Don’t Blame Your Fly Rod For Your Lousy Toss Outbreak Magazine


We write a lot about fly rods. We write about those we love, those we somehow love and sometimes those we don’t like at all. We discuss their action, speed of retrieval, accuracy, and more, all with the goal of helping anglers determine which rod is right for them. The driving force behind this practice is the idea that certain rods are better suited to certain casting styles and skill levels and therefore are better suited to certain anglers than others. And while this is undoubtedly true, it’s important that all fly fishermen – especially beginners – remember that the truth is that any rod will do.

Does this mean that one rod will not be better than another at delivering dry flies with grace? Of course not. And another rod will be better for tightening a heavy nymph rig. But if you’re having basic casting issues, it’s not the rod. Never. It’s you.

The fly rod in your hands is not responsible for your backcast slapping the water whenever you have more than 30 feet of line on your reel. That doesn’t stop you from learning how to double the stroke (or the single stroke, for that matter). It doesn’t require you to throw tail curls. That’s not why you have a hard time pulling the line.

I have a number of friends that I have introduced to fly fishing over the years. Being a slightly above average thrower myself, I’m a half ass throwing instructor at best, but just being an experienced angler it’s easy to split newbie casters into two groups: who intuitively understand the basic physics of a fly throw and those who don’t.

Those who “catch up” from the start usually become proficient fly throwers very quickly. For some, that may mean developing a respectable, fishable fly cast within the first 15-20 minutes. But almost all anglers who instinctively understand the dynamics of a fly cast are proficient fly throwers at the end of their first day on the water.

People who do not have this instinctive understanding are those who feverishly flap and wave the rod back and forth in an attempt to cast the fly with the rod, and it is usually the fishermen who take the longest time to learn to become adequate. casters. Just because they’re less skilled or less physically equipped, it’s not because they lack a basic understanding of what they’re supposed to do.

For some, after a few days, weeks or months, it ends up clicking and it’s gone. Others just give up and give up.

But many anglers never seem to intuitively understand the basic principle of fly casting. They end up coming up with an actionable cast, but it takes longer than necessary, and their ability to cast is forever limited and limited by their fundamental lack of understanding. Instead of developing understanding, they develop crutches that help them throw just good enough, but are still stuck on them, unable to run.

This fundamental premise is taught to us time and time again as novice anglers, namely that you don’t throw the fly, you throw the line.

Again, for newcomers who “get it” this makes intuitive sense and the barriers to developing an advanced fly throw do not exist. Line is something these fishermen can play with, handle and do whatever they want. The rod is simply a tool that makes the job easier.

But how do you help the guys who don’t? I fish with anglers who to this day, despite saying it until I’m blue and doing my best to demonstrate it, just can’t get their brains to go. clings to this reality. How to convince them that they are really cast the fly line and not the rod or the fly? How do you get out their crutches and force them to learn?

This is a question that has pissed me off for years, but has since been answered by another fisherman who introduced me to Braide Sessions. Sessions is a fly casting instructor from Ashton, Idaho and the creator of the now defunct All Cast Fly Casting Championship. According to Braide, these people – and maybe all anglers – are taught to cast the wrong way through people like me and many others. So what should we do?

Remove the rod.

It’s true. Remove the rod. Give them the line and tell them to throw it with their bare hands.

A fly line cannot be cast without a fly rod, you say? Of course you do, unless you don’t believe the old adage that you cast the line and not the rod. The point is, you can cast a fly line (or any type of line for that matter) without a rod and the fundamental understanding that results will provide a platform on which to build a better and better throw. But don’t take it from me, take it from Braide, in the video below.

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