Fourty Feet In Four Seconds

CoverDifferent folks have tried to invent casting competitions over the years to rate fly fishers. Let’s get this straight: Casting competitions rate casters, not anglers. I don’t care what anyone says, being able to cast a fly line 115 feet is entertaining, but it is not practically important, especially not in trout fishing. And while throwing flies into a floating hula hoop may be good target practice, it’s a far cry from the real deal. My friend Travis Holeman, who fished the professional red-fish tour (but is an all-around angler and a damn good trout fisherman), summed up the difference between a “real-life” good caster and a “for-show” good caster this way: “Give me 40 feet, on target, in four seconds, and you’ll catch more fish—I don’t care if you’re talking redfish, trout, or salmon—than anyone.” In other words, factor in timing. A real test for your angling skills would be to set out a course of targets that are all 40 feet away from you, numbered 1 through 10. Someone calls a number at random, and you have four seconds and one cast to put a fly you’re holding in your hand within two feet of that target. Not fast enough, no good. Not close enough, no good. Work on that little exercise long enough, and when Mr. Brown Trout pokes his head up in the river, you’ll be comfortable with what you have to do. Your cast doesn’t have to be long—it has to be on target, and on time. That’s what makes a good caster, and a successful angler. —K.D.