By Stan Fagerstrom
Product Review Editor
April 13, 2012
*click here for part one
Think about it for a minute. How many of the variables associated with fishing do you have control over whenever you’re on the water?
Casting accuracy is one of the few. Your accuracy, developed through practice, is one of the few things any of us can do to control the number of fish we catch.
There’s not one blasted thing we can do about the air temperature, wind direction or velocity, barometric pressure, water temperature or your partner’s early morning mood.
But we can control our ability to develop casting skills. You do it through practice. I’ve been quoted before as saying the male of the species comes into the world thinking he knows about three things: How to drive, how to make love and how to catch fish.
The unfortunate truth is we come on stage not knowing squat about all three. Most males are willing to practice two of these three activities, but neither one is fishing!
Fly fishermen are an exception. Find someone who is really into fly fishing and you can bet they accept the need for practice. Take a look at the area set aside for fly fishing at nearly any of the major outdoor shows. It’s invariably being used and more often than not there are others waiting in line to take their turns.
I wish I had a couple of bucks for each time someone at an outdoor show asked me how to avoid backlashes with a level wind reel. When I ask such an individual if they have a practice casting weight, or if they have ever used one, the answer is darn near always no.
If you’re a fisherman not happy with your bait casting skills, those practice weights are one of the most important angling tools you can buy. You can have a dozen rods and reels and a tackle box the size of a motor home. None of it means much unless you can put your lures on target time after time. If you can’t you’re not going to catch as many bass as someone who can.
I wrote a piece once about what one of my first moves would be if I were to become (heaven forbid!) this country’s sports fishing dictator for a day. It’s simply this: I’d make it mandatory that tackle dealers must include practice casting weights of a quarter, three eighths and five eighths ounce with every level wind reel they sold.
Both customer and dealer would benefit if that happened. The owners of the new rods would be more likely to practice. They’d be happier if they did. Happier customers are a cinch to benefit the dealer who sells rods somewhere down the line.
I’ve often been asked how I rate the degree of difficulty in learning to use the different types of casting gear available to the modern day angler. My contention, provided you have quality, balanced equipment to work with, is that fly casting is easier to master than developing similar skills with a bait (level wind)casting reel. Using the open or closed face spinning reel is easier than either of them.
But with any kind of tackle, never under estimate the importance of practice. I’ve had the good fortune a couple of times to share a boat with Rick Clunn, the talented bass man who has won the BASS Masters Classic an almost unbelievable four times.
Listen to Rick talk about successful fishing and chances are you’ll hear him discuss the importance of controlling the variables associated with putting bass in the boat.
Many such variables, as I’ve already mentioned, are beyond our control. But accurate casting developed through practice isn’t. You can do it, I can do it, and so can your Aunt Minerva.
And as I mentioned in my previous column, if my old pal Charlie had done it prior to our visit to Siltcoos Lake that morning he’d have probably caught that big one instead of chasing it out of its cover.
I’ll likely be sharing specific thoughts on how to develop your casting skills with a variety of equipment in future columns. If you have suggestions on things you’d like to hear more about or suggestions of your own to share, please let me know.