Carol Northcut | Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Joists, sister joists, blocking, joist hangers, footer blocks, structural screws, decking screws, facia boards, grooved composite boards, square composite boards, breaker boards . . .. As you might guess, we’re (98% Steve) building a low-to-the-ground floating deck (not attached to the house) in the back yard. Never having built a deck from scratch, Steve’s doing an amazing job: the 12’ x 22’ foundation is only out of square by 1/32nd of an inch. He’s been meticulous about measuring, leveling, following best practices, and over-building to ensure stability and durability.

So how does this apply to casting? Everything in casting is rooted in a couple of foundational casts. Yeah, yeah. We all know that. But what’s good to remember is that, just like a building’s foundation, it is critical to make those casts solid. It shouldn’t be rushed. The casting student is wise to spend a lot of time with, and give attention to, getting it right. Just like a poorly-built structural foundation impacts every piece being added to it, so too poor foundational casts adversely affect every cast that stems from them. When I started getting serious about casting, my mentor said, “We need to retool your cast.” That meant, it had a lot of problems. The foundation needed to be disassembled and rebuilt.

Also consider that, just as building materials and techniques change over time, so do the materials and techniques we use to build a cast. For instance, we now have some amazing video tools at our dispose, as well as drills developed by others. Our understanding of casting and body mechanics have progressedand the casting instructor should keep up with those changes. Just because you’ve been doing something one way and it works fairly well doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.

Yesterday I met with the casting instructor of a local fly fishingclub. He still teaches “ten and two” and other overly-simplifiedconcepts. A retired fishing guide, he’s more interested in the customer catching fish. It is “quick and dirty,” but it gets the job done for that day. When wearing the casting instructor hat, however, our students are better served by helping them build solid foundations for solid structures, not pine-bough lean-tos.