It is a scene played over and over on every river, lake, and waterway across the globe. Fly fisherman who are making too many casts! It is a real problem that goes way deeper than fly fishing. The fact is that if you make fewer casts you will catch more fish!
Now that I have your attention, let’s address a few common problems and mistakes that practically all fly anglers of every skill level make.
Too many false casts. This is the most common problem. I see it all the time, an angler making more that 2 false casts to cast a short amount of line. You can accomplish the same amount of line distance with one back cast as you can with two or three or fifteen. It is entirely possible to throw twenty feet of line with one back cast. Twenty feet of line is plenty in most situations (unless the conditions are making the trout spooky)
Casting and recasting. How many times have you seen someone make a cast, let it hit the water only to pick it right back up and redirect to where they wanted it to go. I am here to tell you that the fish are Everywhere and just because you didn’t put it where you wanted it to go does not mean that you won’t catch a fish there. By immediately recasting, the fish were likely to spook. Moral of the story here is to fish every cast, even if it is a bad cast!
Bad casts catch more fish! This is true. The law of averages applies here. People make more bad casts than they do good casts, therefore bad casts catch more fish. There is also another reason, when a person makes a good cast they immediately start patting themselves on the back, this leads to distraction and missing more fish.
A tale of two anglers: I had two anglers a few years ago who were polar opposites in skill and in health, it was a good reminder to me that sometimes less is more in fly fishing. Bob, who had just returned from a trip to the Bahamas, could throw it a mile and his casts were beautiful. Jim, on the other hand, had been recovering from a recent back surgery, he could only sit down to fish and his casts only made it a few feet from the boat. While Bob did make an attempt to listen, he still tried to throw it a mile, and because he made ten to twelve false casts he tangled the double dropper rig up quite a few times. Jim on the other hand did the best he could and kept his flies in the water. Jim boated over 30 fish (from a siting position and only casting about twelve feet) and Bob only caught about 15 (from the front of the boat and standing). The reason for Jims success you might ask? Jim kept his flies in the water and made fewer casts, setting a hook on a trout twelve feet from the boat is much easier than setting the hook thirty to forty feet from the boat. Less is more!
It’s a marathon not a sprint. Last time I checked, no one is getting any younger. My point here is that fewer casts or making economical casts will help your longevity as an angler. If you want to fish all day, pacing yourself is important. Fly fishing is exercise and you will be beat in the middle of the day if you wear yourself out casting, so make fewer, more economical casts.
To sum it all up: Go fishing, make smart, economical casts. And enjoy yourselves, fly fishing is supposed to be fun!