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Cramer on Casting – Threading the needle

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Mossy Creek guide, Bob Cramer, continues his series of casting tips.

I can tell you that my most successful clients are the most accurate casters. Doesn’t matter what they are casting, a fly rod, spinning rod or a bait caster, accuracy rules. I can also tell you that the more you have to cast to a fish the more your odds of catching it go down. The best chance to fool that fish comes on the first cast so getting it right makes a difference.

In an earlier post, I described a method of getting the right amount of line to cast to an exact spot. This post is about practicing that technique.

Begin by going out in the yard and placing three or four targets at varying distances out to 30 feet around you in a circle. The targets can be anything, a paper plate, bucket, or whatever is handy. I prefer something small.

Tie a piece of yarn to your tippet. Cast to one of the targets, making sure you wind up short. If your first cast is 2 feet short, adjust by pulling two more feet of line out of your line hand. Cast again. If another adjustment is needed, do so until you have your distance right.

Do not shoot line and do not watch your cast. Concentrate on your target. Make 10 casts to the target and see how many times you land within 6 inches of it. Mark your score down. Remember, casting short usually doesn’t hurt a thing. Casting to far is a killer. You line the fish or get hung up on the bank.

Now, turn to the next target and do the same thing. Remember to concentrate on the spot you want the fly to land. Try to let your instincts take over. Most of the time our instincts are better than we believe. Kinda like throwing a ball.

Cast to the other targets and mark your scores down. Take a break and evaluate how well you did. Do it again. Did you do better? You will over time.

The next step is to do this again casting with the rod in a different plane. Then try it with an obstruction like a tree limb, bush or culvert.

For most folks, accuracy is a learned thing that is developed one of two ways, by practicing or from years of fishing thousands upon thousands of cast and if you want to impress your guide or buddies learn to thread the needle!