My cast was sloppy. The fly landed well short of where I thought a fish would be. The fly line hit the water awkwardly. The tippet was stacked on itself. I made a brief mend, but it was still ugly. My fly had drifted only two or three feet when I raised my rod for a do-over. The moment my fly left the water a nice rainbow broke the surface for it. I pulled the Caddis right out of his mouth.
“Ehhhhhrr.” I whispered.
I cast back to the fish and smiled. This time, the cast was perfect, but there was no rise.
Fish What You Have.
I used to false cast much more than I do now. If I did not like my cast, I would quickly pick it up and cast again. No more. Time on the river has changed me. My casting has become more accurate, but more importantly I discovered the benefits of fishing what I have.
First, the more time you spend false casting, the less time your fly has a chance to entice a trout to bite.
You cannot catch fish if your fly is not in the water.
Get your best drift out of it and try again after you give your fly a chance to catch a fish.
Second, you can learn from a bad cast. You can work on your mend, drift, line management, or hook set if you are lucky. The story at the beginning of this blog post is not unique.
I have had many times where I gave up too early on a cast or a drift and missed a fish. Sometimes, a sub-par cast with a sup-par drift will work. Trout will surprise you.
Finally, I am more relaxed and enjoy myself more when I take what I get from my cast. I always try to get better, and I strive for every cast, and mend, and drift to be my best, but when it is not, I fish it anyway.
It’s Not Just About Casting.
This attitude is not just about the cast. Sometimes a good guess is good enough when you pull out your fly box. I have tied some flies that came pretty close to the garbage bin, that ended up crushing trout on the river. And we have all had days when the weather is not perfect for fly fishing, but when we get in the car, and get to the river, the fishing is outstanding.
The longer I fly fish the more I realize that it is never perfect. I go. I learn. I get better. That’s the game. Wadeoutthere.