Did I ever say how difficult Spey casting can be?
Every fly fisherman and woman makes a bad cast now and then. In my case I expect to do it more times than not. Lately though I have developed some bad habits with my technique and I needed help. Golfers sometimes get a case of the “shanks”. I got a case of the, well I don’t know what to call it but it isn’t good. Most of my forward casts were ending up in a pile of line about 20 feet in front of me. To make matters worse I was flinching because my fly was zinging over my head with the subtly of a B-52 coming in for a landing. I needed to figure out what was wrong and quick. I didn’t want another incident of insert hook in cheek and not catching fish sucks. Only problem was that I had to figure this out for myself and with my vast experience this would prove to be difficult.
With all that in mind I headed down to the Huron River this last Saturday morning. I didn’t expect there to be a lot of people on the water so I could concentrate on my casting, without embarrassing myself at the same time. I spent the previous night going over my notes on casting to see if I could spot the flaw in my form. I really didn’t expect to come across some divine revelation but I was hoping that I might spot something that I was forgetting to do. Nothing really stood out so I did the next best thing, return to the basics. No more trying to get fancy or over think my cast. Just go through the motions, remember the basic form and see what happens. With that in mind I waded out into the river. I pulled my fly line off the reel and laid it out downstream. I took a deep breath and went through the motion, anchor set, rod tip low, D loop, arms in, pull with left hand, rod tip high and angled to the side and swish……
I just stood there with a “how the hell did I do that” look on my face. As the fly drifted downstream I thought about everything I did as I got ready to repeat the process.
Anchor set, rod tip low, D Loop, arms in, pull with left hand, rod tip high and angled to the side and swish……
I repeated this process over and over again for the next hour. I would flub one up about every 10th cast but it was a lot better than the every other cast mess I was producing my last trip. I was feeling pretty good about my cast, so good that I wasn’t even thinking about catching a fish. I really didn’t expect to catch one today. The water was 35 degrees and very clear. The fish are concentrated in the deeper holes and slow water I wasn’t at either. My intent today was more form over function. I did have a fly on, just in case, but I wasn’t expecting much. After about an hour I decided to head for home. A boat had come through earlier and broke up a lot of shelf ice. Trying to correct a cast is hard enough without having to dodge ice flows as well. Besides, I had cured my case of the “shanks”.