Distance casters: Masters of the irrelevant

‘Tis the outdoor Sportsmen’s Expo and Flyfishing Show season, where anglers get chances to shrug off the winter doldrums and make a few casts, if only on an indoor “casting pond.” Those shows offer great opportunities to test out the latest and greatest fly rods too. Just don’t judge the rod by trying to throw the backing knot through its tip.

I get a kick out of how many folks try to throw the line as far as they can. Oh, I get it… I do it too, though I’m not very good at it. It’s fun to boom out a long cast. And having the ability to cast at a distance (and consequently getting in tune with the rod loading and generating line speed) will never hurt you. In saltwater fly fishing, you absolutely need to be able to cast at a distance, in all sorts of conditions.

But when fly-fishing for trout, a cast of over 40 feet (which is less than half the length of most fly lines), is completely irrelevant. It’s like being able to throw a football 200 yards when the playing field is only 100 yards long. In fact, I’d be willing to bet there are thousands of people in the country who can throw a football farther than, say, Tom Brady. But Tom Brady is playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday, and they’re not. Tom has five rings and they don’t. Because Tom can throw incredibly accurate passes in the clutch. Accurate casts in the clutch are what produce fish, and that comes through experience.

I say all this, not to take a poke fun at people who like distance casting, but, rather, to encourage those who cannot cast a whole fly line and never will. It makes me sad to see how many people are intimidated by fly fishing, because they think they have to make fancy long casts. You don’t. You can, and should, have fun at any range.

By Kirk Deeter.