The (un)importance of casting

Q: How can you tell you’re on a saltwater fly fishing-based forum?

A: When someone asks about a trout rod, and 90% of the answers focus on rods vis casting and distance rather than presentation.

If you are a long-time reader of currentseams, you will no doubt recall seeing one of my favorite Ray Bergman quotes. For those of you who missed it, its thesis is that it is far more important to be a good angler (leads to presentation acumen) than it is to be a good caster.

I will be the first to tell you that one reason I bought my 10′ 5-weight Hardy Marksman2 was that I could bomb out a 75-foot cast with it. But I’ll also tell you that that distance accounts for 1% of the casts I make on the Farmington every year.

Both casting and presentation are important. But one will deliver the keys to the kingdom much sooner.

This fish was hooked less than a couple rod-lengths away.

Brown release

4 comments on “The (un)importance of casting

  1. Bill says:

    Trying to cast too far gives me no end of grief.

    On the salt, it just chews up flies and makes my wrist hurt.
    On the stream, it just takes flies away and lines the pool.
    On the stream, I have no excuse, I can wade a little closer.
    On the salt, I have no excuse, I can just row a little closer.

    I have three “weight forward” lines that are new and five “double taper” lines that are basically ancient.

    I can’t figure out what the 50-70 feet of “running line” is for in the weight forwards. Once it is outside the tip, my casting goes all to hell. On the old double taper lines I can at least keep the 40 feet in the air. I don’t get it. But then again I only know whatever bad habits my childhood led me to.

    • Steve Culton says:

      For me, the running line on my integrated WF lines (Rio Outbound) is mostly the connector between the head and the backing. That is, the head portion (if you’ll pardon the expression) carries the weight of loading the rod. So, I roll cast the head and maybe a little of the running line, one false cast, then bombs away. Everyone casts differently.

  2. Steve Culton says:

    No, we’re having a disconnect. 60-70 feet in normal conditions is not a difficult cast to make with that line and my Salmo Sax rod. The head of the Outbound is 37.5 feet long. Double that — false cast the head and shoot that much running line — and you’re up to 75 feet. I don’t usually make casts longer than 70 feet in my striper fishing. 0-60 accounts for most of my fish. Back when I practiced that sort of thing, I was hitting the 90-foot range with my 5 weight.

    To re-emphasize: While the two are not mutually exclusive, it is more important to be a good angler than a good caster (especially where distance is concerned).

    Hope that helps!

    P.S. I have seen Ken Abrames cast the entire line with one hand in his pocket and one false cast. What one man can do, another can do.

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