Charles Ritz defined time ago three basic types of fly anglers: conscious casters, non-conscious casters and non-interested casters. Had Mr. Ritz been still alive he could discover by himself that he had missed another kind: those that not only say that perfecting your fly casting is useless, but make every effort to discredit and insult those who believe and do just the opposite. The number of these individuals is really small -as small, by the way, is the number of anglers really interested in fly casting but they are determined to try to destroy what they don't like. Their arguments are basically two:
- Firstly, that good fly casting technique, including a good repertoire of presentation casts, is not only completely useless for getting good fishing results, more than that, the best casters are, without exception, very poor anglers -don't worry Paul, I won't tell anybody :-)
More than 30 years ago, in Spain there were just a handful of anglers fishing with fly-rod and fly-line. At that time, fly fishing was synonymous of coq de Leon wet flies and a bubble float. And that was the kind of fishing that my grandpa and his fishing buddy taught to me. However I knew that there was another technique; I don't remember when or where I had discovered it, probably on an old issue of “Field & Stream” that I inexplicably found (as my father wasn't a fisherman) in my father's library. That technique fascinated me, so I was talking to my grandpa about it day in day out. It was then that I discovered that he even had a fibreglass fly rod and a fly reel (some gift, I suppose), so I was delighted expecting that I was just about to discover a new world. But it turned out that the discovery should wait some more years yet: my grandfather did his best to dissuade me of trying to learn the “new” technique, and his discouragement and the lack of information ended up frustrating my expectations.
“Fly fishing is good for American rivers, it doesn't work on our streams”, that was my grandfather's version of the present motto “fly casting is unnecessary”. Traditionalism rejecting new ideas is no wonder though, of course, it doesn't prevent that fly fishing was as universally effective as fly casting is one (not the only one) of the pillars of fishing with fly rod and line.
- Secondly, the anti-casting crusade repeats (as an incontrovertible proof of his first point and assuming that those who win fishing championships are better anglers than everybody else) that competition fly fishers don't give a damn about fly casting. It's no wonder that when you are Czech nymphing, fly casting technique is no use -even fly fishing gear is a hindrance: there are more suitable kinds of tackle for fishing more effectively a nymph under the rod tip- but when using other fishing techniques fly casting is essential. Those competitors than don't rely exclusively on Czech nymphing are aware of the fact that presentation and good casting are intimately related and, when fishing still waters from the bank, the ability to cast far can be a determining factor.
Last week a Spanish competitor, Jonathan Torralbo, won second place in the Fly Fishing World Championship held in Portugal (congratulations for him). Jonathan is a good distance caster and eager to improve, so recently he has been perfecting his technique with Alejandro, the master of Spanish distance casting.
So, competition fly fishers don't give a damn about fly casting? It seems that -as the Spanish saying goes- some people are more papists than the Pope himself.