The True Cast Trout Talk

The True Cast - We Should Take It Easy on “Make it Easy”

A good cast will get you far despite what gear you practice, practice, practice.

At what point did some fly fishing companies decide that the learning curve was a bad thing?

After all, it seems like every piece of gear these days is designed to make fishing easier. This fancy rod will not only help you cast farther it will also improve your accuracy like nothing else! This reel has a drag system that could stop a freight train! These waders feel like wearing waterproof pajamas!  

It’s a wonder how anyone was able to fish at all 10 years ago. 

Not that I don’t appreciate the conveniences advanced technologies have to offer. Marching around rivers in rubber Red Ball waders during summers got pretty warm and uncomfortable. And I truly cannot imagine what it would have been like to fish with silk fly lines. Would you even fly fish if you had to stretch, dry and treat your line after every single day on the water? When I think about the most significant technology breakthroughs that had the most dramatic impacts on fly fishing, I’d put coated, floating fly lines and breathable waders right up there.

An experienced angler doesn’t need a pricey reel to land fish. photo by Trevor Brown.jpg

But rods and reels? Not so much. To me, the sheer simplicity of the tools is, in large part, what attracted me to fly fishing in the first place—like the archer who prefers a recurve bow, or a sailor who prefers wind-powered boats over outboard motors. Believe it or not, I can make accurate casts with fly rods that are 10 years old or older, and I can even fight fish with reels that old or older. And I’m willing to bet all of you can as well.

I get that it’s “Marketing 101” to convince people that your product is lighter, stronger, and all-around better than anything else out there. But I worry about a world where someone feels compelled to spend over a grand on a fly rod, or several hundred dollars on a reel, or over a thousand dollars for a pair of waders and boots, or else risk being “under-equipped.” When that happens, it’s no wonder that some folks tag fly fishing as an “elitist” sport.

You know what really makes a rod accurate and adds distance? A good cast. You know which reel best helps you fight fish and land them quickly (which is better for the fish)? The one attached to the rod of an experienced angler who knows how to fight fish.

Fancy new rods don’t necessarily equate to a better cast. photo by Trevor Brown

It’s a balancing act, to be sure. We live in a world of instant gratification. But in fly fishing challenge has always been an appeal. It’s about solving puzzles. And what fun is it to plow through a book of easy crossword puzzles? Just because you solve them faster doesn’t make you any smarter.  

Where there is a trend, there is eventually a countertrend. And I predict the coming countertrend is a return to the basics and a mad rush to the middle in the fly rod world. Now that the rod companies have crashed through the thousand-dollar ceiling, I’m going to bet that people are going to rediscover the beauty and function of rods that cost half that much or less. The fast, fancy rods will sell, for sure. But people will realize that fly fishing is as simple or complicated as you decide to make it, and the gear you use is really only as good as the practice and effort you put into your fishing.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.