It’s Not About the Distance!

Dave Strief casting

Linda Lyon

Staying true to one of the SaddleBrooke Fly Fishers’ (SBFF) goals to “provide educational opportunities” for membership, SBFF held a casting clinic at the end of May.

Although the clinic was open to all club members, five of the six attendees had recently graduated from the SBFF Mentorship Program.

SBFF Education Committee Co-Chairs Bary Sherman and Clark Simonds arranged the clinic and assisted the instructor, Dave Strief. Widely recognized by club members as an accomplished caster, Dave is both skilled and gracious about sharing his knowledge with others. It is rewarding, he said, to help others avoid the trial-and-error learning method he and his buddies invoked as teenagers while fishing for bass and bluegill in Des Moines, Iowa, farm ponds.

Places to practice casting are hard to come by in SaddleBrooke, since a long, unencumbered stretch of grass is the preferred place to practice to protect costly fly lines and provide ample room to cast. Fortunately, though, SaddleBrooke TWO came to the rescue and allowed the clinic to be held outside the MountainView Clubhouse. The location was perfect, as there was even some shade.

Attending the clinic were Jim Bilwacks, Liam Flynn, Ted Gooley, Brian Herndon, Frank Powell, and Anne Stanley. Dave demonstrated the overhead and roll casts to them and then, with Bary and Clark’s help, coached each as they practiced the casts. Fortunately, the wind even showed up to demonstrate the effect its variability can have on casting and how different weighted rods can make a difference.

Over five decades of fly-fishing experience also allowed Dave to impart several pearls of wisdom to attendees. One that surprised many of the newest anglers was that they only need to be able to cast 20 to 30 feet to catch the majority of fish. It’s accuracy and presentation, Dave pointed out, not distance, that makes the difference.

Attendee Anne said the clinic was wonderful, with Dave encouraging his students while pointing out technique changes to improve their casts. “It was a pure joy,” she said, “to get it right and see the cast shoot out nice and straight with an easy flowing movement.” Jim, another attendee, said, “As a beginning fly fisher, Dave’s class was invaluable to me. His approach was methodical, starting with the proper grip and working his way through the entire casting process. He was always nearby to offer encouragement or a helpful tip.”

As with Anne and Jim, a more confident casting stroke was the primary takeaway for the clinic attendees.

Whether you are an experienced fly angler or you’ve never held a fly rod, the SBFF can get you on the water casting a fly to a fish. Email [email protected] for more information.