Get Close and Cast Short

A week ago I was at the International Sportsman's Exposition in Denver judging the distance casting. The winning cast in the men's division was turned in by Clay Roberts at 115-feet 6-inches.

On more than one occasion anglers came up to me and said something to the effect of, "wonderful casting but you'll never catch any fish at that distance." This is absolutely true. Most fresh water fish are caught within 40 feet or less. In fact you can give yourself a substantial advantage by getting as close as possible.

Ask any guide which client he prefers. Someone who can shoot a line 70 or 80 feet or an angler that can consistently drop a fly in a one foot circle at 20-feet. Accuracy will get the nod every time.

It's really pretty simple: short casting gives you better control over the line. If you can get your fly within the vision field (a few inches to several feet depending on the position of the fish) of a trout you have a pretty good chance he will inspect and perhaps take it.

When you make short casts, mending the line is much easier, resulting in a drag free presentation. As you get farther away from the target, the probability that intervening currents will produce drag increases. Depending on the mending skill of the angler, the drag caused by currents can be mitigated, but why deal with the problem if you don't need to?

Short casts are especially helpful in dealing with long leaders which may be needed for picky fish. Moreover, you can deal with wind more easily.

Since you're closer to your fish you'll be in a position to more closely observe what the fish may be taking or how he is reacting to your offerings. If the fish is rising but refusing your offering a smaller size may induce a take.

Long distance casting is fun to watch and fun to participate in but it has limited value in the field.