleman on the streams and rivers of Alpine County, in California’s
Sierra Nevada mountains. If you sold all of his equipment at auction, you might get $20 for the lot. He walked slowly
and studied the water. He rarely made a cast over 15 feet. He fished with the same size 14 Renegade (a wonderful
attractor pattern) all day long. He caught fish at every turn. His knowledge of the water and how to read it was worth a
thousand times the value of his equipment.
For beginners, we talk briefly about our favorite (read: "most effective") types of casts in the Read The Water video. Also, be sure to check out
our Equipment and Fly Selection page for rod and line
tips. But most of all, don't worry about casting. Once you know how to read the water and find the most productive areas of a river or
stream, any method of getting your fly to those spots is as good as the next.