It is always good to practice when your are planning to do something new or change the way you have been doing it in the past, to be certain when you come down to actually doing it. you will do your best. Sounds like a Boy Scout motto, •Do Your Best”. Or was that Cub Scouts? By the way, not many people know I was a Boy Scout. Never got out of Tenderfoot, which is an entry level of the Boy Scouts. I lasted less than a month when I found out the only reason the other scouts in my squad just wanted me to join was that they wanted to have the weekly meetings at my house because I had three beautiful sisters, or was it because I could already tie a square knot.
Back to practice. My dad was planning a weekend trip to Oak Creek Canyon. It’s a great place for all types of outdoor activities like camping, hiking, rock climbing and fishing, my favorite. I had just purchased a new ultra light fishing rod & reel that was going to change my old habits of fishing with the so called garbage baits like cheese, salmon eggs, worms, marshmallows and corn. Almost sounds good to eat, except for the salmon eggs and worms. As a matter of fact, I remember times when would be out fishing for trout and getting a little hungry, we would cut off a piece of the Velveeta Cheese and pop it into our mouth or smelling the kernels of canned corn and couldn’t resist a small hand full for a snack. Anybody can usually catch fish using these baits in the process I called •Garbage Fishing”. My Dad and brothers did it for years along with using different fishing lures. I always did enjoy fishing lures the best. So I decided to go the ultra light, spinner bait route and wean myself off the garbage bates. The theory was that it takes more skill to land a fish, after selecting the right lure, casting at the right place and retrieving the lure at it’s correct speed for the right action and then setting the hook with the right pressure at the instant you detect the strike and then using the flex of the rod. the correct drag of your reel and finally your own knowledge f habits of the fish when hooked. Did I mention luck? With that in mind, I decided to practice my casting.
So there I was, with my brand new Garcia Ultra Light rod and Mitchell 409 Ultra Light Real, ready to give it a test out in the back yard. The reel came with two spools for the fishing line. I read somewhere, that to be a true ultra light sport fisherman, you would want to using the lightest line weight you could find. Line weights, measure in pounds of tests, would normally be in the six to ten pound test for trout and bass, ten to twenty pound test for Junker bass, catfish and carp, and up to the hundreds pound test for deep sea fishing. I read in a Field & Stream article, the inspiration of this Ultra Light kick I was on, that if you take six inches of your fishing line and drop it on the ground or the bottom of your boat and can find it, it’s too heavy and the fish will be less likely to strike your lure. So I decided to purchase two pound test for the shallower, low capacity spool, four pound test for the larger capacity spool for very swift waters or bass fishing, plus the smallest spinning lures I could find, and the smallest swivels I could find to attaches the ultra light lures to the ultra light line on the new ultra light fishing rig. I also purchased a small practice plug which is a piece of molded rubber with an eyelet and no hooks for casting practice. Now it was time for the practice drills. I never practiced my fishing skills before. We just went fishing. Kind of like on the job training. Someone, Dad, showed me how, and I did it. Even caught some fish with the skills he taught me. Did I mention luck?
So following the Field & Stream articles advice, I attached the practice plug to the swivel and set up my target. To simulate fishing my target was a five gallon pail I borrowed from my mother and filled it full of water. The target had two functions. The first was obviously a spot to aim for and secondly, to provide a splash and sound of the plug hitting the target. I started my drills. First the overhand cast, side arm cast and then the underhand cast. In both cast, you use your forefinger to slow down the line speed to help guide the plug to the target. After getting familiar with each different cast and various distances to the target, I practice a combination of cast. alternating from one to another a differ distances and even put the bucket under a try to make the underhand cast more realistic to stream side conditions where it would be beneficial.
Practice, practice, practice. All day long. At about five o’clock, my dad came home from work He saw me out in the back yard through the kitchen window. As he walked out the back door, he asked what I was doing. I don’t think he ever practice casting before. I told him I was practicing casting with my new Garcia Ultra Light fishing rig. He asked to see it. I handed it to him and told him to give it a try. I pointed out the target twenty five feet away. He wound the reel to bring the practice plug up to within six inches of the rod tip. That part was correct. From that point he did everything wrong according to f &S. That was until the plug was on its way toward and into the bucket with a splash. On his first try, and his last try because after batting a 1000, why take another shot at it. If you miss the second shot, you would only be batting 500. If you make it you would still be batting 1000. So he handed me the rig make and said “Mother has dinner ready its time to eat.” Practice, Practice, Practice.