Casting on Utah's Provo River

13 May Casting Karate Style

After guiding for a number of years and helping clients learn to cast or improve their casting there is one thing I see consistently, A Great False Cast. It is a thing of beauty requiring no conscious thought. It flows from the client’s rod as if it had free will. Then they go and ruin it by actually casting their fly to the water.

Jake, who can cast in an icebox, letting it flow

You see it coming from across the river or lake. Their knuckles turn white, gripping the rod like a wanton spouse rather than a delicate lover. Their jaws set grimly, their body loses all suppleness, their shoulders tense as their whole body tries to push that belligerent little fly as far away as it can. What seconds before was a good rhythm of acceleration and abrupt stops becomes a rushed flailing of a mindless being.

In short they look like they were kept in deep freeze for the last hour, torn from the ice box, handed a slippery rod and told to throw the fly as far as they could. No wonder they grow frustrated, all their best efforts seem to work against them.


Kensuke Miyagi, a martial arts instructor and a dry-fly caster of considerable skill, said it best,

“Must Breathe”.

Keisuke MiyagiIf you have forgotten or altered one of the basic tenets of life in your efforts to cast a fly you are most likely doing it wrong. The next time you are staring at a birds nest of line in front of you, take half a second to examine your breath. Did you just expel it in a frustrated gale? Can you inhale gently or are you sucking wind? If the answer is yes then breathing is a major component in helping your form.  Am I say that breathing is the only key to a good cast? Not at all. What I am saying is a good cast cannot come from a tight, tense body. It has to flow and you cannot flow while holding your breath. Relax. Breathe. Cast.

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