The first cast made to a fish usually has the best chance of catching that fish. Although it really can be that simple, I guess one sentence wouldn’t make a very good article. Making a perfect first cast to a fish, or a holding lie, will help increase the number of fish caught during a day.
I am a firm believer that the first cast is always the best chance of fooling the fish (if the fly, drift, weight, and approach are correct). In a lot of situations, each cast after the first one increases the likely hood of a refusal, or scaring the fish. If the first cast to an area possesses the best chance of catching the fish, it would certainly make sense to me to try to make the first cast the best one.
Having the ability to make every first cast into an area the best one is not a skill that is acquired overnight. It takes countless hours of time spent with a rod in hand along with proper technique to acquire precision accuracy. I am not necessarily referring to time spent “grass casting”. Casting in the lawn can be good practice, but it doesn’t exactly simulate real on-stream scenarios with obstacles, or sight fishing to what could be the biggest fish of your life (it’s okay, you’re still allowed to get “buck fever”).
Although there is no substitute to time spent on the water, there are some things that increase the odds of making the first cast the perfect cast. The first thing that can be done is simply slowing down. This means taking time to step back and analyze where the cast needs to be made from. This can be determined by the direction of currents, position of the fish, and obstacles such as trees or bushes. The majority of casts fail due to an angler not being positioned in the right spot. After finding the right spot, taking the time to double-check obstacles that need to be casted around can lead to less snags caught as well as tangles. It sounds like really simple advice, but it is not hard to overlook these small details that can make or break a cast (especially in the heat of the moment).
It’s not always an easy task to make the first cast to a fish your best, but it certainly is beautiful when they come together. For me that’s the art and grace of fly fishing, when all the parts of the puzzle fit perfectly. Having the ability to consistently put the fly where ever you want whenever you want is no easy task. Putting in the time, and making the extra effort to improve your first cast will result in more fish in the net. Good luck.