The October session of School of Trout wrapped up yesterday in Last Chance, Idaho, on the banks of the Henry’s Fork. All told, it was a great week with great folks, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. All the students were highly motivated to improve their skills, and I believe they accomplished just that—especially when it came to their fly casting. We faced a few weather challenges along the way, but much fun was had by all and everyone learned a lot from our diverse group of expert instructors.
It’s my belief that nothing is as important in this sport as having complete control over your line, leader, and fly. If you possess that control, you’re going to have a lot of fun fishing and meet with a lot of success. If you can’t control your line and fly, fly fishing can be a real struggle. School of Trout students learn what proper casting fundamentals look and feel like, they learn the principles that govern the behavior of their fly line and, importantly, we teach them how to self-diagnose their own casting. That way, if they make a bad cast, they’ll know what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how to fix it. Very few anglers are taught these methods, even though they’re critical to fully enjoying this sport.
Weather forced us to cast indoors a couple times this past week, using yarn practice rods from Echo. My fellow professional instructors were all gracious enough to cast individually in front of the class, subjecting their casting strokes to our intense and withering analysis. This provided plenty of fodder for thought (and plenty of laughs, too—thanks again, pros, for your good humor) as everyone came to realize that even the pros can benefit from professional help. Chris Hunt, Trout Unlimited’s digital media director, wrote a blog post about his experience here: https://www.tu.org/blog/everyone-needs-a-tune-up/
If you want to be a better fly angler, it all starts with your casting stroke. Make sure it’s fundamentally sound, and then guard it carefully. Be careful to whom you listen. There’s a lot of bad casting advice lurking around, especially out there in cyberspace, waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting strokes that wander by.