07/26/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Cinnamon Caddis - Mostly Abrams Creek
3    Little Sister Caddisflies - Mostly Abrams Creek
4.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
5.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching (Little Summer Stones)
6.   Slate Drakes - hatching
7.   Little Green Stonefly - hatching
8.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
9.   Beetles
10. Grasshoppers
11. Ants
12. Inch Worms
13. Crane Flies
14. Helligramite
15. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process - Part 35 - Casting
In my early years of fly fishing, I was a young kid armed with a fiberglass fly rod and
either a automatic or a cheap manual fly reel. The flies were either foam flies for
bream, or popping bugs and foam flies for bass. My fly line was a level line. For
those of you that are not familiar with level line, it simply means fly line that doesn't
have a taper. It is uniform in weight and thickness from one end to the other. To put
it bluntly, level line doesn't cast worth a flip. It was a task to cast a larger popping
bug several yards with level line using a heavy fiberglass, slow action fly rod.
Never-the-less, I was able to cast it far enough to catch plenty of bass and bream.

I didn't worry all that much about how far I could cast because no one other than a
few close friends ever saw me cast. My style or form was completely unimportant. I
just worked on the casting trying to get more distance. The only thing I knew for
sure, was to pause the backcast until I felt the weight of the line. I learned that by
trial and error. I didn't have any Joan Wulff casting lessons. I didn't even know
anyone that could cast a fly rod. Over the years and on into my early twenties, I
used the fly rod occasionally to catch bass and bream.

The next time I remember using a fly rod was in Alaska, fishing on a two week trip
for salmon, grayling and huge rainbow trout. I don't remember taking any lessons
there either. All I remember was I used the camp owners highly prized personal
Orvis fly rod. He wanted me to use it because I was making a promotional video for
his Blue Berry Island camp. At the time, in the mid 1980s, it was the only camp
downstream of huge Lake Iliamna. I cast plenty well enough to catch a huge number
of all of the species including several twenty inch plus rainbows.

The next time I used a fly rod was on the back of a 45 foot Hatteras yacht fishing for
sailfish in Cozumel Mexico. I caught three sailfish in one day on the fly rod. I lost
about a dozen. I didn't cast the fly rod well on that trip. In fact I didn't even cast the
fly rod. You don't cast off the back of a yacht fishing for billfish. You simply let out
line. You may make a short roll cast to get the process started but you never make
a real cast when letting out or dropping the fly back to a fish.

For those of you that are not familiar, most of the time sailfish are attracted to the
boat using artificial teasers such as plastic squid, or by trolling dead bait as teasers.
We used dead balleyhoo and tuna strip baits on that trip. The balleyhoo were set
back on a trolling rod but rigged from the outriggers without hooks. Two other short
line rods had tuna belly strip baits that attracted the sailfish. When the sailfish
comes up to a teaser bait, you quickly drop the fly back to the bait the fish is billing.
When you manage to get the fly back to the teaser bait, the mate jerks the teaser
away from the fish, leaving only the fly for the sailfish to eat. That is it. There is no
casting. All you really do is reel the fish in. In fact when the mate can touch the
leader, provided it is the correct length, it is considered an IGFA catch. The boat
usually backs down on the fish and in reality, the boat captain is catching the fish as
much as the angler is catching the fish. I have caught one, insisting the boat
remained dead, which is the best and most fun way to do it. Some anglers think,
and other claim, that this is one of the greatest feats in fly fishing. I think it just
about sucks. It is certainly no big deal. Using a fly rod on the back of a sportfishing
yacht is a clumsy way to fish. I take no pride in catching sailfish on a fly rod. Getting
back to my point, just keep in mind casting is not an important element in this case.
Being able to get the fly back quickly is important but that is best done stripping out
line. With four to six other rods out trolling teasers, it is better described as a big
mess.

I fooled around some saltwater fly fishing from boats and wading in the Bahamas a
few times. I enjoyed catching barracuda on the fly at Walker's Cay for instance, but
for the most part, I was usually just killing time while I was on a billfishing trip or
waiting on a marlin tournament to start. I did some TV shows using fly rods for bass
and bream in the early eighties, but again, I don't ever remember anyone
mentioning their or my casting form, style or even distance. I caught some ladyfish
in the surf on the long rod and a few odds and ends but again, just as a fun thing to
do, with never any serious fly fishing intent. During those years, saltwater fly fishing
was no big deal except for tarpon fishing in the keys. That didn't appeal to me at all.
It had little publicity. If Ted Williams had never tarpon fished with a fly rod, saltwater  
fishing with a fly rod may have never even been noticed. During those years, the
only thing ever mentioned relative to saltwater fly fishing was fishing the flats for
bonefish. That was considered an odd way of catching bonefish. The saltwater
flyfishing craz had not yet occurred.

In other words, I had no introduction to the "art" of casting a fly. I didn't know what
that even meant.  When Angie and I started to fly fish for trout, especially when we
first started to make fly fishing videos, it seemed many anglers we talked to were
looking for a casting video. That didn't quite fit my production plans. I was looking
for a "catching" fly fishing video, not a dang "casting" fly fishing video. I really didn't
care how the fly got to a trout, I just wanted it to get there. I still feel the same way.

There is a lot more to come on this learning process.








Copyright 2009 James Marsh