Essential or a Frill ?
I remember when I first read about a flycaster who claimed to be able to cast over 120 ft. This seemed an impossibility to me, my style of casting, although I didn't know it at the time, consisted mostly of very open tailing loops which limited my range to 50 or 60 ft and if there was a moderate wind there would be many frustrating tangles. As time went on and I took up still water and steelhead fishing I began to notice that the fly casters who could reach out further either caught more fish or caught fish when I caught none. Thus, I was motivated to begin the frustrating process of learning distance casting. After many, many hours of practice tight non tailing loops, double haul, drift and follow through all came together to give me the capability of casting well over 100 ft.
So what, you say. Don't all the books and instructors tell us that it isn't necessary to cast over 40 ft to catch fish ? Well, yes they do and it is true, but you will catch more and bigger fish if you have the capability when it is needed. Too many of us remember the statement made about not needing distance to catch fish and never try to improve - too much trouble and frustration.
When and why long casts help:
Any blind casting situation because each cast covers more water.
Deep water, like salt water fishing for rock fish, because if the water is 60 ft deep a 100 ft cast is equal to a 30 ft cast in shallow water and that assumes there is little or no current to keep the line from the bottom (Obviously, in this case, a 60 ft cast wouldn't even get to the bottom).
Dry flies on still waters because you can place the fly in the path of more cruising fish.
Dry flies on streams too swift or deep to cross, particularly when the far bank is inaccessible to most fishermen, because the big fish that always seem to be on the other side can be reached.
Strong wind conditions because the skills required for long casts make it possible to drive the line into or across the wind.
I have had the pleasure of fishing with many fly casters of varying casting skills. Im sure they would all confirm that, in situations where we were both using the same lines and flies, the person able to cast the greatest distance usually caught more and larger fish.
Distance casting is an essential part of meeting the demands of difficult situations and if the flycaster is to be successful in most all situations it is a skill he must have.
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