I hear it all the time; “If I could cast better, I would fly fish more.”
The secret to better casting is to cast more.
The secret to casting better is to cast more in challenging conditions.
The secret to casting better is to stick with it.
I flyfish 99.9% of the time. Its just what I’ve grown to love and its what I prefer. I may not produce the same numbers of caught fish as I once did with traditional tackle, but I find my experience more rewarding.
Casting more is key to getting better. Not on the lawn, but on the water. I’ve found that simply spending time on a local pond in the neighborhood is both a great way to unwind at the end of the day, the increased the frequency of working on casting translated to better and more successful time on the water when actually fishing.
Practice on the water is key. The rod and fly line are working in their intended environment.
Add to the practice sessions by introducing challenges that will cause you to fail. A tree in an uncomfortable place behind you, a stiff breeze or a dock that blocks the ideal casting lane will force you to problem solve when it matters least and give you experience that will prepare you for when it matters most, on the water actively fishing.
A challenge that is often overlooked, but will always present itself in the real world is a need to deliver the fly on your weak side. Spend time working on delivering a fly on the back cast. If you have confidence and accuracy on the back cast delivery, you’ll double the water you’re able to fish.
Lastly, leave the gear at home. All too often a spinning rod is the crutch that enables failure in fly fishing, especially in the saltwater environment. They are evil and sap your resolve to stay the course. Remove it and stay in the game even when the conditions are sporty. You’ll be forced to improve and the rewards will get bigger and better.