Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of food:
4. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Getting Started - Casting a Fly - There's Nothing To It
To quickly get straight to the point, casting using a fly rod is just as simple as casting any type of fishing rod.
In fact, a bait casting outfit is probably more difficult for a beginner to learn to use that a fly rod.
Some fly anglers want to made a big deal out of casting. They think casting a fly should be more akin to ballet
dancing than fishing. Some guys had rather cast than catch fish. I can already hear the reaction of bending
air waves from anglers about to explode with anger at what I've just written.
Let me be clear. I'm not saying that being able to cast a fly well isn't a factor at all in one's fishing success. I'm
saying too many anglers, casting instructors, writers and other self proclaimed fly fishing experts want to
grossly overdo the complexity of casting a fly. Learning to ride a bicycle has to be more difficult and it's
certainly more dangerous.
I have never had anyone show me the first thing about casting a fly rod. Having written that, I'm certain there
are those in the world of fly fishing that are out there who would quickly claim that it's obvious I can't cast a
fly. If so, I'll put it this way. As long as they can prove they have caught more fish than I have, I'm certainly
willing to take some lessons from them. I wrote that banking on not having to take many casting lessons.
As best I can remember, I got my first fly rod at about the age of ten or twelve years old.. I do remember that I
either mopped the doctor's office floors after they closed or picked cotton to pay for it. I do remember that it
was a fiberglass model that I purchased from the local Western Auto store. That was the only store within
bicycle riding distance that sold sporting goods of any kind.
I wanted it to catch bream and bass. I had read everything I could get my hands on about fly fishing. I had
looked at the pictures in Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and Sport's Afield of guys catching fish on a fly rod.
It must have caught my interest because most of the fishermen in the little North Alabama town I grew up in
used cane poles they cut from cane breaks along the side of the roads. Those that worked at NASA, about
half of the population of my home town of Arab, Alabama, probably bought their cane pole from one of the
many stores along nearby Guntersville Lake. I was far more sophisticated. I purchased some little rubber
legged spiders and ants and a few cork popping bugs to catch fish on it. The fly line was a level fly line. It
wasn't tapered. Tapered fly lines made casting a fly about a million times easier. If you can learn to cast a
level fly line, you can cast a tapered fly line well enough to get Jason Borger's next job as a body double in "A
River Runs Through It - Part 11".
I don't think I even as much as got to see anyone else using a fly rod for the first few years I used one. There
certainly wasn't any casting videos because video didn't exist. I think I may have read some about it in Field &
Stream or maybe Outdoor life but that would have been the full extent of my "fly casting lessons".
The first time I cast a fly to a trout was below Smith Lake in Alabama. Yes, you read that right. The almost ice
cold tailwater below 300 foot deep Smith Lake was and still is stocked with trout. That was several years after
I purchased my first fly rod. I probably had a new fly rod but I'm sure it was still a fiberglass model with a level
fly line. I could cast as far and as well as I needed to cast to catch the limit of rainbow trout. I was in my mid-
twenties at the time and I had been fly fishing for bass and bream for a few years prior to that with a fly rod,
but not trout.
I figured out how to cast by pure trial and error. Don't take this the wrong way. I'm not saying that's the best
method. Again, I'm only pointing out it isn't rocket science. You simply pick the fly line up off the water quickly,
throw it back over your shoulder and suddenly stop the rod about the 1:00 or 2:00 o'clock position. Pause a
split second to allow the line to straighten out and make a forward cast again, stopping the rod suddenly at
about the 10:00 o'clock position to allow the fly line to unroll. You throw the fly line, not a fly. The weight of
the fly line propels the cast.
I can take a coil of fly line in my arms like a cowboy with a rope and throw the end of the fly line thirty to forty
feet using only my arms. That's as far as you will need to cast a fly fishing the small streams of the
Smokies. Don't be intimidated by the idiots that try to make a big deal out of casting. It isn't a big deal.
Sure, there are fly casting schools that teach you how to cast and there's nothing wrong with taking a fly
casting class if you desire, but it isn't by any means necessary. The fly shops make a big deal out of it for
one and only one reason - to sell fly rods, fly line and other product to the students.
Those that can cast a tight loop 100 feet do that by completely straightening out the fly line. That's
completely worthless for fishing the Smokies. In fact, I have seen some guys that could cast that far that
needed to learn from scratch how to cast a fly to a trout in a stream with current without dragging the fly
across the surface of the water scaring the trout. It takes short, crooked cast to catch trout in pocket water.
Get one of many videos on casting and study it. There are even some fairly good ones online. They won't
hurt unless the instructor starts to make things complicated. If they do, turn it off and get out in the yard and
You can continue to learn to make better cast while you are catching trout. You have ever day for the rest
of your life to learn as much as you want to learn. What you need to do now, is get a starter set such as
our Perfect Fly Starting set, practice casting for a couple of hours and go fishing.
It is best to get away to yourself and there are miles and miles of water to do that on. If someone gives you
any static about your casting, hook him in the nose with a hard hook set and say excuse me Sir. Let me
yank that out for you.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily Articles
Mondays: Weather and Stream Conditions
Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies - Which
Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing Report
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout Food