A few days ago we stressed how important we think a little casting practice can be before a trip, and how many of our guests at Andros South spend a little time each day at our casting area working out the kinks from their day on the water.
Recently, while addressing a few casting flaws discovered after a blustery day on the flats, one of our guests made the comment, “sure, my cast feels great now, but it feels different when I tie the fly back on..”
The weight and wind resistance of a fly can certainly make a difference when casting, especially compared to a virtually weightless piece of yarn. Therefore, we like to keep a few ‘practice flies’ on hand at all times – flies tied in high-vis colors, in a simlar size and weight that we might expect to use on the flats, with the hook bend cut completely off to avoid snagging on the ground. That way, we’re able to simulate the real thing as closely as possible.
However, we usually only use practice flies when working on the presentation portion of the cast (presenting the fly delicately, accuracy, etc). When working on casting form alone (loop shape, tracking, double hauling, etc.), we prefer to practice without a fly in order to eliminate as many variables as possible, thus allowing us to focus on fundamentals alone.
Baseball fans can relate to this same principle.. A good hitter will practice hitting off a tee for hours to dial in the fundamental body movements of his swing without the added variables of a moving baseball. However, the same hitter would also be crazy not to take as many licks against a live pitcher as possible, thus simulating exactly what he’s going to experience on game day. Both training methods are important, and the same concept can be used when practicing your cast.