Thanksgiving and Black Friday are behind us and we’re now on the downhill slide to Christmas. If you are reading this column the day it comes out, I want to remind you that you have only 25 days of shopping left. Get with it and go buy me something! I have an early Christmas gift for you this year in the form of a fishing tip. One size fits all, so don’t even think about returning it. Instead, work on it, use it and catch more fish.
The last two clients I had out on the boat this week had more than one casting problem in common. But one of these problems stood out above the others: They were making too many false casts.
False casting is keeping the flyline in the air during your back cast and forward cast over and over, without allowing the line or fly to touch the water in the form of a presentation. When we first start out fly fishing, it’s a common practice to make too many false casts. It’s natural: You haven’t quite got the mechanics of the cast down. But once you get past that point, you need to settle with all the false casts.
For some people, excessive false casting happens because they’re tying make each cast better than the last. Others just don’t realize it’s a problem. Whatever your reason may be for excessive false casts, in order to become a better angler, you need to stop it. Save the false casting for practicing on the lawn and casting competitions. One of the best ways to take your fly fishing (and catching) to the next level is to force yourself to minimize your false casting on the water.
I don’t remember when I decided to cut down on my false casts, or if it was even a conscious decision, but I can tell you it will help you become a better caster and fisherman when you are able to do so. Have you ever said to yourself, to a guide or fishing buddy, “I should have let that last one go?” I heard it several times the last couple of days. Of course, it always came after several false casts and a poor presentation. My comment was, “You should have let it go three casts ago.”
Clients with or without false casting problems have done well the last couple weeks. Lots of snook up to 25 inches are being caught on baitfish patterns. We’re finding these up around the mangroves with deeper water access. We’ve had several redfish hooked up, but only rats 16 to 20 inches were landed. A few bigger reds (and one much bigger) were lost due to poor hooksets, and these were talked about at great length. We’re getting good numbers of trout with a few nice ones up to 22 inches. Of course, abundant jacks and ladyfish round out the catches, with a couple of decent gag grouper and bluefish thrown in for fun. There are still a few baby tarpon around, so that’s an option as well.
False casting along with other casting faux pas are easy to correct. There is no reason to panic or get frustrated and give up. Just give yourself some time to work the kinks out. Here’s a little added bonus to your Christmas gift: Learn to shoot line on your back cast, and it will be much easier to get rid of excessive false casting.
If you want more help on cutting down on the false casts or any other casting problem, give yourself a Christmas present. Fixing casting problems is a specialty of mine. Call me and we can get together on the water or on the lawn and work them out. It just takes a little productive practice to build muscle memory, which comes with repetition of the proper mechanics.
Capt. Rex Gudgel is a fly fishing guide in the Boca Grande area and an International Federation Of Fly Fishers Master Certified casting instructor. If you’d like to get casting lessons, book a trip or just need more fly fishing info, contact him at 706-254-3504 or visit BocaGrandeSlamFlyFishing.com or CastWithRex.com.