Is There a Proper Way to Cast?

The world of fly fishing is full of myth and mystery. Many things get passed down among fly fishermen for generations whether they are accurate or not. Fly fishing is not immune to this. 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock. Don’t bend the wrist, bend the wrist. Micro second wrist, power snap, etc… etc… etc…

Fly casting can be divided into two main categories. Substance and style, substance is the physics that actually govern the cast such as the path of the rod tip and the loading and unload of the rod. Style, is what the hand, arm and body do in order to achieve substance. Too often, in the world of fly casting, people teach style, even when the physics of the cast don’t support their argument.

Every person is built differently. Some of us have stronger wrists or stronger forearms etc… We each have different strengths and weaknesses. We each have different stroke lengths and everyone accelerates differently along their own stroke length. Teaching proper substance means that the cast will always be right. I don’t care what you do with your hand and arm, if the substance is correct, the cast will work well.

I almost never teach style and try to teach substance whenever I can. If I tried to teach a person who had a rotator cuff problem to cast without bending their wrist, they may not be able to cast well since they would not be able to raise and lower their arm well. I recently had a student who had been in a car accident. The tendons in his fingers had been severed. We had to play with several different styles of casting until we found something that worked for him. It brought me great pleasure to be a small part of his overcoming tragedy. I appreciated the challenge as an instructor because it forced me to think “out of the box”, teach him substance, and help him play with styles that his disability would accommodate. This would not have been possible for him if I would have insisted that he “do it correctly” according to the popular books and videos of today.

I wonder what disabilities other fly fisherman have faced and overcome.