CASTING

CASTING is such an integral part of fly-fishing that it scarcely seems necessary to stress that it should be enjoyable and exciting for its own sake. Certainly much more of your fishing time will be spent in delivering casts than in actually playing and landing fish. If you will accept from the start that the acquisition of good casting techniques can be as rewarding and as satisfying in itself as the fish you will eventually catch with them, then your career as a fly-fisher is off psychologically to a sound beginning. Instant success, of course, is not to be expected. Real proficiency takes time, effort and persistence. Let me assure you, however, that you can quickly learn how to cast well enough to take fish.

The Overhead Cast

The commonest and most widely-used cast of the fly-fisher is called the overhead cast. The first object is to lift the line and the fly from the water in such a way that the line is induced to travel past your body, above the level of your head, and to become extended in a straight line behind you. To achieve this, power is applied to the rod by the forearm and wrist in an initial movement of the arm called the back cast. What actually happens is that the power acts on the weight of the line and this, together with the frictional drag of the line through the water and the natural spring-like properties of the rod, causes the rod to bend or flex. As the line clears the surface of the water, the flex which you have imparted to the rod straightens. Since the line is still attached to its tip, however, a loop is formed. This loop unrolls behind as the line travels backwards. As soon as it has reached the limit of travel, a second arm movement, or forward cast, is started. Power is again applied through the forearm and wrist; the rod tip, pulling on the line, now flexes in the opposite direction. The line forms another loop. Finally the rod is halted. The second loop, impelled forward by the release of power stored up in the rod, unrolls to deliver the fly to the chosen spot.

The style in which these operations are performed is capable of considerable variation; so much so that it is often possible to recognise individuals at a distance by their characteristic casting. Many of these differences produce good fishing casts – but more often than not, the cast is good in spite of them rather than because of them. Determine that in the initial stages at least, you are going to stick rigidly to basic essentials.

Starting Off

A grass lawn is a convenient place for your very first attempts. As soon as you have grasped the general idea, however, it is very much more profitable to practise on water – if possible, still water. Grass is unsatisfactory after the first few minutes because it does not give the same frictional drag as water, and this may lead you to mistime your application of power in the back cast.

Let us suppose that you are about to make your very first cast on the back lawn as a preliminary to setting out for the waterside. Assemble your rod and line and attach a nylon cast. Tie on a scrap of coloured wool instead of a hook. This is just a precautionary measure to prevent catching on the ground with a barb and to avoid any accidental hooking of your ear in your first efforts. Never attempt to cast with the line alone since this leads to cracking and fraying at its tip.

Pull out about fifteen feet of line from your reel and lay it out in a straight line in front of you. The idea is to have enough weight of line to allow you to feel the action of your rod. With too short a length of line, you will not have sufficient weight to flex the rod properly.

The Grip

Take up the rod. The fingers are curled round the butt and the thumb is placed in a straight line along the handle near the top of the cork grip. This is the orthodox method. You should find that the last three fingers hold the rod in to your palm: the thumb and index finger should also feel relaxed and comfortable. The whole grip is firm but not fierce.

The Stance

Adopt a comfortable position with either the right or the left foot leading. It is not particularly important which you choose, so long as you are well balanced. In fishing, it is seldom possible to adopt a fixed attitude for very long and you will learn as you go along to adjust your feet in order to cast from all sorts of awkward spots.

The Back Cast

A good back cast puts your line in the right position for a good forward delivery. To achieve this you must now concentrate on a number of important points.

Take up your starting stance. You will see that the arm is bent at the elbow, almost, but not quite at right angles. The rod is thus held a few degrees above the horizontal. The rod is like an imaginary hand pointing between nine and ten on the clock. In this position your arm should feel comfortable – neither extended too far forwards nor pressed too closely against the side of the body. Now turn your wrist slightly downwards until you are aware of a slight strain in it. This is important. The back cast will be ruined if you bend your wrist backwards too early; a common fault in beginners. Try to avoid it by starting to lift principally with the forearm, I.e., not by moving only the hand.

As you start to lift your arm upwards, you will feel the strain on your wrist. You will be tempted to relieve this immediately by cocking the wrist backwards. Do not do so. You will also experience a strong tendency for your wrist to move sideways, thus bringing the reel face away from a vertical position. Try to avoid this as well. It would certainly help you to get the rod and line going but it twists the rod sideways, and when this happens, the line is also thrown outwards and sideways instead of going back in the straight line that you want. The hand and forearm must act as one unit to get the line moving.

You will find this starting movement awkward and perhaps a little uncomfortable at first, but you will soon develop forearm and wrist strength. If you are particularly keen to improve and don’t already possess powerful wrists, flexing with light dumbells resting on your knees will improve them. It only takes a few minutes a day but it rapidly increases muscular power.

In this initial phase, the wrist is locked forwards and you are moving the rod by bending the arm at the elbow. This lasts until the rod reaches between ten and eleven on the clock. Now you must apply a lot of power and acceleration very quickly: so rapidly, indeed, that it has all been imparted to the rod by the time you have reached about half past twelve on the clock. In this very short arc, the wrist has been flicked backward in much the same way as you might move a hammer. Note carefully that the hand has been stopped abruptly about the level of the jaw. The arm has been brought well up and the wrist has not been fully opened. Compressing the power into this very short arc in a smooth and progressive manner, and finishing with a final sharp flick, is the secret of the good back cast. Your main difficulty will lie in judging how much to open the wrist. Almost certainly you will break it too soon and too quickly in your first attempts. This will permit the rod to go too far back behind your head. It sometimes helps if you tuck the butt of your rod into the sleeve of your jacket. This will prevent you overdoing the wrist movement and will enable you to see how quickly it is necessary to get the power in. Here are the main points summarised again:

ATTEMPT TO: (1) Start the cast with the wrist locked forwards. (2) Get the line moving by using the wrist and forearm as a single unit. (3) After you have reached the position at eleven on the clock, accelerate the rod movement and compress the power application while it is in the arc between eleven and twelve o’clock. AVOID : (1) Breaking the wrist too soon and too much. (2) Moving the wrist sideways. (3) Continuing the power application for too long and thus taking the rod too far back.

The Forward Cast

The end of the back cast is marked by the halting of the rod. If you have succeeded in putting the power into the back cast – and bear in mind that some real effort is required – the line is now moving fairly quickly behind you. Before the forward cast can commence, however, sufficient line must be allowed to straighten behind so that as the rod moves forward, it exerts a pull on the whole line. There is, then, a fractional delay between the back cast and the forward cast. The timing of this pause is critical. If you wait too long, particularly if you have also taken your rod too far back, the line will drop and the hook is liable to hit the ground behind you. If you start the forward cast too soon, the rod has insufficient line to pull on and does not flex enough. How then are you to acquire the art?

One approach to the problem is to study the diagrams until you have a clear mental picture of what the line is doing. Determine to throw the back cast smartly behind you by building up enough power so that maximum speed has been imparted to the rod as you reach the twelve o’clock stopping position. The line will then be moving quickly. Say to yourself, One . . ne . . ne – Two. You halt the rod as you say one, pause while you draw out the last syllable, and start the forward cast on ‘Two’. After a little practice, your confidence will grow and you will be able to advance the left foot, stand a little sideways to the cast and turn your head to watch the actual movement of your line. This requires practice but as soon as you are able to achieve it, you can soon learn to time your pause with great accuracy.

As the line straightens, the actions of the back cast are reversed. The forearm comes forward with the wrist still slightly opened. Power and acceleration are progressively applied, reaching their peak about the eleven o’clock position when the wrist is shut. The power is put in through a bent arm which returns by the same pathway as in the back cast. By the time the ten o’clock position has been reached, all your power has been applied. The rod is halted and gently brought down to the finishing position a few degrees above the horizontal. Do not push your arm forward from the shoulder as you finish nor attempt to straighten out your arm. You should aim to deliver the flies at a point about three feet above the water so that they will finally float gently downwards on to the surface.

ATTEMPT TO! (1) Wait until the back cast is straightened before you start the forward cast. (If you hear a sharp crack, you have commenced too early and the resulting strain has snapped your nylon cast.) (2) Apply the same amount of power as in the back cast. (3) Return by the same pathway as you took in the back cast.

AVOID: (1) Applying power too early or continuing its application for too long. (2) Being too gentle on the back cast and then trying to compensate by over-powering the forward cast. (3) Pushing the right shoulder forward and straightening the arm at the finish of the cast.

Analysing Faults

I am very much aware that keeping all these ‘do’s and don’ts’ in mind is not only a little tedious but almost impossible at the start. Naturally, you want to get on with the business of catching fish. It is even more frustrating, however, if you find that fish are rising all round you and you cannot get a cast to land properly on the water. When this happens, the tendency is to become irritated or despondent. In most cases, if you will stop 48 for a moment and think about the fundamentals, you should be able to find out just why you are going wrong. Check your casting against this list: (1) Is your rod going too far back? If so, you are most likely to be using too much wrist movement. You are cocking the wrist too much and too soon on the back cast. As a result, the line is hitting the ground behind you and returning to land in a heap on the water. Remedy: start the cast with the wrist turned down and concentrate on stopping the back cast when the rod reaches the level of the jaw. (2) Is your forward cast failing to unroll properly? The fault may lie in a feeble application of power or in applying power too early in the back cast. Remedy: check the wrist again and turn the head to watch that the timing of the forward cast coincides with a proper straightening of the back cast. (3) Is the line failing to straighten? You may be applying power too soon in the forward cast and pushing the casting arm forward. Remedy: concentrate on timing and compression of power.

The advantage of sticking to fairly rigid positions in the early stages lies in the fact that you can soon learn to deliver a straight, short cast. On this foundation you can elaborate and experiment with the minor alterations required to cast from all sorts of positions under actual fishing conditions. When, or if things go wrong, you can return to basic principles, rebuild your confidence by concentrating on good, short casts and try again. In this way you can avoid the frustration of not being able to achieve a fishing cast and not knowing why.

False Casting

Once you are managing a reasonable, straightforward overhead cast, the next step is to attempt the false cast. Instead of allowing the forward cast to fall on the water, start a fresh back cast just as the line unrolls and straightens on the forward stroke. In short, you are going to try to keep the line in the air with successive back and forward casts. This is known as false casting. It can be used when you strip line off your reel as you work up to your casting distance. It is also an essential technique for dry-fly fishing. The moisture the fly absorbs as it floats on the water tends to make it sink. To keep it as dry as possible, and so enable it to sit nicely on the surface, excess water is flicked off by whisking the fly through the air with several false casts. I know of no better way of improving your sense of timing and ‘feel’ than by introducing a short session of false casting into your practice. (1) Start by introducing one false cast before each normal cast which you allow to land – then try two and work up until you can keep the line backwards and forwards in the air for a dozen casts or so. (2) Your first difficulty may arise if the line catches on your rod. This is usually caused by failing to follow through. Even though you are not intending to let the line land, bring the rod forward into the normal stopping position. This helps to prevent the forward loop catching up on the rod or on itself and so tangling. (3) When you are producing good false casts from the straight overhead position, bring the rod down to 45 degrees from the vertical and try false casting in this sideways position. The principles of the cast remain the same. Try to keep the rod in the same plane during the back cast and the forward cast. If your overhead movement is sound, you will have little trouble with this alteration of angle. (4) The final step is to lower the rod until it is horizontal: this is the full side or underhand cast which can be very useful when trees prevent you from making a vertical back cast.

In practice, you should find that you are able to pick up your rod, pull off some line, work it out to a full casting distance by false casting – and then, still without letting the line touch the water, lower the rod with a few casting movements into the full side cast and back up again to the vertical position. The constant movements may be a little hard on your arm and wrist, but any slight ache will be worth while as you gradually find yourself becoming more and more at ease with your rod and line. Although it may look like a circus trick, there are few other exercises which will develop your timing so quickly and make you master of your outfit. Your ultimate aim is to deliver a cast to any chosen spot from virtually any position on the water.

Shooting the Line

Once you are reasonably competent with the overhead cast and false casting you can start to learn how to ‘shoot the line’. The purpose of shooting is to enable you to increase the length of your cast and so present your fly to fish lying outside your normal range.

You must first find just how much line you can comfortably lift off the water and aerialise. Trial and error methods will enable you to discover this. It will probably be in the region of twenty to thirty feet. When you have found it, mark the distance on your line with a ‘magic marker’ or with waterproof ink. Now pull off two or three feet more from your reel. Hold this between the index finger and thumb of your left hand and keep this hand down by your side. Make an ordinary cast, and as the line turns over after you have stopped the application of power in the forward cast, release your left-hand grip on the line. The weight and speed of the line as it travels through the air will carry this extra two or three feet up through the rod rings. Try it a few times until you are confident about the results. It will be apparent to you that timing is of great importance. Your first tendency will be to ‘shoot’ or release the line too soon. You must learn to delay until the last few yards of aerialised line are turning over.

Now pull off another two or three feet from your reel and let it hang slack. Retrieve the remainder of the line on the water through the rod rings until the waterproof ink mark is just at the tip of your rod again. You are now holding the line with your left hand so that the line leading to the rod ring is straight and the remainder is hanging slack. Cast again – as before – without forcing it. If you time the ‘shoot’ correctly, all the slack will be pulled up through the rod rings. You have thus increased your casting distance by some two yards with little additional effort. Not only will you find that the shoot gives you greater length but it also allows the leader and the fly to settle more gently on the water.

The final stage in ‘shooting’ is to incorporate a left-hand movement. Cast out now until the line mark is lying on the water some three feet from your rod tip. Pull off yet another three feet from your reel. Hold it between the index finger and the thumb but this time bring your left hand up until it almost touches your reel. The idea is that, as you start the back cast, you are going to pull the left hand holding the line smartly downwards to the left side of your body. In so doing, you shorten the line on the water until the mark is again at the rod tip. At the same time, you will increase the speed at which your line is moving. This assists the pick-up off the water. The end result is an improved back cast. When you release the shoot on the forward cast, you should find that yet another three feet of line rattles up the guide rings and you have cast another yard further out.

The ‘shooting’ process can gradually be extended as your timing improves and, eventually, you should be able to handle several yards of ‘shooting’ line. It is a most useful technique since the ability to ‘shoot’ well adds so much potential to your casting range. In addition, it permits you to ‘work’ your fly more effectively through greater distances of water. By all means fish a short line when conditions suit and fish are well within your normal reach. There are many other occasions, however, when fish may be feeding a yard or two beyond your best cast. If you can ‘shoot’, you can easily put your fly into the feeding area.

Coping with the Wind

In the early stages of your struggle to master the art of casting, you will find that the wind, depending on its strength and direction, either aids your casting or proves to be a considerable drawback. Your task is to learn how to use it to best advantage under all conditions.

At first, you will find it very much easier to place yourself so that it is blowing either directly behind you or coming in over your left shoulder. A light but steady breeze is ideal. It does not interfere with your back cast and the air movements actually assist the delivery of a good forward cast. A stronger wind from this direction, however, may prevent you from straightening your back cast fully – but the answer is relatively simple. You must put a little more power into your back cast and try to speed it up so that you force the line backwards against the wind pressure. On the forward stroke, especially if you are incorporating a ‘shoot’, halt your rod somewhat higher than usual. You should then find that the wind pulls out the slack very easily and a longer cast than normal is possible.

When it is not feasible to place yourself so that the wind aids you in this way, you must resort to other modifications. A wind blowing from left to right is not too bad, though it does tend to force your line away from you and to upset the accuracy of your aim. Angle yourself with your back turned into it and adjust the point of aim several feet upwind of the spot where you intend to land your flies. This time you cannot halt your rod in a higher position or the wind will sweep your line too much to the right. Experience will teach you just how much ‘aim-off’ to allow and how far you can angle your line into the wind.

The right to left hand wind is more difficult for the beginner. If it is of any strength at all, it tends to catch the back cast and blow it to your left. With an ordinary forward stroke, the chances are that you will then be unable to bring the line forwards in a straight line. At best, the flies may catch your rod or tangle up; at worst, the flies may strike your body and the barbs engage in your clothing. Most fishermen experience this embarrassing situation from time to time, and you can best avoid it happening to you by teaching yourself eventually to cast with your left hand. In the meantime, bring the back cast slightly across the body so that the rod hand comes to the stopping position at the left-hand side of the jaw. This tends to keep the line moving to the right, above your head. When you come into the forward cast, bring the rod downwards in line with your left shoulder. Don’t attempt to cross it back as if to make an ordinary forward cast. It will feel awkward at first and you may have to reduce the length of line but, at least, it has the merit of permitting you to cast even in very strong winds.

Incidentally, if you do have the bad luck to run a hook into your ear, cut the nylon as near to the eye of the fly as you can manage. If the barb hasn’t penetrated the skin, it can often be dislodged by gently working the hook backwards – a car mirror is very useful if you are on your own. If the barb has sunk into the flesh, the least painful way of removing the hook is to pinch the skin very hard and then push on the bend of the hook until the barb reappears through the skin in a second puncture. Snip off the barb with a pair of pliers, and the fly can then be withdrawn through the original wound. It it less difficult to accomplish than it sounds. If the fly is large, however, and the penetration deep, it is, of course, better to seek medical attention.

The last situation is that where the wind is blowing directly against you. The trouble in this case is to get the forward cast to go out without being curled back towards you. The remedy is to angle yourself as much as possible and to bring the point of the rod right down in the forward cast until it almost touches the water. This is often referred to as ‘cutting’ into the wind. The secret lies in delaying the application of the power in the early part of the forward cast and then continuing it beyond the normal stopping point. A narrow loop is formed and there is less wind resistance. The line is thus under more control from you and much less likely to be swept backwards by the wind. There may be more splash as the line and cast land but, since the water itself will be ruffled by the wind, this does not matter.

The Roll Cast

There are two main uses for the roll cast. It allows the angler to cast a fly when a high bank or other obstacle close behind him makes an overhead or side cast impossible; secondly, it assists him in bringing a sunken line to the surface of the water. It is really an essential preliminary to an overhead cast with the sunken line. If you attempt to lift a sunken line directly, you will find that it is extremely difficult to pull it up from the depths, clear the water and throw it cleanly backwards. Apart from this casting problem, you are liable to overload and strain the rod tip. (1) The best place to learn the roll cast is on still water – the lawn is quite useless here, since the grass does not produce enough frictional drag. Start off by throwing out some ten yards of line with an ordinary overhead cast. (2) Start the cast by raising the rod slowly and deliberately from the horizontal and at an angle of some 10 degrees from your right hand side. You are going to separate the planes of the cast deliberately, in this case in complete contradistinction to the overhead cast. As you move the line slowly, it won’t all come off the surface of the water. As a result, it hangs down in a curve from your rod tip to the point where it is in the water just by your side. (3) Your rod has now reached a position of about one o’clock – no more – and is pointing upwards at a slight angle. The trick now is to turn the wrist in the curve of a letter U lying on its side and drive the arm forwards and downwards with some force so that peak power application is reached about ten o’clock. As you apply the power, the line will travel in a loop which will finally open out on the water in front of you.

The cast is difficult to describe but relatively easy in practice.

Line Recovery

The ability to project your fly accurately into the area where you know – or suspect – that fish are lying, is the first skill which will give you an added chance of success. Once the fly is in the water, however, the problem changes entirely. You must now induce the fish to take it.

Very little is known of the reasons why fish will take one fly and not another, but observations confirm that they are attracted, initially at least, by moving objects. Many of the creatures on which they feed – nymphs, larvae, adult insects, shrimps and so on – have the common property of moving about in the water or on its surface, often in a manner which is characteristic of their species. Some nymphs, for example, are comparatively fast and active swimmers, others dawdle along; shrimps rise from the bottom with a curious little curving action; nearly all the movements are somewhat erratic and jerky with a ‘stop-go’ motion.

In river fishing, you rely mainly on the current to move your flies for you: in lake fishing, it is necessary to develop a technique which will enable you to imitate the suddenly arrested actions, darts and erratic movements of the natural insects you are seeking to imitate. The more ‘life-like’ your flies appear, the greater the chance they have of attracting and deceiving a feeding fish.

The easiest way to produce movement or to ‘work’ your flies in still water is to raise the rod tip a few inches at a time and so pull them through the water. As soon as you have learnt the knack of ‘shooting’, however, much greater variation is possible, since you have much more distance through which to move your leader. There are two methods of line recovery after the ‘shoot’ in order to draw the line back to the ink mark which, you will recall, was your comfortable lifting distance for the back cast.

The first is to curl your right index finger round the line at the cork grip and to pull the line through it with the left hand. Short jerks of about eight inches, interspersed with slightly longer pulls, keep the fly ‘working’. A pause now and then allows the fly to gain depth by sinking. The spare line which you haul in is dropped on to the surface of the water where it lies until the next ‘shoot’. This is a good starting method while you are practising’shooting’with relatively short lengths of line.

When you are able to use the ‘shooting’ technique more effectively, and have added four or five yards to your casting distance, the ‘figure-of-eighting’ technique affords a much more subtle means of manoeuvring your flies through the water at different speeds and in varying ways. The action can be speeded up so that the fly makes a series of rapid jumps – or is slowed down to a crawl. On one particular day, you may find that the slow method attracts rises; on another, a faster movement may be more successful. The rod is held in the right hand with the right index finger acting as a line guide. The fingers of the left hand are used to pull the line into the palm. (2) Recovery is started by pulling in a few inches of line and holding it in the palm with the last three fingers of the left hand. The index finger is freed and is used to hook round the line and draw it towards the thumb. (3) The thumb and index finger now meet and hold the line, thus freeing the last three fingers. These are now hooked round the line and draw the next section towards the palm. As they do so, they hold the already gathered line in place and the thumb and index finger can be released for the next draw of line. (4) By means of these alternating movements, line can be coiled into the palm. Depending on the rate at which the fingers are moved, the flies can be induced to ‘hover’, to sink, or to move at speed through the water.

With a little practice , a large amount of line can be 58 gathered ready for ‘shooting’ on the next cast. Should a fish be hooked, the line can be dropped on to the surface of the water and the fish permitted to run by raising the right index finger. Usually the angler transfers the rod to his left hand after hooking and awaits an opportunity to recover the line with the reel. When you cover a rising fish with your flies, try a very fast ‘figure-of-eight’ to draw your cast through the area of the rise. In my experience, this often induces a fish to take – perhaps the fact that something apparently edible seems to be escaping out of range excites an instinctive reaction. Whatever the reason, it sometimes works well and is worth a trial.

To Strengthen the Wrist and Forearm

Newcomers to the sport sometimes find that they lack the wrist and forearm strength necessary to maintain correct casting positions for long periods. If you find that your arms ache after a short session, try this exercise. Get hold of a piece of wood about 15 inches long and H inches in diameter. Bore a hole through the centre and thread through a cord about five feet long. Knot it at the hole so that it does not slip through. Tie a heavy book to the other end of the cord. Now grip the piece of wood with one hand at either side of the centre hole. Wind up the book by turning the stick away from you with one hand at a time. When the book reaches the top of the cord, unwind slowly in the opposite direction. After you have done this a few times, you should feel the effect on your forearm. If not, then attach a heavier weight to the cord. A few minutes daily for a few weeks will tone up and strengthen the muscles and tendons.

Thinking Ahead

There are comparatively few really good casters and a large number of anglers simply get by with a very moderate performance. The reason for this is not hard to find. Unlike the participants in many other sports, anglers, in general, do not bother to make a close study of the principles involved in the mechanical aspects of their sport, nor do they often seek seriously to improve their techniques. Their principal object, understandably enough, is to catch fish – and fish can be caught with a very modest standard of casting. But, in adopting this attitude, it does seem to me that they cannot see the fishing for the fish. In the long run, the accomplished caster takes more fish from a wider variety of situations and with an added pleasure of satisfaction in his own manual dexterity.

Basically, casting is no more difficult to learn than the arts of any other game; every beginner carries the ‘gold medal’ of the tournament champion in his fishing bag. If I can persuade you as a beginner to adopt the not-so-obvious attitude that learning to cast well is also fun, then you are likely to persist in your efforts to the point of complete mastery – that happy state of mind where you know that you can fish anywhere with complete confidence.

I do not pretend that merely reading a webpage of text will transform you into a caster. It won’t! Good casting is the result of a synthesis of two processes – intellectual appreciation and physical application. You may well understand the necessity for absolute accuracy of timing but only hard practice can turn this into reality in action. Timing cannot be successfully taught, it can only be acquired.

In the initial stages, you may well feel discouraged to find that the apparently simple movements of the good caster are not quite so easy to imitate as you would imagine. Let me encourage you to carry on, to pay attention to detail, and to develop a fault-finding system. Improvement will gradually come and eventually the whole process seems to ‘click’ into a groove. If I may look ahead for you, this is the turning point in your career as a caster and the beginning of your development as a complete angler. Once you can throw a reasonable line, you will be tempted to allow reflex processes to take over for you so that your casting becomes automatic and the whole mind is free to concentrate only on the fish. It is very likely, however, that at this stage, you will still have a number of small faults in your style. These may not be significant with the short or moderate cast but immediately you start to try for that extra bit of distance often so essential in lake fishing, you will find yourself in trouble. You can advance faster – and further – if you will persist in thinking about each individual cast as well as each individual fish. Avoid the pitfall of taking your casting for granted and you may gradually learn to eliminate those fractional maladjustments of arm, wrist and body movement which can prevent you from crossing the barrier between the mediocre performance and that of the expert angler.

Skilled help is of importance. It pays handsomely if you can afford a little coaching from experts – experts not only in casting but also in teaching. The professional is trained to analyse faults and to apply the right remedies. The good caster at the waterside is seldom a good teacher since he does not necessarily know how he obtains his own results. Inexpensive casting-schools exist up and down the country and often combine casting instruction with angling tuition on the water. My own experience of them is that they can assist the beginner and often the quite good caster to achieve better results.

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