If you fish in Wyoming, you have to deal with wind. It’s just part of the deal. I’m not a real good fly-caster on the best of days, let alone when the air’s moving at about 25 miles an hour. Good casters always tell you to keep your loops tight, but that’s easier said than done.
When you cast a fly line, the line forms a bend as you transition from the backcast to the forecast. The closer the top strand is to the bottom one, the better your cast will be if there’s even a breath of wind. It’s just more aerodynamic if it’s tight. But to get the loop tight, you have to move from the backcast to the forecast at the precise right time. You need to start moving the cast forward just as the line straightens out behind you. You also need to make sure you don’t have much vertical movement in your casting arm.
It takes a lot of practice. Unfortunately, I still haven’t mastered it, despite countless hours of trying. Once in a while, I get it, just by sheer luck. But most of the time, I just wind up snapping off my fly, snagging it in the brush either behind or in front of me, or hooking myself in the back of the neck.
It hardly phases me anymore. I actually get more upset when I lose a fly on a backcast than I do when I snag myself. At least when I bury the hook in the flesh of my neck, I know I still have the fly. Besides, I’ve hooked myself so many times in the last several years, I hardly feel it now. I’ve probably damaged every nerve in the right side of my neck from the shoulders to the base of my skull.
Unfortunately, it’s not always painless. Once in a while, my fly finds a chunk of real estate that hasn’t become a fleshy pin cushion. When that happens, I feel it.
So if you see me flailing the water this spring, listen for me to scream like a girl. If I do, please come over and help me get the hook out of my neck. I might need that fly later.