I see it all the time. I mean being ill-prepared for your upcoming trip abroad, specially regarding the proper casting technique to match the challenge ahead. And I have been guilty of it more times than I would like to admit. Frustration —highly aggravated by a depleted bank account— awaits ahead.
So train your casting regularly, starting way before the trip of your dreams begins. Mine is less than a month away. To New Zealand. Probably one of the trips of my lifetime, so I am training as much as I can, not as much as I’d like though.
Anyway it is very true that casting is just one of the array of skills that a successful angler must posses. So, apart from the casting practice, I thought it was time to reread my own notes about some common mistakes and pitfalls, in order to keep them in my subconscious mind when on the water… then adding some more that have been coming to my head after the season was over. Here they are:
- Check your surroundings, specially up and behind you before starting to cast. Trees don’t need more decoration, they are beautiful as such.
- Oval casts are great for heavy nymphs… but also for casting any kind of fly in confined spaces. They help in keeping your fly box well stuffed: it is always better to snag a branch at head height than five meters above you.
- Take fly drag as a given, and act accordingly. Always.
- Having that point above in mind, don’t expect to fix with your line already on the water what you didn’t devise while it still was in the air.
- The ever shortening tippet: every change of fly changes the drifting characteristics of your leader. Take it into account as well when thinking of drag. And don’t be lazy.
- Learn to discern hidden drag. Many times the difference between a bad and a good drift is really minute.
- Change position, casting tactics or both before changing fly.
- When in doubt pull, it could be a fish, even The Fish. This is pretty evident with nymphs and streamers (I keep some painful memories of that), but even the disappearance of that dry fly, apparently sucked in by a small swirl, could be the telltale of a different story.