Chicago,USA
eric@altarflyfishing.org

MAKE THE FIRST CAST COUNT

MERGING FAITH AND FLY FISHING INTO A COMMON STREAM

I have been blessed to have fished with several different guides in several different fishing situations: trout, steelhead, salmon, wading, drifting, high lakes, spring creeks and large rivers.  Many of the stories I remember and tell come from the guides and people I have fished with.  

Stewart is a guide in Colorado that has been in the sport a long time and has more stories than I can count (and those were only the ones he shared!).  We were wading in the Arkansas River near Salida fishing pocket water before we migrated downstream to fish some runs and pools.  There, in the middle of the stream, with many different water flows resulting from small and large rocks around us, Stewart gave me a lesson that I not only remember, but have used from that day forward every time I fish.

“Make the FIRST cast count.  Make your FIRST cast your best cast.  Your second cast cuts your chances to catch that fish by 50%.  After your third and fourth casts you are practicing, not fishing.”

Stewart shared his observations of fishermen (and women) wading through streams, casting as they walked.  Horrible casts.  Misplaced casts.  Off balance casts.  Tripping and falling over casts.  Kicking rocks and splashing water casts.  In his own sarcastic and dry sense of humor (of which I love) he said, “Hard to believe NONE of those casts caught fish with so many trout in these gold medal waters.”

Stewart then took just a few minutes showing me how to spot where I wanted to make my next cast, how to take my time and position myself correctly behind a rock or boulder, and how to think through and visualize my cast so when I was ready, my FIRST cast would be my best cast.  

To my surprise, but I doubt his, my best, first casts caught fish.  Go figure!  Like all of us, I am eager to get flies to fish and often make too many casts that are not my best.  Yet more often than not, I am reminded of Stewart’s words and take the time to make my FIRST cast my best cast.  What about the casts of life?

Colossians 3:16-17 says: 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

This is a “FIRST cast, best cast” kind of verse to me.  It reminds me of the value of encouraging and teaching one another as Steward did with me.  It also reminds me that whatever I do—my words and my actions—in every context of my life (home, work, church, friends, service…), I need to be intentional to make my best cast first.  It simply honors God, impacts others, as well as myself.  It is not always easy and I often forget, walking, stumbling, casting the “flies of life” everywhere—often with less than my desired results.  But there are times I slow, observe, prepare, and make my best cast first in my words or deeds.  Amazing how the “catch rate” increases when I give care and attention (and intention) to what I do and say.

For Reflection

  • FISHING: Have you learned Stewart’s fly-casting lesson for yourself?
  • LIFE: What are some recent “casts” in your words or actions that were not your best?  What were the results?
  • Think about your week ahead.  Who will you encounter?  What are your tasks/duties?  What are your situations?  Take a moment, observe, think through, and visualize what your “best cast” would look like in each of these.  Then…execute your cast?
  • Pay attention to the results/impact in your best casts.  Share with a friend what you have learned (stream or life).