A lot of what you’ll read on casting on this site and elsewhere will explain the best way of achieving a ‘good’ cast, perhaps even a ‘great’ cast and will often focus on each small building block from how to place the feet, how to align the hips, how to move the hips and torso, how to move the shoulder, elbow and wrist and perhaps even rotate the body for certain movements. All of these building blocks join together to create a solid foundation on which to make a good cast.
But what if we remove the ability to incorporate one of or all of these mechanical aspects? The absolute core then becomes a focus on one thing – how the rod tip moves. You could argue it always was but I’d really like to reinforce thinking about that.
I was speaking to Craig, a friend of mine, the other night when this subject came up. He brought up the thought of traditional spey movements and lots of teaching seeking a rotation of the upper body during the sweep. If this can’t happen, the motion needs to be made in another way. Either by 1) adapting the taught stroke to move the rod by another means – purely the arms for example, or 2) adapt the entire cast to remove the need for this specific movement in the first place. Lee did a demo at the Scottish meet this year on some contrived spey casting targeted at getting a group up and running with fishing casts as quickly as possible without having to learn both hands up and trickier casts. The same thought process could be easily adapted in the situation where a lack of mobility would make a sweep incorporating body rotation impossible.
The above is one tiny example, there’s always another way of moving the body or not moving it to make the rod tip work in such a way to make a loop. Keep your mind open and try thinking about it next time you take a rod out. Try casting sitting down, lying down, no wrist, no shoulder, no elbow. Change everything but always make it work. This flexibility of approach won’t only aid your own casting in bastardly difficult fishing situations like hanging out a tree above a trout but it will undoubtedly better equip you to teach a less able bodied person effectively and ultimately travel with to them to their best casting.
To me it’s being flexible and having an open mind of how to achieve the cast that is critical. Don’t be afraid to break away from an accepted norm of casting or to try something new either with yourself or clients.
Let me know any thoughts and experiences from these teaching scenarios on the board!
(Currently rehabbing the back and dreaming of both snow and fishes!)