The mechanism and the context

The mechanism and the context

Richard Zijdeman | Wednesday, 24 October 2018

My loops are not yet sexy, cute at best, in a clumsy sort of way. I’m practicing casting for somewhat more than a year now, of which the last 5 to 6 months more intensively. The reason I joined ‘The Kingfisher’, my friendly neighbourhood fly fishing club, is because I wanted to learn how to catch fish close to my home. I live in a suburb, and while I’d love to go to Sweden, Lake Ontario or New Zealand to catch one of those Youtube trouts, it is just not feasible at this point in time. When I go fishing, I have about two hours to spend, so the magic has got to happen within those precious hours. Today, it did.

Much of my fly fishing hours are, of course, not actually hours spent on fishing, but hours spent on casting practice. Sometimes by myself on a small field close by, but in the Netherlands we’re also gifted with the RANO and The Kingfisher’s Casting Four clinics, where (EFFA) instructors give great guidance and feedback on your loops. (This is actually how I learned about sexy loops). One of the clinics I attended, focused on drag reducing casts, such as the reach cast. I particularly liked the way the instructor introduced these casts. In an imaginary river of blue ribbons, pilons were distributed unevenly, reflecting an array of different currents. The instructor explained how each cast matched a particular type of current and how the cast could reduce drag.

Despite the hands-on approach, it seemed a bit exotic to me. While we have some great rivers and streams to fish in, most water in the Netherlands is actually standing water. And from what I’ve seen, even in streaming water most people fish with wet flies, diminishing the need for drag-reducing casts in the Dutch context. So until today the reach cast was nothing more than a welcome variation in the training programme. One that I particularly like, because unlike most other things in fly-casting, it is rather intuitive to me.

Perhaps that was the reason, that today I ‘discovered’ a, in my context, more natural application of the reach cast. Close to my house, there’s a small ‘canal', we Dutchies pronounce it like “sloat". In the canal the fish are on the opposite side of the bank, close to the brown-yellowish canes, where they play hide and seek with bass or an occasional pike. When I fish in that canal, I usually cast my nymph in a 45 degree angle on the water. It allows me to get close to the canes, but after two or three strips, the nymph usually is already too far away from the canes to lure any fish. And then this morning it hit me. Maybe because I was practicing before going fishing, or because I watched some 80’s video on how to do the reach cast in a trout-rich environment. But whatever it was, it felt like an epiphany. If I’d reach over the canal, directly after the diagonal cast, I’d actually be casting parallel to the cane, allowing my nymph to be close to the cane, even whilst stripping. A diagonal reach cast, but leaning forward, rather than side ways (luckily for me, a gate prevents me from falling in the canal).

Wait a minute, is that what this story is about? Well, yes and no. Obviously the story would have been better if I had caught some giant bass to augment this story with. But for me personally it meant that I was beginning to understand the philosophy of the reach cast, to overcome an unwanted situation and adapting to it by reaching just after the cast. To share that practice pays off, and allows you to be more effective whilst at the water: extremely precious time, definitely not just in my case. But the more important reason I’m sharing this story with you, is because my love for fly casting grew even more in that moment. Realizing, that the reach-mechanism was designed decades ago for a completely different setting, and was now showing off it’s worth here in my own context, set my heart on fire, making me fall in love with fly casting even more.



~ One of the many great uses for the Reach Cast! Always great to hear from our readers; I hope for some more FP articles Richard! Thank you!!! Kiss Bernd may be back next week with a new hand. Cheers, Paul