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Make your first cast your best

Sean Visintainer - 04/21/15

Fly Casting for Cutthroat trout on the Coeur d Alene River.

First Impressions Count

One consistent thing I have noticed over the years is how often anglers make their "first presentation" to a specific location, then immediately pick the line/fly off the water again and shoot the fly back into the same zone. Most of the time their first shot into the feeding line was the perfect placement and the second too far away or exactly the same as their first. I call these 2nd Guess Cast. What is a 2nd Guess Cast?

2nd Guess Cast are those cast you make right after you just plopped your fly into a hole and pull it right back out to place it somewhere else or often times... right back in the same damn spot. 2nd Guess Cast usually disturb the water.

There are many scenarios here, but the point is... if you take the extra half a second to plan where that first cast will land you will have less chances of spooking the fish and up your odds of hooking them. And if you are fishing from a moving boat, making your first cast count will keep you from zipping past the zone without a shot.

5 Tips to making your first impression count

  1. Practice. No brainer right? Practicing with targets on the lawn is probably the single biggest thing you can do to overcome 2nd Guess Cast.
  2. Keep your line/fly aerialized one extra false cast. Just that extra false cast gives you enough time adjust your angle and distance.
  3. Know your "fishy" water. This can take some time if you are new to reading water. The more you can understand and observe where fish live during certain water temps/seasons, the more your odds go up of dropping your fly into the correct water.
  4. Let it ride. Just presented your fly into a holding lie? Let it fish... then pull it out and re-cast. Don't rip the fly/line immediately out, give it at least a few feet. Just enough for the fish to get a look and decide whether it's worthy or not.
  5. Go with your instinct. This kinda goes along with Tip 4, but your instinct was to set your fly down on the water so do it.

Remember, you have the highest odds of hooking fish with your first presentation. The more you splash the line/fly on the water and cause a scene... the less Mrs. Fish wants to hookup with you. Make her think you're the only bug in the river for her.

Fly Casting for Cutthroat trout on the Coeur d'Alene.
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