Free casting clinics polish your stroke – Fly-casting is a sport unto itself |

Free casting clinics polish your stroke – Fly-casting is a sport unto itself

Steamboat’s free fly rod casting clinics are a great way for novices to dial in the rhythm of the sport. Before you can consistently catch trout, you have to master the stroke.

Golfers head to the driving range every spring before playing their first round. More fly fishers should probably consider taking equivalent steps before heading for the Yampa River.

Fly-casting isn’t really difficult, but without some guidance, a sport that should be elegant can be choppy and frustrating.

Of course, whacking a bucket of balls with your three wood won’t improve your fly-casting, but making a few casts on dry land could line out some of the kinks in your stroke. And doing it under the watchful eye of an expert fly caster could really improve your success on the water.

“It’s no different than any other sport – golf or tennis – any movement other than what’s essential results in problems,” Steve Henderson said. “Everyone has their own things they need to tweak.”

Area fishing guides conduct free casting clinics every Wednesday and Saturday evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day in Lincoln Park. Check with a fly shop on Lincoln Avenue to confirm times and let them know if you need a loaner fly rod.

Novice and veteran anglers at casting clinics won’t catch fish, but they’ll polish the skills needed to hook a trout.

“The clinics are for any level,” Henderson said. “Saturday is meant to be more for beginners with Wednesday devoted to more specific techniques. Ideally, for example, we’d like to teach roll casts and show people how to begin to double haul. But most of the people who show up are beginners.”

Why even bother to cast a fly line on dry land?

There’s nothing more frustrating than retrieving a knotted leader out of the willow bushes when trout are feeding eagerly 15 feet in front of you. A dry-land session can eliminate the hassles.

Henderson said casting instructors will help novice casters understand that the tip of their rod controls the delivery of the fly. Attempting to overpower the rod in an effort to cast further, only leads to problems. And it’s essential, before every cast, to take care that you have a taught line, both between the water and the rod tip, and between the off-rod hand and the reel.

Learning some of the basics can shorten the learning curve for beginning anglers who are more focused on hooking fish than they are on casting mechanics.

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