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January: Back to Basics

The week before Christmas, I attended Alex Ferber’s Spey casting class.  Quite a few members attended including, Mike DiCiano, Barry Burt, Mike White, Scott Anderson, Bob Garbarino, Fred Farias, Greg Finney, Ricardo Cortes,  and others.   What I learned at the class was that the basics are more important than learning a new fangled cast.  Spey casts are used on larger rivers where the fly line is directly below you in the river and you want to roll cast about 60 degrees upstream without smacking yourself in the head.   Therefore the “basics’ is to be able to roll cast and with some instruction and practice, I was able to extend my roll cast with little effort in the cast.   Still working on  the Spey cast, but the basic roll cast is where I am spending my time. 

Post-class, I went to lunch with Alex, Bob, Fred and Tom Hogye and the discussion shifted to the plans for the upcoming 2024 casting classes.  Surprisingly, despite the influx of new members, the monthly single-hand casting clinics wasn’t highly attended .  Reflecting on my own sporadic participation in 2023, I recognized the missed opportunities for improving my skills.  As fishing scenarios from the past year replayed in my mind, the potential for greater enjoyment became obvious:

  • Stream dry fly fishing would improve by tightening my loop and improved mending to make a drag free presentation.
  • In the surf or sitting in a float tube, a well-executed double haul ensures a faster sink, maximizing the time spent in the strike zone.
  • And casting the euro/mono rig? Ugh, a situation where all my bad habits get magnified and motivates me to do more than simply lob the rig into the water.   

Fortunately, we have  monthly clinics with fellow club members offering support and guidance for anglers at all levels.  I am going to make an effort to attend them and hope to see others out there.  

Another basic for 2024:

This one is hard to admit.  Another goal in 2024 is to eliminate lost rigs due to pigtails.  Retrieving rigs and seeing the telltale curls is really frustrating.  So I am practicing my clinch knots and loop knots using a forcep.  There are lots of videos on Youtube that show how to tie knots faster with a forcep and I like using the handle to cinch down on the knot to make sure it is secure.   

I hope you take a few minutes and think about your fishing goals for 2024 and what you can do during the winter to help achieve them.  

See you in the new year,

Scott Kitayama