I have been teaching fly fishing – fly casting in particular – to a hell lot of fly fishermen (and women). Often I was asked about the talent being necessary to become an excellent fly caster. The truth is, nearly everyone can become an excellent fly caster in a relatively short time.
To those of you who don’t believe me yet:
The first thing you need to do is to break the barrier in your mind telling you not to be able to seriously improve in short time. The same belongs to those not having time to regularly train fly casting. Make time! And please don’t tell me not to have any grass/field nearby. There is always a place to train one’s fly casting.
It’s also true that all my students showed different learning/improving speed. Yet no one was really slow in general. Often the learning curve changes from one exercise to the next one. While one student performs one exercise great and struggles a bit on the next one, the next student may do opposite. In the end of a lesson usually every student has improved significantly. If it didn’t happen, obviously I was a bad teacher not yet having an excellent way to get the “how to” shifted over to that student in particular. Yes, I seriously had to work on my teaching skills and still have to. There is always room to improve – we all learn different to some degree!
Anyway I didn’t have a single student who didn’t clearly improve within just one lesson for years now. But hey this is not about telling you what a great teacher I am. It’s about telling you that YOU can do it!
Here are the most important key factors to increase your learning curve:
1. Perform only some false casts at a time in order to always keep the proper technique instead of getting exhausted and starting to compensate your technique.
2. Train with a length of line which you really master. Don’t start compensating/overdoing due to too much of line length outside the tip.
3. Go thru relatively short training sessions (45 minutes, an hour the most) avoiding to get exhausted due to too long sessions.
4. Train regularly = once a week is great, once in two weeks is still fine.
5. Use a set of exercises for your training. Focus on one (and one only) target at a time. One exercise = one target to reach!
6. Focus on the key elements in fly casting.
7. Never handle anything you have come across too dogmatic. For example many fly casting instructors may have told you to keep your wrist firm. Instead you may want starting directly to learn how to use it (slightly first) for controlled movements making it much easier for you to master all key elements. In the end we are all different and need to find the way matching best for us.
8. If you have any serious trouble in your cast, stop casting and find the cause first. Mostly your cast won’t increase by accident.
9. Check if you are really doing what you think you are doing. Video may be a way here. Or you can watch your shadow on the grass!
10. Finish your training session with a proper cast supporting to start the next session in a proper mood. ;)
The most important point to improve your learning curve is to understand how fast your muscle memory works. If you feed it with just a few compensated (improper) movements it will start to store immediately. So you better stay within the range you master. The improvement then will come in FAST – very fast often!
Hopefully I could give you some motivation to further improve your fly casting skills!?
In the end fly fishing will be significant more fun when you’ll get the fly to the fish with finesse.
And who knows – you may even catch it?! I have done it myself a few times. ;)
You don’t believe to have the abilities to become a great fly caster? Let’s have a chat here on Sexyloops – where a serious number of well experienced fly casting instructors meet! ;)
Last week Marina and I had a blast fishing together with Uwe Rieder and Christof Menz on the rivers Alm and Laudach in Austria. Beautiful water holding a fair number of nice fish (Rainbow trout, Brown trout and a few grayling). Thanks a lot, mates: You both are truly fantastic teachers in nymph and dry fly fishing!
Then we joined the Lakeside Fly Casting Festival, Austria over the weekend. The festival was well organized and we really enjoyed being part of it helping people to learn fly casting in particular. Marina came third in the fly casting competition (Switch cast + overhead cast done with the 5wt. MED on a trout rod) making me proud of being her teacher. Robert Hammer (SUI) came first just before Kai Finbraten (NOR). Truly outstanding casting to watch. Also Velibor Milicevic (BHV) showed outstanding fly casting in the warm up! Lots of details on all different styles in distance fly casting have been shared, thanks a lot everyone!
Today I’ll be back into teaching single hand fly casting - same on Friday and Saturday. So there will be a lot of fly casting coming up this week. Couldn’t be much better, I think. Of course I will have some shots on pike perch in the nights – can’t wait!!!
Great week to all of you!
All my best
Some pictures as usual…