Distance Fly Casting
Fishing "fine and far-off" is a phrase rather over-worked in the literature of fly-casting and, moreover, one which we somewhat rarely see put into actual practice on stream or lake. The rarity of really fine and far-off fishing—the words being applicable only to fly-fishing, and more especially to the act of casting the fly—is easily explained. Far casting demands the best of skill and tackle, and fine fishing, in addition to the requirements of light leaders and small flies, calls for extreme accuracy and delicacy in laying down leader and flies far-off on the water. To attain to fine and far casting and fly-fishing the angler must have the best of rods, a line entirely suited to being cast by that rod, leader and fly-snells working well together and both in keeping with the line in use; also there is requisite the skill in casting resulting from long practice and, it must be admitted, natural ability in that direction. Expert fly-casting is natural to some men just as skillful wing-shooting is to others. So we do not see very much fishing fine and far-off.
The everyday fly-fisherman contents himself with short-distance casting and does not sufficiently refine his tackle to make far-casting possible, even if his wrist were equal to the occasion. And quite often the man who owns the finest and most expensive rods, rods made with the utmost manual skill for the express purpose of better-than-average fly-casting, fishes with bait. It is not often that we find an angler whose tackle, skill, stream knowledge, and experience are adequate to the sort of casting and fishing under discussion. And yet at some time on every trout stream, and on some streams at all times, fine and far-casting are imperative for success; and it would seem that no enthusiastic fly-caster should rest satisfied with his tackle and methods until both have been brought to the point where long and delicate casting is within his power. With a view to italicizing the fact that skilled rod handling and discriminating tackle selection have their sure reward, certain times and places are noted in the following paragraphs where and when casting fine and far-off is either advantageous or imperative.
Generally speaking, the time when a long line and delicate leader and flies are most in demand is in the late spring and summer; not always, of course, even at this time, because the stream is frequently replenished by rains. But when very low and crystal clear water prevails, when a gut leader of average caliber looks on the surface of the water or beneath it like the Atlantic cable, and when the brook trout, poised in the shallow riffles, seem to see the angler for half a mile, then the man who can compass reasonable, not tournament, long distance casts, and who understands and appreciates the killing qualities of the ephemeral leader and the almost infinitesimal fly is in his element. And who would deny that one trout taken under such conditions, by virtue of skilled casting and fine tackle, is worth vastly more than a dozen taken by chuck-and-chance-it short line casting under easier circumstances?
It should, however, be said that the long cast, under dry weather conditions, if the angler will keep himself out of sight, is not so important as the use of small flies and fine leaders. A friend of the writer's is a very successful low-water fisherman, and yet I do not think that he ever put out over forty feet of line in his life; but when the stage of the water and the shyness of the trout require it he invariably uses midge flies and the finest of fine leaders, in the employment of which he is passing skillful—and keeps out of sight. I have seen this angler fish through a meadow where no brush screened the brook, behind two other fly-casters, and come out with several good fish when the two men who preceded him took nothing. Progress for the most part on "hands and knees," a fine and long leader, and midge flies did the trick; and, by the way, something besides pile-driver methods are necessary if you would rise, strike, and land a good trout on a midge. Frequently, however, keeping out of sight is impossible, or a matter of too much difficulty, and then long casting is the only thing.
Camp, Samuel Granger. The Fine Art of Fishing. New York: Outing Pub., 1911. Print.
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