How a Practice Rod is Helping Me Catch More Fish!
One of my Fly Fishing Goals this year is to Cast Better. And getting out to the lawn, to the river, or the park is not always easy with daily life getting in the way. But I gotta get better so I have began to use the Practice Casting Rod again.
There are several practice rods available for you and me to use. And they all work. There’s at least 5 of them out there. Originally Wulff had one called the Fly-O. Looks like it is out of production as none avail on their site or elsewhere. And it was cool. Bamboo is cool. The Wulff’s brought us som many fly fishing things that are useful!
Currently I am using the one from Orvis. But again found the ECHO MPR Micro Practice Rod in the garage as well. So now I have two. Perfect.
One in the house. One in the garage.
Back to the pitfalls of daily life with children (I have none) and dogs (I have none) and spouses (I have one) and the lack of time to get out to the park etc. To scratch out time to do this very thing, get better with fly rod in hand, is difficult at best. And I do understand where this falls into (your) the priority list.
If the desire is there, and I know it is for you, then how do we accomplish this very simple and non-time consuming task? With a Practice Rod is how.
2 minutes will help. As you have heard me preach many times over the years practice casting is important for your Missouri River, or your local ditch, success. You do not need 2 hour long sessions to make you better this year. No. Several 2-10 minute sessions. I would argue that 10 minutes may be too long. 5 minutes will get you there quickly.
Spend time with the tool in your hands
I was at a Top Golf in Scottsdale AZ during a Spring Training Baseball jag a couple years back and took a golf lesson from the Pro. One of the things he said that made an impression on me was “Get yourself a club. An iron. Any iron. Go get it from the pawn shop. Does not have to be in good shape. Any iron. And while on the couch just hold it. Just feel it. Play with the grip. Get comfortable with the club. Just spend time with it. And that will help in the long run. Familiarity with the tool. Spend time with the tool in your hands.”
Man-O-Man. What great advice. Fly Casting is just like that. A practice casting rod allows you to spend time with the tool without making a big production out of it.
I cast while sitting on the couch. I cast while interviewing prospective Headhunters Fly Shop employees. I love holding a fly rod in my hand. It is a life passion of mine. My job. My everything. And this tool is a perfect way to advance my cause, without heading to the river.
And, you can go to the next level with this rod. Are you an intermediate caster? I believe most of us are just that. But I also believe that many will never progress beyond this point. Why? Not enough time with the rod in your hand. I get asked all the time “How can I get better at accuracy, distance, casting?”
Answer? Practice man. More time with the rod in your hand. And a practice caster will get you there.
Some say to me “I’ll practice when I get to the water. I don’t like practicing at home. It’s boring. I want to be on the water, it’s not the same.” Excuses for mediocrity is what I think those are. Cop-outs.
Be the Trout Hero this year!
You want to be good this year? Better than last year? You want to go to the next level? Like advanced casting? A Practice Rod is in your future.
And for under 50 bucks you can be the Trout Hero this year. Not the Trout Bummer bro. You want your fishing partner to invite you on the next cool fishing trip? Then you better step up my fishing friend. ‘Cause that lame ass effort you displayed last year ain’t gonna get you no more invites.
And I am thinking about the common story in the boat. One guy spends 3/4 of the day, or more, casting, not at the fish. He is casting poorly. He is practicing on rising fish. No time for practice when you are At the Show!
If you truly want to catch more fish, and make your fishing partner happy, picking up the dinner tab eases the pain for one of the days, but not all. You got more days fishing ahead of you.
It is immediately evident to the fishing guide, and the fishing partner that you have not put in the time. Your buddy has spent time in the park, in the living room, rod in hand. He has put in the time. And if you are having trouble reaching that rising trout at 25′ down and across…bro, you need to practice at home!!!!
Time with tool in hand. That is the operative portion of this discussion. 2-5 minutes a day. We can all afford that kind of commitment.
The beauty of a practice rod is that there are not fish in front of you. You can truly focus on the cast. Not on catching fish. Removing the fishing factors from your casting sessions is damn important. Pro football players practice. Scrimmage yes. But in game real time with a 300# gorilla trying to eat you…does not create a positive practice environment.
The practice rod can help with these most common casting issues listed below.
Dropping the rod tip. A huge problem. 90% of casters do this. It is an enormous casting epidemic. If you are one that does this, you will never progress past the skill that you are right now.
Stopping the rod upright. Not parallel to the water. Yes, the same issue as above. A big problem. The physics of the cast do not work when you do this. Not once. Not ever.
Reach Mend (Cast). An important tool for casting flies at rising trout.
All the rest. Tower Cast. Off-Shoulder Cast. Left Handed Casting.
Practice with your eyes closed! Try it.
Practice with a rod in each hand. Do it.
While there is a double haul kit you can get for your ECHO MPR, it does not feel like the real deal. It sort of does. But, most importantly, you can get the mechanics, the nuts and bolts, of that cast accomplished with the kit.
I am off to the garage, with coffee in hand, to get after it. I mostly practice with my off-hand. My left hand. Why not get good at both. I have been casting left handed for well over 10 years. But I still need a ton of work on that side. John says that it has been what I have focused on since the inception of HH. He may be right. I do focus on this daily blog and the media component daily as well. If I could type, and practice casting at the same time…Whoa!
There you go. Motivation for 2020 fishing? Maybe. I know I am stoked to get better this year. And casting is at the center, the core, of this goal.
Do it. It’ll make you better. It’ll make you smile. It’ll allow more use of the net this season.