Let’s Look Back: Good Casting’s Still the Key – Part 2

There's a casting weight inside this plastic skirt. Once I learned how to putt this weight right where I wanted it to go, demonstrating that skill took me to a lot of different sports around the world. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

There’s a casting weight inside this plastic skirt. Once I learned how to put this weight right where I wanted it to go, demonstrating that skill took me to a lot of different sports shows around the world. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I was really excited to have a chance to go to the big outdoor show in Los Angeles.  If you read my previous column this was back in 1952.  I had been asked to demonstrate the new Ambassadeur 5000 casting reels that were just being brought into the country.

Now I thought I was pretty good with a bait casting outfit when I headed for Los Angeles.  I found out in a hurry I wasn’t nearly as good as I thought.

My current columns on casting are designed with one purpose – to help you become a better caster.

You know, it’s a funny thing.  In this country we accept practice as a part of almost every kind of participant recreation.  If you’ll ponder that statement for a moment you’ll realize it’s true.  We practice so hard for football, baseball or basketball.  We practice bowling before league play starts.

We both know what those crazy golfers will be doing this weekend.   They will be out there with one bucket full of practice balls after another.  They’ll be trying to learn to keep their heads down, their left arms straight and to improve their score through practice.

Chances are you’ll wind up practicing if you’re wife decides you’ve tromped on her toes long enough and you need dancing lessons.  And so it goes.  But who practices casting?  Not very darn many!

Actually, improving casting accuracy through practice is one of the few things any of us can do to improve on the number of fish we put in the boat.  If we go fishing tomorrow morning, we can’t do one blessed thing about air temperature, wind direction, wind velocity, water temperature or most anything else.

For that matter, you don’t even know what kind of mood your fishing partner will be in.  You’ve got no control over any of those things.  One thing you do control is your ability to put a lure on target time after time and you can do that through practice.  And again – that’s what this series on casting is all about.

The reader has a right to know why I’m making noises like a casting expert.  I gave giving casting exhibitions to one extent or another around the world for more than half a century.  I made a substantial portion of my income through casting exhibitions and lectures on the subject.

This picture shows one of the spots where my casting skills took me. This picture is from one of the three successive years my casting was featured at the big outdoor show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

This picture shows one of the spots where my casting skills took me. This picture is from one of the three successive years my casting was featured at the big outdoor show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

They say one of the best ways to learn about something is to try to teach it.  I agree.  Much of what you’ll read here is the result of having talked, taught and demonstrated different casting techniques from Tulsa to Tokyo, San Francisco to Sao Paulo and countless other spots around a sizeable chunk of the world.

If you read my July column here you know about the first major outdoor show in which I participated.  It was when I had opportunity to demonstrate those brand new Ambassadeur 5000 reels at the old Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Again – I had thought I was pretty handy with a rod and reel when I went to that show.  I didn’t take long for me to realize I really wasn’t.  The big casting pool I worked at for 11 days was shared by the world’s professional casting champ.  A top amateur champ did his thing at the other end of the pool.

Like I’ve said, I wasn’t nearly as good as I thought going in.  But after 11 days of almost constant casting, watching and learning from a couple of the top casters in the world I came away a whole lot better than I had been coming out.

Much of what you find here is built into what I do in the way of exhibition casting.  Certainly there’s a good bit of showmanship involved in trick and accuracy casting before an outdoor show audience.

But don’t kid yourself that it’s all show.  The better you can handle a rod, the more fish you’ll catch.  There’s just no question about it.  You’ve simply got to be able to do the one before you can expect to accomplish the other.

Here's something else that casting accuracy has done for me. It has put lots of bass in my boat. This picture was taken a long, long time ago when I was still keeping some of the bass I'd caught. For many years now nearly all I've caught have gone back in the water. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Here’s something else that casting accuracy has done for me. It has put lots of bass in my boat. This picture was taken a long, long time ago when I was still keeping some of the bass I’d caught. For many years now nearly all I’ve caught have gone back in the water. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I’ve been quoted as having said that most males come into the world thinking they know all about three things.  One of them is sex, another is driving cars and a third is fishing.  The unfortunate truth is we come on the scene not knowing beans about any one of the three.

Now most of us are willing to practice the first two activities I listed.  But whoever heard of practice for fishing?  I have, my friend, and I hope you’re serious enough about your own fishing that you will also give it a try.

This column series will help.  Study it carefully.  You’ll find it deals with the basics of handling everything from the level wind, free spool casting reel to the closed-face spinning reel.  A lot of manuals are written in such a fashion it takes a Harvard professor to understand what the heck the writer is talking about.  Not this one.  Follow its advice and you’ll be zinging a lure out there as you’ve never done before.

What that eventually will mean is more fish.  That’s got to mean more fun and isn’t that what this wonderful business of sports fishing is all about?