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AJ Morris

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Why don't more fly fishers practice casting? When we strip everything else away, the heart and soul of our sport is the cast. If you cannot get the fly in front of the fish, you won't catch fish.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that there is more to the game than a mere body count. However, I would also argue that not catching fish because of circumstances outside ones control is a far cry from not catching fish for lack of skills.

I have met any number of anglers who claim at least, to be comfortable with their mediocrity. I even fished a couple of times with a fellow who took a sort of perverse pride in his lack of ability. It has also been my observation over nearly forty years, that these are the same people most likely to wind up sitting on the bank, frustrated and fuming because they lack those basic skills. I have even known a handful of people who gave up fly fishing entirely out of frustration. 

In every discipline I can think of, from guitar to golf, people practice to improve their skills. So why don't most fly fishers? Is it pride, laziness or just symptomatic of a society wherein "success" has become seen as transactional?

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Even if you don't have easy access to the water for spey/roll casting, a "grass leader" will allow you to practice at any park or green space. Even ten or fifteen minutes a couple times a week will go far to make you a better caster and fly fisher, and you will be a happier person for it.

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christian roulleau

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hello everyone,
You are completely right, the key to success is in training, and whatever your level.

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DaveEvans

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Reply with quote  #3 
Great post AJ.  That is a big reason I bought a 4wt to use during summer.  Casting two-hand rods is a blast so why not try and use them as much as I can. 
Poppy Cummins

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Reply with quote  #4 
I completely disagree that the heart and soul of our fly fishing sport is casting. I thought it was originally about getting some food and then morphed into trying to get some food with a piece of bent wire adorned with some thread, floss, a feather and in today's world God know what else. To me fooling the fish is the end game.

Angling should be about pleasure and if good casting gives one happiness then so be it however there are many fly fishing scenarios where great casting isn't a prerequisite for fly fishing happiness. Just a few examples would be trolling a leach around a body of still water in a boat or float tube, dapping on still water, throwing a bass bug or panfish popper 25' over a bed, fishing a creek 10' wide. Hell lots of chromers have been caught on the Clearwater with a 50' cast that landed in a pile.

I do think social media and the tackle companies have made it seem like everyone needs to be a casting jedi to have a good time at fly fishing. I personally think that is some BS. 


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Poppy=Red Shed Spey Rod Pimp http://www.redshedflyshop.com FRSCA-Founding Member How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
AJ Morris

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Reply with quote  #5 
I would never attempt to categorize anyone's happiness. I was merely pointing out a logical inconsistency that plays a key part in far too many peoples unhappiness, and it is something I've been observing for nearly forty years.

Some anglers may actually be lousy casters or fishers and still happy. If an angler is content within their limitations, then more power to them. However, it's been my observation that very few people are actually content. There is instead a great deal of angst and frustration. It is also my observation that these people rarely seek to improve their skills, which is puzzling. I would encourage anyone who wants to improve to get out there and make it happen. Otherwise... Clearly that is a personal choice.

Purely in the spirit of friendly debate: if fly casting does not define fly fishing, then what does? Catching fish may not be the whole point, but it is the object. And the object, always, is to get the fly in front of the fish.

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DaveEvans

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Reply with quote  #6 
There is nothing like catching a steelhead, and trout are also a blast, but casting a two-handed rod is also a helleva lot of fun!  
cris caldwell

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Reply with quote  #7 
IMHO I thought the only time it wasn't practice was when you had a fish on, I also try to put hours in each week on a local pond practicing [thumb]
Jan Sorensen

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Reply with quote  #8 
I’m standing in the Kitimat River practicing right now. Wish I was catching!
Dave Luscombe

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Reply with quote  #9 
Don't feel too bad Jan, I spent Tuesday practicing in the skeena mainstem with my 82 year old mentor and the best we did was a 17" dolly varden which he caught while I continued practicing.

I'm fortunate to have a practice pond in the form of a small local lake just outside of town here in Prince Rupert. Its been a huge help testing lines and rods and especially in the beginning when I was teaching myself by watching Jon Hazlett youtube videos and learning to cast. I'm certainly no expert but have a number of casts down now (thanks Jon!!) and regularly use both scandi and scagit heads and the odd time will use a mid belly when I pick up my buddy's rod for a half hour.

I'm split between the two sides of this discussion and would love to have the time to practice more regularly but life being what it is doesn't afford me the luxury, I feel I'm competent enough in my spey casting to catch fish and that's what I'm there for.
Jan Sorensen

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Reply with quote  #10 
So I’m wondering. If a person is fishing for something other than Trout or Salmon is it considered practice or fishing? I live close to the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta and we catch a pile of Walleye and Pike while practicing. Seriously, I love Spey casting and I practice every chance I get.
Rick Jorgensen

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Reply with quote  #11 
I taught fly casting classes at Humboldt State for around 15 years and had one guy take the class twice and was one of the worst casters I have ever seen. Would not listen to instruction. Few years later he joined us on a baby tarpon trip to the yucatan. In 6 days he only had one grab and whined the entre time. I find it odd that someone will spend $s on an exotic trip and not spend the time to develop at least the minimum skills needed to target the species.
But I agree with Poppy's comment. I have had many clients when guiding part time that could not cast well at all but they had a blast trying.
Poppy Cummins

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
But I agree with Poppy's comment. I have had many clients when guiding part time that could not cast well at all but they had a blast trying.


The above is exactly my point. I have nothing against casting practice nor a person wanting to be a great caster, I just disagree with my friend AJ's premise that everyone has to be a great caster to find fly fishing nirvana. Maybe some do, but maybe some don't.

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Poppy=Red Shed Spey Rod Pimp http://www.redshedflyshop.com FRSCA-Founding Member How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
Nic Zurfluh

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Reply with quote  #13 
I'm a big fan of both casting for practice and casting for fishing. Casting practice leads to good casting skills which leads to more enjoyable and successful fishing. Of course starting out I had minimal casting skill but had an absolute blast fishing and still to this day some of the best memories.

Watch out for those casting practice sessions that are 'just for practice', always strive to improve.
AJ Morris

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppy Cummins

AJ's premise that everyone has to be a great caster to find fly fishing nirvana.


Respectfully, that is not accurate.

In a nutshell, what I said was; those persons who are unhappy would do well to exercise some initiative to rectify their situation.




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