this is my special casting friend, Pussy Galore.
some people don’t like cats and for the life of me i can’t figure that one out.
they’re soft and furry, they catch mouses that might come into your house and steal your cheese. they don’t smell, they don’t bark, they act silly and are part of a select group of superior beings simply because they won’t do anything that they don’t feel like doing.
anyhow, i’m not going to try to convince anyone that they should get a cat to practice fly casting (although you obviously should… ) so i’ll just tell you about the fun that the two of us have when out around the house. bonus is that it’s not just about fun but also improving our casting and fishing skills.
PG loves this game and as soon as she sees me pick up a rod, eagerly comes trotting outside. a few purrs and squeaks later, and she’s all psyched-up for playing.
cats just can’t resist playing with fluffy things and lines and since we’re dealing with fluff and flylines, it all falls into place. see ?
alright now, so what’s so special about practicing with a cat ?
well, cats are a lot more interesting than the usual target ring or beer can.
they have personalities and whims. rings and cans are just stupid and lay there.
cats move. they go in places where no beer can would dare to.
this is very interesting for us because when Pussy goes underneath the car or on the other side of a bush or anywhere else around our little place in the woods, these areas represent what become to us stream-side, often hard to reach places to present our flies to properly. seems to me that it’s pretty rare to find good fishing spots that aren’t filled with obstacles of some sort, so the more we learn to deal with these obstacles, the better fishermen we will be.
cats try to catch the fluff both on the ground and in the air.
rings have a very hard time doing this. cats don’t.
you can even practice striking as with a fish but you’ll have to do it ‘backwards’. that is, the idea is to not let the cat catch the fluff but on the contrary, snatch it out of its paws before they start chewing on it.
they’re very fast and you have to be even faster.
funny thing is that before they can chew away at the fluff they first have to catch it with their paws, so it’s trapped between the ground and their cute little feet.
to chew it the paw needs to be lifted and if there’s tension on the line, it pops away.
cats rarely smile, and here’s one occasion where they most definitely don’t.
this is a very good way to practice striking in different manners.
the usual rod lift, but also the strip-strike, rolly-pully, scissor strike, rolls and snaps all find their usefulness here and since practice makes better, it all leads to more hook-ups when on the water.
by the way, once in a while it’s a good thing to let them ‘win’ so as not to hurt their feelings.
cats, if you look at them in the right way can actually turn into black furry trouts. just like trout (or whatever other fish), it’s best to approach and cast to them when they aren’t looking your way. so when she turns around to check out something that only cats can see, it’s a good time to practice fancy presentation casts that get the fluff to her attention without lining her.
lining a fish/cat means putting the line or leader over the cat/fish. this scares fish and is one of the best ways to put them down.
cats aren’t as easily spooked as fish but you’ll definitely see a reaction of some sort because you’ll be disturbing their ‘special moment’.
rings and cans are rather indifferent to being lined. not much to learn from them in this regard.
again, just like what we try to achieve on the water, we can do with the house fur-ball and without getting our feet wet.
cats are smaller than rings but bigger than beer cans. this means that you need to be more accurate than with rings. nobody really casts at beer cans so lets just forget i ever mentioned them in the first place…
it’s fun to try to put the leader between her ears or placing the fluff on her head. she thinks it’s a bug or something and twitches her ears. it’s funny.
so what does the cat get out of this ? hard to tell, a little exercise i guess, and that’s all good for a ten year old Puss. one thing’s for sure, she always comes back for more so i just can’t believe that there isn’t a fun element somewhere in there for her as well. after all, fluff isn’t very nutritious, not even to a whacky cat. you can be creative when it comes to the kind of fluff you use on the end of your leader. this is the special ‘high-adrenalin’ fly.
post note- this piece was written several years ago and PG has since gone to kitty heaven. i like to think she’s chasing angelfluff mouses.