Dick took a couple of casts with my rod and said, “Your reel’s broken. You hear it grinding?”

Of course I could not, so he opened up the panel that hides the little brakes and a busted, cheaply made part fell out.

Dick put a real reel on my rod, adjusted it, and then showed me (in 5 minutes) how to cast without herniating a disc or bursting small blood vessels in my face. (Dick casts two-handed. He gives the rod a little flick and the plug sails 220 feet plus.) With a day of practice, I was making effortless casts of 190 feet.

Now back to guns. As with baticasting, no one is born knowing how to shoot. You can be making simple, dumb mistakes, as I was, or your equipment can be screwed up, as mine was, and you can blunder on forever wondering what the hell is wrong. In the meanwhile, you will pay heavily in all sorts of ways.

If you can’t shoot as well as you want, get help from an expert who is also able to teach. Such a person can see instantly what the problem(s) is. Tennis players and golfers, who are not exactly overburdened with good sense, do this as second nature. Even yuppie sporting clays shooters get professional help. Only riflemen seem to struggle on alone.