the Shadow Cast

have you ever wondered how this happened ?

taken from the oh-so-famous ‘A River Runs Through It‘  movie poster, here’s a very good example of three-dimensional casting.

devised by Jason Borger as a visual rendition of Norman Maclean’s description “…cast hard and low upstream, skimming the water with the fly but never letting it touch. Then he would pivot, reverse his line in a great oval above his head, and drive his line low and hard downstream, again, skimming the water with his fly ”  therefore creating the illusion of a bug hatch to a more than gullible fish !
(i personally believe this cast and it’s incessant ‘Shadowing‘ of the poor unexpecting fishes put them in hypnoïdal-halucinogetic fit and the only reason they ever got hooked was their mouths where slack-jawed, drooling with bliss and the fly managed to snag them on it’s merry ‘low and hard driving’ way, but then again, it’s just a personal theory).

thing is, in the movie itself, us casting geeks are left with a yuk aftertaste because we can’t even properly see the whole cast and as far as i’m concerned, sitting through an hour and a half of romanticised schmultz (yeah,romanticised schmutz. sorry) to see, enjoy and try to analyze this cast in just a few brief, very edited micro-flashes just doesn’t do it.
now, thanks to this groovy  gif  we get to see the mechanical motion sequence over and over (me jaw’s slackin’ from staring at it !…. 😎 )  finally putting Norm’s poetic description to good use !
the word sequence is off or at least confusing, the ‘Galway’ part starts after the initial over-head cast, it’s the reversal of the grip- Pendulum/Climbing Hook nos. 3&4 that goes throughout the whole back-cast, but the motions are correct. ( i think)

sure, the Shadow Cast is more of an exercise in style and aesthetics than one of hard-core use on the water and that’s just fine because fly casting should be pretty and sexy. after all, Jason in his seminal book ‘Nature of Fly Casting’ describes it as: ” It is not how many fish you catch, it is how good you look doing it. Well, maybe for the movies. ”

as i reread this i have to be honest. the more i think about it the more i believe the whole Shadow Cast thing is a retouched or special effects hyped-up hoax that never existed anywhere outside of the book or the movie’s editing room. ever wondered why no one else does this cast at shows or among like-minded casting geeks or even display it on youtube ? i do, but then i like make-believe and this make-believe sure beats the heck out of this…


‘because the wing was given to me by some guy that looks like Obelix…’

nothing special here, just a simple, easy, “bread and butter” caddis imitation that has all the sexy key trigger points to tempt our slimy friends.

tied from size 8 to 20 in light and dark tones and quick to make even in the van while listening to Davis blow his horn, the screen-type fabric of the wing lets light shine through while easily soaking up floatant. in calm waters i’ll apply floatant to just the wing and antennae and in faster flows the whole thing gets a good dose.

although not strictly necessary, the antennae give it a nice imprint on the surface. moose hairs aren’t the strongest of hairs so they don’t last forever and i’ll be looking for some kind of tapered plastic material to replace them on the bigger bugs. (micro-fibbets are perfect for the smaller sizes).

easy variants are to add an orange or green butt tag to represent eggs and skip the antennae.

made with:

hook- Maruto C47 BL  #16
thread- Veevus 14/0 brown
body- Mad Rabbit  dubbing mixed: reddish brown, black light grey trimmed and teased out towards the eye to represent legs
wing- mystery pre-made colored brown Obelix caddis wings
antennae- grey  moose mane colored to match and covered with BugBond for strength

a sexy hook !

a first quick ’emerging’ spider tied with these new hooks from Lucian at trout

a Maruto Dohitomi D04 BL # 18

1x fine, standard shank, barbless hook. it’s great for dries, light wets and nymphs, emergers and whatever else you can think of !
super-sharp right of the box, the design of this hook looks very promising. dead sexy…

Lucian offers a nice selection of barbless Maruto hooks and they all seem to be flawless.
expect to see a lot more on them here soon.

Traditional wet fly fishing techniques

with Oliver Edwards

not being of any traditionalist’s tendencies, what interests me most in wet fly fishing is more the style of fishing rather than the actual flies used as this method works equally well with unweighted nymphs or drowned dries (yup, put sinkant, mud or spit on it and it slowly sinks just where we want it).
active, dynamic, extremely effective and a lot of fun, the goal here is to present flies that might represent deadborns, emergers or spents just below the surface of the water column.
through time i’ve found that wet flies are so effective that i’ll almost always have one trailing behind or before the ‘main fly’, even with streamers ! a guess would be they come over to see the chunk and they take the bite-size, maybe because it looks less intimidating ? who knows.

in the beginning sequence Edwards points out an extremely obvious point that the typical method of fishing wets, ‘down and across’ just doesn’t make for a natural drift.
it does work at times but it’s clear that most salmonids will shun an insect going against or across current because it just doesn’t fit in with what insects do. with the ‘down and across’ method, there are often serious issues in hooking up. if the fish doesn’t turn around or go off at an appropriate angle it’s very easy to pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth as it’s directly inline with the angler. another common problem with this tight-line technique is the fish feels an instant resistance and spits the fly out and break-offs are common with over-excited, overly caffeinated anglers. a lot more important than losing a fly, break-offs suck because the fish ends up with a fly stuck in it’s mouth…
these problems hardly ever occur with the upstream or across stream methods shown on the video as there’s always at least some slack in the system.

(unfortunately, the longer video that demonstrated these fishing techniques with more details has been removed from the public domain but for all interested in learning more about traditional wet fly fishing i’d highly recommend buying Edward’s Essential Skills dvd #4 ‘Wet Fly Fishing on Rivers’)

here Edwards is tying the famous Waterhen Boa or large dark olive or better yet, Baetis rhodani of the ephemeroptera/mayfly family.
this nymph image explains the ‘dark’ part of ‘large dark olive’


like most wet flies it doesn’t really look like anything at the vise but it’s for sure sexy-buggy attractive when wet and tumbling down the current !

Fly Casting- the Sexy Loop

in this film stills sequence Paul Arden demonstrates an exceptionally beautiful front cast, his signature “Sexy Loop”. no bangles, no frills, no fanfare, the line is under perfect tension and control which means all the other elements that make up great casting where performed equally well.
this is as near to perfection as any of us could ever wish for.

have fun with your mouse or trackpad, speeding up or slowing down the sequence. make it go backwards and it turns into the funkiest back cast you’ve ever seen !