Wednesday Workshop: How to get better at fishing, without fishing
We have lots of questions like “How can I get better at fishing?” Our answer is always
watch more YouTube vids at work Fish more.
But if you cannot spend the amount of days that it truly takes to get to the next level of fishing, of fly fishing, then you better focus on one thing/skill that you can improve without actually getting your fly wet.
And that is simply, casting.
You can practice casting in your yard, in a park, on a local pond, even in NYC’s Central Park. There is a place for you if you so desire.
The problem is that many do not desire to get better. And I’m OK with that. Although, when you turn to me in the boat, on the shoreline, upon failing at that 30′ dry fly cast…I have no time for you.
You have the tools to get better. And it does not require rising fish to become more accurate at a paltry 30′ man.
Having the rod in your hand for lengths of time, while not fishing, is damn important to catching more rising trout.
You can cure the ubiquitous rod tip drop, line speed issues, and certainly the accuracy problems at home. You do not have to be on the water for any of the above, and certainly the accuracy portion.
Many anglers look at me in the boat and state they are “practicing” when frothing about near rising trout. Bad idea. When you come to the river, and definitely this river, you have arrived at the show. At the event. You don’t see Tom Brady practicing his throw before the game? Nope. He is warming up. All of the practice, has been done off the field.
Having difficulty with a 30′ Accurate Cast is analogous to missing the Point After in the NFL.
The league average is 93.6% according to this Forbes article.
So there you have it. Just like the goal posts in football, the fish we are generally casting at are stationary. In one place. Commonly they do not move an inch out fo their lane while feeding on a dead spinners post fall. Thankfully most are better at putting a golf ball into yet another stationary location. Many of us are not that proficient to placing a fly anywhere near the rising trout.
Most anglers are not good at 30′. Which is a very common, easy, and achievable distance.
So, how do we get better? Put that fly rod in your hand at least once a week. Or at least once before you come to a world class fishery during dry fly season expecting to dominate, or even put yourself on the field. If you cannot make that 30′ cast into a hula-hoop 93% of the time, you have not practiced enough. Ideally you can toss it into the size of your waistline. Again, achievable without too much work.
I, Squeeky, consider the 30′ cast to be quite easy…and ACHIEVABLE. And I can bet that Scumliner feels the same way. In fact, I believe that the majority of fly rod anglers are comfortable with that statement. Most, if not all, anglers fishing the Mo would state that they are confident in their 30′ skill set.
In the parking lot.
On the water, in the moment, inside the dry fly trout lab…the wheels commonly fall off. The chip shot of 30′ should be something you can do in your sleep. And certainly when you can see the fish rising, see the bugs floating on the surface, see the rise form, and measure the distance with your well planned approach. Nothing in that equation is hidden! Nothing. You can see, see all of the components!
There are no excuses that work with me, and again I’m speaking for John here, in this situation. If you cannot do that in the moment, it is on you.
Not the fly, not the guide, not your brother-in-law at the oars. No excuses.
It means you are not ready for the situation. And, if you have ten minutes a week, and I would argue you do…you should nail this 93.6% of the time.
Generally fellers who tell me on the car ride to the boat ramp how many Permit they’ve caught in the Keys cannot do this very simple, and achievable, thing.
Cast a fly accurately at 30 feet.
30′ is not a lot of line. It is three rod lengths. I bet most could toss the rod almost that distance. And when you are armed with a tool that is designed for just that task, it is not a difficult ask. Include a fly line coupled with the fly pole too, to cast 30 feet…not too hard.
But, it is difficult for many dry fly anglers.
Understand me? This is a skill you need to possess when fishing. Anywhere. Not just on the Missouri River play field. Get comfortable with that distance. Practice. And practice further to? 40′ and beyond. Why not. Get good at 20′ as well. Spend 10 minutes a week on your fly cast.
10 minutes a week will increase your hooking rates exponentially
And many will tell you that. Not just central Montana fly fishing bloggers.
Get a casting instructor. Or not. Integrate precision casts into your repertoire. Spend time with your fly rod in non-pressure situations. Become one with it. Cast in the wind. With side wind. With head wind. With tail winds. With-out wind!
Many ask this question of all fly fishing full-timers/industry folks. “How can I get better without wasting my life away living on the river.” It is pretty simple. Spend time getting better while not on the water.
You, as an angler, bring high expectations when coming to the Mo. When fishing it I too have high expectations for you. Along with those expectations I assume you are comfortable with a 30′ fly cast that lands within a hula-hoop sized area. Most cannot pull that off.
It has nothing to do with time in front of rising trout. Not one iota. Not for a minute do I believe that you caught 17 permit last year if you cannot cast a fly line 30′ accurately. Nope.
Bro’. It should transfer. And the “I cast better with a 9 weight in my hand” is not believable either.
Just like cramming for that stats class you failed (me too) in college, the professor/your buddy/your fiancé/your guide/your brother-in-law, and more importantly the trout, will know you are fibbing.
This whole thing is on you, the angler. This is not something that anybody other than you has control over. You are charged with this duty.
Spend quality time with your 5 weight this off-season. Get good at casting accurately. 10 minutes a week is the correct amount of time. Or 10 minutes twice a week. What does not work is one hour the Tuesday before you come to Montana. Or during the first 27 fish you anchor up on. Your fishing buddy does not like it when you struggle either. Just means he spends more time in the back of the boat hoping that 1 of 20 casts gets near the rapidly rising trout. The hungry one.
Kick the Extra Point man. It’s right in front of you. Thrity freaking feet. Holy Cow. Didn’t you practice, off the field.
It’d be cooler if you did.
How to get better without time on the water? Easy answer. Spend time casting. At home. In the park. With friends. I love to stand around wit a couple fishing friends casting. Passing the rod back and forth trying different things. Teaching specialty casts. Learning cool line speed techniques. Talking. Sharing ideas. Casting.
That is the blog for today. Hope you make the right decisions here. Not asking for a lot. Ten minutes away from this computer will do me good too. I’m headed out right now in the snow to do some snow covered fundamentals practice casting. Just for a few minutes. Familiarity with a fly rod is a skill set that will go away from you. Quickly.
Think of your 3rd consecutive day on the water. You commonly are quite good. Confident. Learning. In a good place. Feeling great. Executing well. Catching fish. This year allow that feeling to inflate you day 1!
You hold the keys to this vehicle. You do. Get out there and do it.
Check out the video below. Missed Point After Kick in the NFL. Just like missing a chip shot at a voraciously rising Mo River trout!