When I started fly fishing it wasn’t really to fly fish. I started so I’d have a reason to do all that casting. Heck if I wanted to catch fish all I had to do was get that collapsible, ultra-lite spinning rig out from under the seat and I could catch plenty of fish. But the casting and presentation wasn’t anywhere near as much fun. No it wasn’t the catching that got me into fly-fishing it was the casting.
Then one day, while fishing, I realized I didn’t seem to spend as much time casting as I used to. I know, I know – you can’t catch fish if your fly isn’t in the water so not casting is a good thing. I agree with that train of thought – at least – when you’re talking about false casting. But when you fly fish you, in my opinion, should cast once in awhile. Note I said you “should cast once in awhile” not you should lob your rig once in awhile. And a lobber was what I had become.
I’d put a strike indicator on my leader, maybe a couple of split-shot, a weighted fly and then I’d tie my leader so it had a right angle in to help the fly “get down quick.” It was a rig I could cast and I was legal in FFO waters but casting it would lead to tangles and other problems. So instead of casting I’d let the rig hang downstream and the downstream current would load the rod and I’d lob the fly, split-shot and weighted fly up and out. It was easier to lob than cast – simple as that and so I wasn’t casting.
So I decided to do something about that. I went retro.
I got rid of the strike indicator, took off the split-shot and went back to sinking lines and sink tips. Eureka, I could false cast again. I could pick up my line and make three or four false casts allowing me to change direction or work out more line and I didn’t have tangles. Simply said I was casting again – working the rod – doing double hauls, slack casts, reach casts, curve casts, and shooting line for distance. All good stuff and most of it I couldn’t do with strike indicators and split-shot unless I was willing to live with the inevitable tangles. Yep, all that and I was still catching fish
So have I sworn off strike indicators and split-shot? Do I think they aren’t part of fly-fishing and have no place on FFO streams? No and no. I still have and use strike indicators and still carry split-shot but I use them a lot less than I did two seasons ago. Why? Simply because I like to cast and sinking lines let me cast while still getting me down to those fish that are bottom huggers.
So for me – no – casting isn’t a dying art. I can still go out on the lawn and practice my curves, still double haul, still reach cast – all that good stuff. I’ve gone retro by going back to sinking and sink tip lines and, for me and my likes, I’ve gotten back to what got me started and kept me fly fishing all these years – the joy of casting.