With the horrible cold, windy weather we’ve been experiencing this week, the idea of doing anything outside has sounded like it would be comparable to getting a root canal. Do I want to try to even walk out to my car when there are wind gusts up to 70 mph? Nope. Not unless I’m starving to death. So we’ve had to be creative to come up with things to do inside that don’t involve the television, or eating. Okay, that’s a lie. I don’t do anything without eating. At any rate, these are excellent times to take advantage of the opportunity to do some extra reading.
One of my new favorite reads is The Essence of Flycasting, by Mel Krieger. This book turned out to be just what I needed to learn how to tweak my casting just enough to be more effective and accurate. I am a visual learner, and this book offers both explanation and photographs that break down the author’s methods. I can watch others cast, but they usually move fast enough that I couldn’t break down their movements easily. Knowing just what I am not doing correctly can be tricky, because I can’t see my cast well enough to analyze it, especially in comparison to how others cast. I can usually feel if I’m casting incorrectly, but correcting it isn’t that easy.
There are drawings in the beginning of the book that explain the mechanics of the fly rod and how it is engineered for effective fly placement.
He also includes a section about fly fishing equipment and the basics of choosing the right equipment for the type of fishing you are going to do. This helps makes the book an excellent gift for both beginning fly fishermen and experienced anglers.
I really enjoyed reading about Krieger’s methods to cast farther, and his explanation of how the fly rod facilitates the cast. This helps to use the rod instead of trying to just power the cast out onto the water. I have an acquaintance that literally whips his fly line onto the water, assuming that power equals distance. He typically scares every fish within a mile when his fly line slashes the water long before the fly drops. This books helps to see how using the fly rod correctly presents the fly in a much more natural manner.
I know that practice is the key, but practicing incorrectly doesn’t really help a lot. In the Essence of Flycasting, Krieger breaks down several different casts into steps, with pictures, to give an excellent view of the entire movement. Being able to see each step is really helpful for understanding the full cast. To me, adjusting part of a cast is easier when you can break it down into steps.
Another bonus of the book is that he gives both beginning and advanced directions. Once you have a cast mastered, you can move to the advanced methods. It’s also really nice to see the photos of both correct and incorrect casting methods. This helps to see why the line lands the way it does when your casting is off. There are photos from different sides in addition to from overhead, giving excellent visuals for understanding the mechanics of the cast.
This book is written well, in a conversational manner that keeps the content interesting. It’s a quick read; I got through the majority of the book in an afternoon. This makes it easy to go back and review after you’ve had a chance to practice a bit. So if you’re looking for a book that will help you sharpen your casting skills, or if you need a good gift idea, I strongly recommend this book. Happy reading, and happy casting!