Fluid Accuracy


Accuracy in fly fishing is one of those fluid concepts, like fish length, numbers caught and what fly you may have been using.

In this post-modernist fly fishing world, what is accurate depends a lot on what you are doing, what you are aiming at and the techniques involved. Target casting for instance requires a whole bunch of different skills, and different margins of error, than blind fishing a riffle.

These thoughts came together after a piece on keeping your body aligned to help both casting and hook sets. I included an errant paragraph saying a square on body position was the best bet for “serious accuracy”.

My mate Davy Wotton commented  correctly that of course a different closed stance, was actually the best for the ultimate in accuracy.

 For a right handed caster if the right foot is forward and the related body position is also turned so that the casting arm is more in line with the eye, accuracy placement is easier to achieve _ DW

Which all got me pondering the meaning of accuracy. Inherently we face some challenges with accuracy, due to the nature of the equipment and the technique of the cast. A 10′ rod is inherently less accurate that a short rod, and there is a lot more to go wrong with a 12′ dry fly leader than a short heavy one.aa

Some days accuracy matters and others not so much. In winter 2016, after the deluge I took my poet friend Geffrey and his fishing bud James streamer fishing on an impossibly dirty Norfork, as the White was sketchy and low. The trout would eat, in tight, almost under the overhang. It was one of those days Mississippi Johnson says you need to “Cast between the water and the bank.”

Geff and I make our living with words and we both wish we had written that.

In Tasmania the mantra was practice till you can hit a dinner plate at 60’and that was leading a fish and in the wind. Thankfully the fish weren’t as picky as some of my fly fishing mentors.

A little research will show that the masters of fly rod accuracy, competition target casters are aiming at a 30″ circle from 20′ to 50′ away, and yes the best rarely miss, but it certainly suggests true measured accuracy with a fly rod is way harder than fishing accuracy.

It’s one of fly fishing’s minor miracles that the hook can be well and truly set before one has the skills to know what to do with it.

Unlike some other pursuits I can name, juggling chainsaws, sword swallowing, or golf you really don’t need to have any level of skill to get a kick out of it and achieve success.

Trout it seems will respond to all manner of flies, all manner of presentations, but perhaps best of all to humility and an open mind.

hooked for sure _ Ben Levin image