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Salty Casting


Perfect fly fishing weather, Cayman. It's not always like this. April 12, 2007

Smile, breath, and go slowly.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

It was early, too early to be wading thigh-deep in cold water. I could clearly see the tails of bonefish on the shallow flat rising in front of me, but with the wind in my face I had better odds of being beaned by a coconut than actually getting one of them to see my fly. Still, I’d come here to try. My first few casts were tentative, feeling out the situation. Not good: the line piled up about halfway to the fish, which fed on oblivious of my presence. I tried harder, keeping my cast low and really muscling it into the rising morning breeze. Suddenly a small gust caught my cast and in an instant I was draped in fly line.

I raged at the wind, pulling lengths of line off my clothing, and false-cast hard against the breeze. Bad to worse. The bonefish continued to feed on into the tide, easing farther away with each futile false-cast. My leader looked liked I’d used it for knot tying practice and my fly was fouled in a loop of monofilament which had wrapped around one eye, dragging the fly sideways through the water. Humiliated, I retreated to shore and left the flat in peace.

The cast is the heart and soul of fly fishing. It’s what separates us from those who are merely fishing. It is the source of our joy, and considerable frustration. Many years have passed since my early morning jaunts to the local bonefish flats, but I can clearly remember the sense of futility when anything but a downwind cast was called for. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried Mother Nature got the better of me.

Of course, I now realize that it was exactly my own effort that defeated me. Casting is about finesse and control, not strength, and certainly not anger.

There is probably a lesson here somewhere, but I’ll work it out after I finish practicing my cast.

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4 Comments
  • Reply

    […] Flatswalker wrote a great little bit about casting, about the cast being the heart and soul of fly fishing and about how casting is not about strength, but about finesse. […]

  • sensitive soul
    Reply

    “with the wind in my face I had better odds of being beaned by a coconut”

    Isn’t this the case anytime we fight against the elements, or against nature?
    Jujutsu has the right idea… leverage the force of your enemy.

  • Reply

    Well put…it took me frustrating years to realize casting is not about power. It’s the beauty of the sport to truly grasp that it is a delicate finesse game more than anything else.

    Spencer

    http://www.featherandfinblog.com

    • Reply

      @Spencer
      Thanks, it’s an ongoing thing. Just when we think we’ve got it we realize the rabbit hole goes further, that there was a bend we couldn’t see around. After more than a decade of struggle, I can finally enjoy the act of casting for its own sake… on most days.

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