Quote of the day: Casting vs. Fishing

If Ray Bergman came back today and saw the endless discussions about casting and distance on internet message boards, he would never stop throwing up.

Bergman knew that it was more important to be a good angler than a good caster. Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive. And it is true that it’s hard to be a good angler if you are a poor caster. But I’ll let Ray take it from here. This is from his book Trout:

“That you cast so well that others compliment you for your skill is not so important, but that you handle the flies in some particular and almost indescribable way may be very important indeed. You may gather from this that I am not particularly interested in perfect-form casting, and that is very true…If you become a perfect-form caster while achieving the necessary results, so much the better; but it is best to concentrate on the other points, rather than on form, and the casting will usually take care of itself. In this connection let me say that some of the best fishermen I know could not be called “pretty” casters, but they do cast their flies so that they act the way they should and catch the fish.”

Fish don’t examine the tightness of your loops, your line speed, or how far you cast. This twenty-pound striper certainly didn’t.

Block Island All-Nighter 20 pounds

6 comments on “Quote of the day: Casting vs. Fishing

  1. salvatore tartaglione says:

    Is that blood?

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Steve Culton says:

      Damn this photo of a fish I was so proud of! You’re not the first person to ask.

      No, it is not blood.

      It is a line of weed along the bottom of the flat. You can see how it snakes from middle right to upper left and then down. You can also see a mass of it in the lower right corner.


  2. Alton Blodgett says:


    If you’re trying to raise our self esteem…it’s working. If you’re trying to raise yours you needn’t try. We’d all like to be like you.

    Seriously I think Ray Bergman’s message is so true. But it is very hard to convince a novice that it’s true because they think everyone on the river is going to analyze their casting and pass judgement on them. Nobody likes to appear to be a greenhorn. It takes guts.

    Thanks for getting the message out.


    • Steve Culton says:

      My pleasure. It’s something I feel strongly about. I have sent clients off to casting lessons because they needed to master the basics. But I’ll never understand the glamorous allure of distance casting. In any given year, my biggest fish come on casts of 50 feet or less.

  3. Richard Heffernon says:

    Totally agree. The trout(or stripers) don’t care what your line is doing as long as what’s on the end of it is attractive to them and delivered where they can take it.. Assume that was your striper? Where were you when you caught it?

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