These internet conversations often highlight some standard character types, for example ‘the 90 percenter’. The 90 percenter will lead with the statement that “90% of fish are caught within 30ft of the bank”, thus in one fell swoop proving that ‘distance casting’ is a complete waste of time. Obviously they will have zero data to back up this fact (other than their own observational bias) – but that doesn’t stop it from being a universal constant that applies to all fish everywhere. I often respond by saying that I can guarantee that 100% of the fish I catch are caught within my casting range (this is often like lighting the blue touch paper though).
The next character is Mr. Inversely Proportional. Mr. IP will argue vehemently that the distance someone can cast is inversely proportional to how many fish they catch. So any time spent practicing is wasted because your fish catching ability is leeching out through your feet. I think Mr. IP is very competitive and he wants you to know that, although you’d beat him in a casting competition (which is a fool’s game), he’d very much thrash you on any water anywhere when it came to fishing. Pointing out that many competition fly-fishers are also excellent casters is usually met with some ‘exception to the rule’ comment – because it is a rule and you have to make a choice between casting and fish catching.
Then there’s the ‘river fisher’. This character is usually less offensive than the previous two, preferring the quiet life of their local stream. Although they won’t lambast anyone for the ability to cast far, they will often put in a barbed comment that accuracy is all that counts for them – with the none-to-subtle hint that distance casters couldn’t hit a barn door. If you point out that accuracy competitions are more often than not won by people who are also good at distance then there’s silence – usually because they’ve popped down to the river rather than get embroiled in an internet debate.
For me a distance cast is an important one to have in my armoury for my fishing. That’s the number one reason I practice it, number two being that I also like to compete. In a fishing scenario I’m most likely to need a ‘distance cast’ whilst out on the flats, not because I need to cast a long way but to generate sufficient line-speed to cope with the wind. [To me the essentials of a distance cast is high line-speed and good tracking]. On last year’s trip, Tracy and I were faced with weeks of 40kmph winds into which our ultimate distance was severely curtailed. As such, a 50-60ft cast to a bonefish was most definitely a distance cast, one which the characters above would have no chance of making.
As a final observation, I suspect that if I watched a hundred fly-casters casting to a target at ~60ft then I’d be able to separate them into those who could ‘distance cast’ and those who can’t (yet) pretty accurately. This is because the ‘faults’ that prevent a caster going further are all usually present in a short cast, but just a bit more subtle. So another forum character, the ‘I’m great – but I can’t do distance’ type, perhaps needs a slightly more critical look at their cast.
That all said, if they’re happy then so am I – I’m sure we can all get along on the internet.
Today’s pictures are nothing to do with the text, whilst looking through old files for last week’s FP we found quite a few nice shots of the scenery, attached are a few of these.
Have a great weekend, I’ll probably be out trying to perfect my off-the-shoulder double snake roll – now that really is a useless cast!