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No Substitute for Casting Technique

I know, wouldn’t it be nice if:

  • a change of leader would give us reliable turnover
  • a new line would give us more distance
  • a special line lube would double the length of line shoots
  • a new rod with top secret technology would magically increase our casting range by 30%
  • another magic new rod would have us casting into a tea cup at 60’/18m instead of a hula hoop at half the distance
  • a tip here and a trick there would give us all the answers to all our problems

I know because over the years my hope was invested in at least some of those things and all for little or no lasting return. My bubble has been burst – repeatedly. You can’t buy a better, longer cast.

Worse, far worse than false hope, is yielding to instinct, the one that says to cast further I need to throw harder. It’s been my public enemy No. 1 for nearly all the time I’ve been fly casting and still, I have to try not to heave on my longest casts, not even just a little bit, not even if it’s ok to “hit it” once I’ve gone past the danger zone. No, no, non, nein, nyet. méiyǒu, ie, nei, and the same in any other language.

We can’t play like Segovia, sing like Domingo, dance like Fonteyn, or cook like Tetsuya just by reading the book or watching the video. Why would it be any different for fly casting?

Of course, we do not all aspire, even secretly, to cast like Joan Wulff or Steve Rajeff but what made all these people great is relentless devotion to technique. From that we can learn something! What we learn is that there are no shortcuts, substitutes, silver bullets or gee whiz gadgets that will spare us the work, effort, discipline and dedication to task. We can not google the answers to everything.

There are several ways to respond to the inescapable, we can avoid and resist, we can be crushed or, we can be inspired.

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