CASTING MATTERS: Making the Investment


I think this is partially a symptom of fly fishing having become a gear-obsessed sport with manufacturers reinforcing the idea that the latest technology, material, or taper design is the ticket to fly-fishing glory. As mentioned in my review of the 4th generation Orvis Helios, there is no disputing the fact that advances in rod design and build technology have given us access to some killer tools. Even line tapers and coatings have gotten crazy good in recent years. But along the way, casting skill has been pushed ever further out of the limelight. The hard truth? Without a properly executed cast, the benefits baked into those beautiful feats of engineering remain mostly, if not completely, inaccessible to the angler.   

In a society consumed with shortcuts to performance—10 tips for this, 5 hacks for that, the ONE secret that will unlock that yet-unrealized level of success—it can be hard sell to tell someone there is no quick fix. But here’s the good news. It’s not like getting a root canal. Casting practice, done right, can be a ton of fun. You may even, like me, start going out on the lawn to cast for the sheer relaxation and enjoyment of it. Okay, let’s assume for the moment that I’ve convinced you to make the investment in yourself. Beyond a lesson with a qualified instructor (which I still highly recommend), historically it’s been hard to know just where to begin, not to mention how to understand exactly what condition your condition is in. Until now. 

Enter the Fly Fishers International Fly Casting Skills Development (FCSD) program. It includes 4 levels of achievement: Foundation, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. And since we can’t expect everyone to be casting geeks like we are (though a girl can dream), the curriculum revolves around real-world fly angling applications. It includes the essential casts and skills to take fly anglers from a simple pick-up/lay-down cast to complex slack line presentations and bankable distance and accuracy. Because a pretty cast is nice, but I’m less interested in how good it looks than I am in how well it works! And you can choose your adventure, as they say. Maybe you want to work up to Gold, or perhaps reaching Bronze or Silver is sufficient for the frequency and scenarios you fish. In any case, I promise you that every cast you learn, and master, will enhance your enjoyment of the sport and lead to greater success on the water.  

Any program is only as good as its accessibility and execution. That’s one of the reasons I agreed to sign on to the FFI Texas Council Board as Casting Director. Over the coming months, we will be offering virtual (open to all – see the events calendar for the latest) and in-person (TX) casting programming. I will also be working with FFI certified instructors, club presidents, and club casting leads across the state to bring this outstanding program to your doorstep, offering ample opportunity to learn, practice, and achieve whatever casting and fly-fishing goals you’d like to set. It’s my goal to shine a spotlight on the value of casting skill in the sport, make the necessary tools to achieve it available to everyone, and have a ton of fun in the process. 

While we have a particular vision about how to approach it in the Lone Star State, the FCSD program is being rolled out worldwide. So, no matter where you live, across the country or the globe, there’s never been a better time to consider joining your local FFI club, nor an opportunity to glean more value. Show up and we’ll show you what we mean. Call me naive, but I think we can make casting cool again. 

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