Efficient fly casting and fishing begins with having the right tool for the job. This is what has always drawn me towards Scott Fly Rods. Scott makes very specific fishing tools for specific fishing applications. People will often ask why series of Scott rods are only available in very limited size runs. My answer to this is, if a rod is truly the same rod in terms of action and taper, and is available in 3wt all the way to 12wt, there is going to be some lame ducks in that series of rods. I think we can all agree that what we ask a 5wt fly rod to do on a trout stream, is entirely different than what a 12wt must do on the front of a flats boat when casting to a tarpon.
Choosing the Right Tool for the Job
I will preface by saying, there is no such thing as a beginner fly rod. For purpose of comparison, is there such thing as a beginner winter jacket? No, it’s either warm or it isn’t! The same can be said about fly rods. As a beginner, a Scott Radian will no doubt help an angler of all experience levels cast better than a lesser expensive rod. Buy the best rod you your budget will allow. Here is a quick overview of each series of Scott Fly Rods.
Scott Flex: All around versatile freshwater performance in 3wt for the small creek angler all the way to 8wt for the those who prefer to fish steelhead with single hand rods. Flex rods are designed in a way that allows for a comfortable casting stroke, and bends in way that will allow for adequate roll casting and mending which is done through the mid section of the rod. This is something an overly stiff rod will struggle at. More on the Scott Flex
Scott Tidal: Available in 6wt through 12wt. The Tidal is a stiffer and faster recovering rod in comparison to the Flex designed for through streamers and big air resistant flies over the top of the rod. More on the Scott Tidal
Scott Radian: Available in 3wt-8wt. A revolutionary fly rod that created quick recovery of the rod tip, not through shear stiffness, but through the taper of the rod. What this means is a rod that still has feel when making short casts, mends extremely well, but builds plenty of line speed and has enough power to through larger flies and get the fly to the fish in the windiest of conditions you might experience on the river. More on the Scott Radian
Scott G Series: Available in 2wt-6wt. If you find yourself constantly tying on flies (nymphs or dries) size 16-24 onto 5x-7x tippet, this is the right rod for this type of fishing. The G-Series allows for the best light tippet protection, delicate presentations, great roll casting and mending and incredibly feel of the line with as little as 5 feet of fly line out of the rod tip. The G-Series is the perfect rod for those who fish tailwaters where big fish must be landed on small flies and light tippet. More on the Scott G Series
Scott Meridian: Available in 6wt through 15wt. The meridian was designed to get you from 0 to 60 as fast as possible. When the guide finally yells, “PERMIT!!! 12 o’clock 50 feet, no other fly rod will get the fly from your hand to the fish with as minimal false casting as the Meridian. More on the Scott Meridian
The Last 40 Feet…
The right tool for the job and getting to where the fish are require a certain commitment. However, just showing up at the right place with the right rod, is no guarantee that you’ll get the fish you’re after. Whether it’s a trout rising to dries, or a permit tailing on the flats, the fish your after comes down to the last 40 feet. The following is an excerpt from an article in Fly Fisherman Magazine, by Flip Pallot that every aspiring angler should take to heart.
“Life in my world comes down to the last 40 feet,” he concluded. “If there’s anything left for me to do, it’s to make people aware that life, and most particularly this lifestyle, is tied to the natural world and not to a credit card. Many anglers have amassed wealth that gives them the opportunity to make a fishing trip. They go to their local fly shop and buy all the right clothes, rods, reels, lines, and flies. They present their credit card. They arrive at the lodge, also paid by credit card. They step onto a skiff, resplendent with all the right clothing and tackle. The guide poles them within 40 feet of a tailing bonefish. Sadly, their credit card won’t take them that last 40 feet.
“They’ve come all the way from Cleveland to Abaco, but with that last 40 to the bonefish, their credit card is worthless. They’ve forgotten to bring the skills they need, because they didn’t invest the time to develop them. They were busy with their job, kids, the Internet. They neglected to bring the skills to get them that last step to the bonefish. So, they either figure out how to have a good time, or not. But it all comes down to that last 40 feet. Life has just made it too complicated for them to understand the value of that last 40 feet.”
You can read the entire article HERE
Casting Tips to Maximize Your Success in the Last 40 Feet
I could challenge every person who reads this article to sprint everyday, in hopes of running a 40 yard dash under 4.5 seconds. Regardless of effort, there are certain God given abilities and genetics that will never allow most of us to achieve that goal. On the contrary, if I challenged everyone who has read this far to learn how to cast a 5wt 90 feet (under control) by the end of the year, there isn’t a single person regardless of age, gender or experience that couldn’t achieve that goal. Why 90 feet you ask? I haven’t known an angler that could through a fly 90 feet that wasn’t also extremely accurate, and could just as easily make cast to 40 feet under any weather conditions, with any size fly. Here is how you can do this.
- Practice. How many hours have you dedicated specifically in your angling journey to becoming a better caster? Setup targets and a tape measure and watch yourself improve over time. Dedicate 15-30 minutes a day to become a better caster, and you will not only enjoy the process, you will become great.
- Start with the Basics: Often times people will ask me to help them with their double haul. However, there are more often than not basic fundamental casting flaws that should be addressed well before tackling the double haulg. I would encourage you to spend a lot of times at sexyloops.com. Read and reread until you fully digest every bit of it. I have not found a website with contributors that understand and explain casting better. Here is a direct link to some of the fundamentals http://www.sexyloops.com/flycasting/tbasic1.shtml
- Learn to Double Haul: Once the basics begin to feel natural, then begin to double haul. The best way I have found to learn this, is to mimic the correct hand action without casting. The together and apart rhythm and timing is where I see people struggle the most. Once this feels natural, practice by slowing it down. Make a back cast with a haul and lay it down behind you. Then Make a forward cast with a haul. Slowly increase the speed so that eventually you aren’t letting the line hit the ground and making false casts with a haul on the back and forward cast. I also find that using a shooting head sinking line drastically over weighted will help you feel the pull of the line and is a useful learning tool for getting the feeling of what a double haul should create. More on the double haul. http://www.sexyloops.com/flycasting/thauling.shtml
- Incorporate the Drift: This is a game changer and something all great casters do whether they realize it or not. http://www.sexyloops.com/flycasting/tdrift.shtml
- Watch Your Casting Stroke in the Mirror & record yourself casting at the park. Compare your casting to videos of really good casters on youtube. Overtime you will see your casting naturally transform and begin to look a lot similar.
I hope this post has offered you some helpful guidance to improving your casting. It won’t happen over night, but I guarantee you that if you dedicate time to seeking the right information, and practicing your casting, you will open the door to an entirely new world of fly fishing opportunities.