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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Southernmost Illinois
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    Default Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    In reading several posts here and listening at other sites on the net as well as discussions in a number of fly shops this distance thing always seems to be a hot topic.

    I would like to make some comments here regarding the seemingly infatuated state of fishing with the idea that distance is so important. Donít get me wrong, I know there are situations where one needs "some distance" but is it the end all for fly casting.

    Here is part of my point; When I was a snot nosed kid fishing North New Jersey and the fabled waters of the Catskills I do not ever remember casting over 30 (40 may have been the end all max) or so feet and that was a bit of a long cast. Truth be told this was during a time when I was fishing cane and fiberglass. (late 50's through mid 60's) Sure I saw some folks then who could put more line out but if you knew what you were doing and where you were you sure as hell did not need to put any more than half your line in the air.

    The second part of this point is the first time I went to the salt I did so as a tag along guest of our family dentist who was a great caster and fisherman. We went to Florid and fished for bones etc. This was in 1963 if memory serves. Our guide had us on fish the entire time we were there. Doc used this guy at least four times per year and just caught the $%^& out of fish including some notable tarpon. All that week, with me using a fly rod that I thought resembled a telephone pole with line that reminded me of hawser rope we caught fish..... I still donít remember casting more than 40 foot of line......

    Now, enter the fast rod concept. I am not sure why, but as you all know, new materials and the drive for development from the end consumer created the "cannons/parking lot rods" (I am being funny, donít shoot) that we see today. That being said......

    We now have a situation where guides donít have to work as hard getting their clients in close on fish because the client has a boomer rod and has learned to double haul and may even want to show off his or her ability to put a ton of line in the air...... Less work for the guide (I am not in any way knocking guides. They do what is desired)

    The last time I was fishing for reds in Texas I was with a friend who had a "Bay Boat" and we fished from the boat and waded to tailing fish. I was casting a 9 wt. Scott 9' rod and even then never got out more than half the line and likely more like 40' again. We "hunted" those fish.......

    I guess my point is I wonder if we have or are losing the ability to work on fish as opposed to standing back and letting the boomer rods throw lots of line.

    Letís not get in to two handed or switch rods here but rather look at the one hand traditional stuff.......

    What say you all......
    Bruce A. Hering
    Program Coordinator/Lead Instructor (Retired)
    Game Preserve/Shooting Complex Mgt.
    Southeastern Illinois College
    Shotgun Team Coach
    NSCA Level III Instructor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
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    11,198

    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    Very different 'needs' here for river Steelhead/Salmon fishing, but with the odd off I can't think of a time where casting more than 30 feet made a damned bit of difference. 20 to 30 feet covered the vast majority of situations.

    Longer and I'll use one of my 2handers.
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)
    Posts
    3,063

    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    Bruce, I agree with what you're saying. In numerous discussions, particularly with beginners, I've advised that if an angler can cast accurately in the 30 to 40 ft range, they can catch plenty of fish. Doesn't matter the environment most of the time either, freshwater or salt. Sure, there's situations that may necessitate longer casting distance, and IMO nothing wrong with having the ability or equipment to accomplish long casts when needed, but as you say the vast majority of fishing can be at much closer range.

    That's been my experience as well.

    Personally, I view accuracy as far more important than distance & for my fishing purposes, regardless of the rods "ability" or whether I can make a long cast or not is only important when I need it to be. I tend to stalk & hunt & attempt to get within a reasonable casting range rather than rely on longer casting distance. That's how I've always fished, and perhaps have maintained that attitude as habit. I've never purchased a rod based on how far I might be able to cast with it. That to me is the last thought I would have.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Lincolnshire, Illinois
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    I can count on one hand the number of times I felt I needed to cast farther than my ability. With a properly balanced outfit I'm certainly good for 50 feet, but just don't find I need to do that. As mentioned above, 30 feet will do the job in 99% of my fly fishing time.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Truckee, CA.
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    2,291
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    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    Can't tell you how many fish I've almost stepped on, while looking over-there....
    I've fished long enough to know, the farther away you fish, the fewer fish you hook/land. (They have the advantage....)
    Mostly this is just another way guys use to measure themselves........
    Which doesn't mean you shouldn't practice throwing a bunch of line, from time to time.
    Once in a great while, you need to.....
    Statistically, 75% of our fish are within 40 ft. 20% are within 20 ft., and the 5% left, are longer range...50-60 ft and beyond. (Singlehand.)
    I love super casts, or drifts, but would never suggest someone else do it..... (And I own those "parking lot cannons".)

    Jim
    Last edited by Bigfly; 01-02-2015 at 03:13 PM.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Troy, MO
    Posts
    1,500

    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfly View Post
    Can't tell you how many fish I've almost stepped on, while looking over there....
    I've fished long enough to know, the farther away you fish, the fewer fish you land.
    Mostly this is just another way guys use to measure........
    Which doesn't mean you shouldn't practice throwing a bunch of line, from time to time.
    Once in a great while, you need to.....
    Statistically, 75% of our fish are within 40 ft. 20% are within 20 ft., and the 5% left, are long range...or over 60 ft. (Singlehand.)
    I love super casts, or drifts, but would never suggest someone else do it.....

    Jim
    That's about spot on for my experience. I think the long range ones for me may be less than 5%.

    I used to bowhunt a LOT. Guys would brag about shooting 50-70 yards but almost all of the deer I got were in the 12-15 yard range with just a few out to 25-30. I even started hunting with just one pin.

    Of course, seeing how far you can shoot was a lot of fun but it didn't put deer in the freezer.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    quiet corner, ct
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    8,917

    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    I'm like the last one around here that should be explaining math problems, but ehh

    Say you and your buddy were in a boat and can cast to all directions of the compass
    You are able to cast 50' and he can cast 60'
    That's not just a 10' difference.
    With that measly extra 10', he can actually cover about an additional one third more area than you can.
    And the further you can cast the more that area multiplies. It's not small numbers.

    That said, often people are trying to cast all the way to France when they should be concentrating on what's right in front of them
    In this picture I'm dead drifting a pair of streamers in the wash of the surf, right in the trough at my feet.

    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.Ē --- Horace Kephart

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  10. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Boston, Mass.
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    2,941

    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    When I'm fishing big rivers down-and-across for Atlantic salmon, I like to be able to throw a long line, and I have a couple of very nice 8 weights that can do it, but precision doesn't really matter too much because it's just a wet-fly swing after all. Still, I would be disappointed in a rod that couldn't shoot 80 feet or more when needed.

    When I'm fishing for trout with 4 to 6 weights, though, I'm a lot more concerned with how the rod feels at 30-45 feet than whether can reach 80, much less whether it's accurate at that distance.

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  12. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
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    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    I am always ready to agree that there is way too much testosterone seeping into todays fly casting regardless of what rod we talk about. While I prefer a close game there are situations that can pop up here where the angler must be able to reach certain seams or channels or they will go without fish. This range thing is caused by the swift water and uneven slippery bottom otherwise you could get closer. I'm all about getting closer and being able to have more control but sometimes it just isn't possible.

    Even when distance is required I am always careful to work all the near by water before unloading for the hinterlands.

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  13. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Snake, Clearwater and tribs
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    499

    Default Re: Distance.... A question for us "older" casters

    My home waters are N.ID, W.MT, and eastern WA and OR, and I use dry flies most of the time. We have some big rivers where you can cast the line if you want, but the bigger challenge is achieving proper presentation with your casts. A 70' cast with a tight loop and soft landing for your fly doesn't mean much if you only get a very short drag-free drift.

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