Gaining Control
By Captain Paul Darby (QRRFISH1), Shalimar, FL

If your not going to use the word casting then what word do you use?

That's a question I hear a lot and frankly it's so obvious that it's not just a word, it's a complete concept in itself. However to avoid the confusion that deleting the word 'casting' would have, I had to find a word of greater truth, to fill the void, that greater truth is 'control.'

Once I changed the word casting to control, everything about the way I taught and understood the fly rod changed too. Students instantly picked right up on the concept of control. They didn't just like and understand the concept of control, they embraced it. Consider that if what you're trying to learn is not casting, but to control a fly rod, what better word to use than, control.

What is the first fundamental movement with the fly rod we all wish to learn?

Is it not to project a fly line with a fly rod? In order to do that you need to take control of the fly rod. Put yourself in charge, there's only one grip on a fly rod, yours is the only opinion that is going to be transmitted to the line.

If I ask you to cast a fly rod and your understanding of the word casting is related to the spinning rod we are instantly at odds over terms and understanding. It is precisely that thought that has lead me to administer a little graphic illustration to both students and casting instructors alike. For reasons that I have neither the time nor inclination to go into, I won't try and explain why it is that students score higher on this than instructors. Pardon me for a moment, I just love the sound of noses going out of joint.

Ok now on with the show. It was hot sultry afternoon down in the panhandle of Florida, deep in the heart of the Redneck Rivera. A tall dark stranger walked into my tackle shop. He was packing and looking to get some answers. "Word on the street is, you're a Casting instructor," he said, cocking his head.

"Word on the street is wrong," I said, "and unless I miss my guess, you're either an architect or a fly fisherman, from the look of that tube your carrying." He didn't come to discuss condos over cocktails. As we squared off in the street. I told him to show me what he had, and after a few near misses, I concluded he was trying to cast a fly rod.

"Hold on friend, mind if I ask you a question? Do you know how to cast a spinning rod?"

"Yup," came the answer.

"Well, do you think the fly rod your holding in your hand is a spinning rod?"

"Nope," he said.

"Then why are you trying to cast it?"

"Well, every thing I been told, read or seen about the fly rod calls it casting."

"Care to take a little test on your conviction to that word, casting. If I hand you a spinning rod with a lure on it that has a lot of treble hooks, as many plugs do, then ask you to toss that lure out behind you about 75 feet. Then without reeling it in, I want you should snatch that lure up and toss it over your head 75 feet in the opposite direction. Remember I said, 'Without reeling it in.'"

This I can, and have done with a fly rod. And unless and until you can do it with a spinning rod. Perhaps what your looking to learn is not how to, cast a fly rod but rather to control and perform with one, in a mind easing and comfortable manner. ~ Capt. Paul

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