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?

Let’s Look Back: Good Casting is Still the Key – Part 1

For several years they used to hang a big balloon on ribbons in front of the auditorium where the Bassmasters Classic was being held.  Nobody got to go in until I cast and busted the balloon.  Here's what happened at the exact time I nailed it.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

For several years they used to hang a big balloon on ribbons in front of the auditorium where the Bassmasters Classic was being held. Nobody got to go in until I cast and busted the balloon. Here’s what happened at the exact time I nailed it. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

It’s easy to recall the first time I talked to Terry Battisti about the possibility of me doing a column for his then new Bass Fishing Archives.

Our visit was in the early days of this website not too long after Terry had founded the BFA (Bass Fishing Archives) and got things going.  I was amazed at a guy his age could have the tremendous amount of bass fishing history he packs around in his head. [Read more…]

Swedish Record Ambassadeur – 1954

Swedish Record Ambassadeur 5000 ad from June 1954. From The Fisherman magazine.

Swedish Record Ambassadeur 5000 ad from June 1954. From The Fisherman magazine.

About a year ago we posted a piece regarding an old Ambasadeur 5000/6000 ad from 1955 and the fact that Garcia wasn’t mentioned anywhere. I contacted Bill Sonnett, who sent me the ad in the first place, and asked him what the deal was and who exactly was Julian A. Wesseler. He sent me to one of the ABU experts of the world, Fred Ribb, who explained to me that although Garcia was given the first shot at representing ABU in the U.S. in 1954, they balked at the chance and Julian Wesseler became the first rep in the states.

Well, tonight as I was reading through a stack of early 1950s The Fisherman magazines, I found not only an early ad but an actual write-up by Art Hutt on the new Swedish Ambassadeur. [Read more…]

The Swedish Ambassadeur

A 1955 Ambassadeur ad from Field and Stream. The ad shows the first company who began importing ABU reels into the United States, Julian A. Wesseler.

A 1955 Ambassadeur ad from Field and Stream. The ad shows the first company who began importing ABU reels into the United States, Julian A. Wesseler.

Here’s an interesting ad I received from bass historian Bill Sonnett a couple months ago. The ad is from 1955 and was placed in a 1955 Field and Stream magazine. What makes the ad interesting is it’s debuting the new Swedish Ambassadeur level wind reel – models 5000 and 6000 – and nowhere in the ad is there any mention of Garcia.

This confused me a bit so I sent off an email to Bill and asked if he knew why there was no mention of Garcia and who Julian A. Wesseler was. Bill directed me to a gentleman who he said, “Has forgotten more about ABU than you and I will ever know combined.”

That man is Fred Ribb. [Read more…]

The Writers: Stan Fagerstrom – Part Three

Fagerstrom sits with some children interested in learning how to cast. Photo courtesy of Stan Fagerstrom.

In Parts One and Two Stan talked about his early life, his time in the U.S. Army during World War II, his early writing, the first Bassmaster Classic, and various folks he met in the industry who had an impact on his life as an outdoor figure. In Part Three, Stan will cover how he got into trick casting and how it changed his life.

From Writing to Casting

Although Fagerstrom is an award-winning outdoor writer whose bylines have appeared in most of the bass magazines known to the industry, he’s every bit as well known in another area of the sport – casting. He’s internationally recognized as a casting expert with a variety of rods and reels and during my interview with him, I asked him how this came about. Here’s what he had to say about his experiences casting. [Read more…]