Through the years I have had to cringe, sorry to say, while watching folks casting in various streams and other waterways. It is much like watching a really bad golf swing…especially if it is someone you know…and you know that you could indeed help their swing. The truth is fly-casting and swinging a golf club have a lot in common; the number one thing is that the person has to ask for help or try to find help…and if they are willing, they will usually get better, sometimes pretty quickly!
Such was the case with a good friend of mine. John Morgan contacted me through my website, as he was relatively local and wanted some help with his casting. We determined a spot to meet and quickly it was evident that for sure, John needed some help…as most ‘newbies’ do. John, being very intelligent, was quite analytical and easy to talk to. Before the end of our first lesson it was clear that not only did he have some true ability, but he wanted to be a good caster, he was passionate. John and I have fished together many times and I can honestly say that over the past couple of years, he has become very proficient and a very good, functional caster. By functional…I mean he can place his fly where he needs it to be often and catches lots of fish. He has become someone who can now help others in their casting.
Not long after we did a couple of lessons, John called and wanted me to give a lesson to his wife, Karen. I thought it was a great idea…if she has some interest, then it would be something the two of them could do together. So, we also met and the best part of Karen…she was a female (sorry guys but gals tend to listen and take direction better), but also the fact that she was new to fly-casting. She had no prior experience or ‘bad-habits’. Ask any golf pro and they will also tell you that starting with ‘new-clay’, so to speak, is much easier than trying to fix “The Old Dog”.
Karen listened well and also seemed interested in being able to cast and catch a fish; the first 90 minute lesson went quickly and I left her with some drills and some ideas to work on. The second lesson (after the first each lesson is 60 minutes) was more of the same and by the end of lesson two, Karen could casts 20-30 with accuracy. She and I also talked about how to set the hook. How to strip in and allow line to flow out…and most importantly, how to actually land a fish. This last skill is just as important as any of the others; the last thing you want to do is to actually hook a fish and then lose it because you don’t have any skill in landing a fish.
I am proud to say that both John and Karen have done well these past couple of years and as you can see from the attached photos, Karen has continued her success and has even been able to land several trout, on her own…while fishing this summer in Acadia National Park!
If you are someone on the fence and would like to fly fish or be better at the sport…please get a lesson. Find someone qualified or maybe even certified (my only certification is 40 years of catching fish) to help you improve your skills. Not asking is the real crime. Think about the number of people that go to a golf professional each year, it would be a staggering number. Casting a fly line is just as tough….or maybe even tougher.
I am closer each day to the end of a long and prosperous teaching career. Frankly, I am hoping that my time to be on the water, to maybe do a bit of guiding…and for sure do a few more casting lessons…is about to open up. If you are close enough and are interested in a casting lesson…or maybe even a ‘catching’ lesson (learning how to catch more fish)…contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss where your skills are, when we could get together…and cost. Every day you continue to struggle is a day of frustration and there is help available; I urge you to search out someone that can give you sound advice and get you on the road to a more pleasant fly fishing experience.