Bad casts catch fish too.
Trust me when I say that I am, at best, an average caster. I can usually put a fly where I want it to land, and I typically produce good results. I’ve never set out to really perfect my cast, because I’ve never really needed to. Most of the places I fish tend to fall in the “how in the hell can you possibly get a fly in there?” territory.
Small, overgrown mountain streams are certainly their own animal. Roll casts become the normal routine, and much time is spent just trying to get in position to cast, let alone being able to actually produce a decent one. Your casting stroke doesn’t have to be magical when your target is a mere 20 feet in front of you.
Hell, I fish in situations where I may not even have fly line out the end of the rod. A long cast for me is going to be about 25-30 feet on most days, in an ideal environment. Needless to say, perfect casting isn’t on the top of my priority list. Instead, I just need to make sure I either produce a decent drift, or I get the fly down into the feeding lane.
But I’ve learned that bad casts catch fish too. Not as often, and it’s not as pretty, but a bad cast can sometimes get the job done. I have the advantage of chasing trout that are far too opportunistic on the average day, so a less-than-stellar cast isn’t always game over.
My motto is to always fish a bad cast.
Picking it up and casting it again is more likely to spook fish, and who knows what opportunistic trout might just be hiding right where I never intended my fly to drift? It’s odds that I’ll take considering the alternatives.
I’ve caught several really nice fish on bad casts. I’ve also probably missed tons more. So while I am always looking to improve my technique, it’s not something that I lose sleep over. For better or worse, I’m good enough with a fly rod to catch fish and that is ultimately what matters.
Sometimes terrain, technique and other factors end up producing a cast that is downright horrible. It happens to all of us. So, don’t write off a bad cast and immediately pick it up to recast next time you’re out on the water. Fish it through anyway, and take the chance that it might work out in your favor.
Bad casts catch fish too. It’s sure worked for me on many occasions.