With all apologies to the Federation of Fly Fishers, which has done many wonderful things to promote flyfishing through teaching, let’s admit right here that as far as trout fishing with flies is concerned, there are about 100 things that factor into success, and the cast is dead last among them. It matters almost zip. Nada. Squadoosh. I write this, fresh off the river, after another guide day in which I watched a sweet grandmother who rarely fishes, put a 5-1 fish ratio smackdown on her type-A “loopmaster” husband … because she knew how to drift flies.

Granted, in saltwater, the game is totally different, and the cast is paramount. Priority number one. And a great cast can never hurt you on the river. But I honestly think we spend more time over-complicating, “guru-izing,” certifying, and ultimately intimidating flyfishers by making casting seem harder and more important than it should be.