Castigating Casting
By Captain Paul Darby (QRRFISH1), Shalimar, FL

Words, ah words, so many to chose from. We toss them around with such carefree abandon. Words are, after all, light and compact. They come in all shapes and sizes, the fruit of their vessel, manifest of thought, forged of our life experience. Tools to convey thoughts, emotion, concepts and instructions. Yet how much time do we give to considering the impact of a chosen word? Key words and phrases can very easily tip the scale of understanding in an individuals mind.

The word 'casting' is one of the most misused terms in the world of comprehending the operation of the fly rod. If I ask ten people at random on the street what the word cast means to them, it's likely I would receive a very diverse definition from each. Yet each one would be just as true to the individual, no matter how incorrect it might be in the context of operating a fly rod. For too many years the fly fishing community has attempted to bring the joy of the fly rod to the uninitiated, using a word that holds a different meaning to each person. To draw this more into context lets take a look at the word 'cast', as it relates to fishing rods.

There are really three distinct types of fishing rods commonly in use by the vast majority of anglers today. One category includes by general function, spinning; spin casting and revolving spool reels, (AKA bait casting reels), a second would be the flyrod, and a third, the simple cane pole, or static line rod. To understand the relationship of the word 'casting ' to each category we need to look to the functioning of each class.

The static line and rod; set length of rod, with set length of line, simple operation. The 'cast' consists most often of a swing, and plop down the appliance, a pretty straightforward approach.

Then you look to the more common line up of equipment, the spinning, spin cast and revolving spool set-ups. This is where the vast majority of fishermen gain their first insight and verbiage to equipment operation. Most of us learn 'cast' in connection to the operation of the more common group. This experience and language then becomes our strongest point of reference. With this group, the line is drawn off the spool by virtue of a weighted appliance attached to the end of the line. Lure drags line behind, so to speak, when 'cast.' Again a fairly simple straight-forward approach.

Then along comes the fly rod and all the dynamics change, but not the language. We still call what we do to project a fly line with a fly rod a 'cast.' After all, we work the cane pole, spinning rod and the fly rod in the same way, don't we? They all do the same thing in the same way right?


So why bother to use different language. Everybody will understand when I say, "In order to learn to cast, you need to stop casting, and start casting because what you're doing is casting and that's not casting. This is casting. Confused? Well it's all very clear to me, but then I know what I'm talking about, what's the problem. ~ Capt. Paul

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