by Bryant J. Cochran, Jr.
It seems that fly fishers are a lot like golfers when it comes to equipment.
I can’t count how many times I have been told that the new rod or clubs will make a difference in the ability to cast or catch more fish or lower the score of the person who spent the money on them. Normally I nod my head and say something about how great the new equipment looks, all the while thinking that more practice would have insured the higher success rate the friend so desperately wants. People don’t want to hear that there is no magic wand. Sure I buy new equipment. I have lots of rods, being a rod builder tends to make it easy to build a rod for a specific task . I recently bought a new reel that will hold a 9wt. line, I didn’t have one but now I do. I’ll build just the right rod for that line too, as soon as I have some time for my self. It’ll be a beauty and I will have to make a few hundred casts with it to learn the feel and balance of my new rig.
The point I’m making is that the best equipment is the equipment that you know the best. I practice a lot because I have a lake one mile from my home and I am teaching my daughter to fly cast. I also love to practice my casting because it makes my trips to trout streams much more fun when I can make a great cast first thing. I catch more fish too, since my confidence level is high.
Another thing I hear a lot is how far my friends can cast a line. Sure I can throw the line 100 ft. but unless I am on a large salmon or steelhead river I rarely make a cast over 30 ft. This means I need to be most proficient at casts of 20 to 30 feet. Think how many fish you could catch if you were able to put your fly in the exact right drift lane every time you made a cast. My experience and field notes ( you write this stuff down too don’t you?) indicate that the exact right spot is approximately 1 inch (1.5 cm) in diameter for the finicky feeding trout, a little larger for those trout that aren’t finicky. No wonder I miss some. My casting goal is to be able to make 10 casts to a circle that is this size and have my fly land right on the spot 10 times. No I haven’t made it yet but I will keep practicing until I do. How about you?