An angler casting into a tight spot under some trees

Jeff Faulkner Presents: So Your Backcast Got Stuck in a Tree Again

For those of you that follow the Jeff Faulkner Presents series, you know that he offers a lightheartedness to an otherwise taken too seriously hobby. We have all had our own setbacks or frustrating moments while fly fishing. He allows us to laugh a little bit at ourselves and reminds us that it shouldn’t be something that ruins your day! Enjoy this article of Jeff Faulkner Presents: So Your Backcast Got Stuck in a Tree Again.

A neighbor of mine, whom coached the local college basketball team, taught me at a young age never leave the court on a missed shot. She wanted us to walk off the court on a high note. Carrying that success into whatever we were doing after. She taught us to power through the suck and succeed. If you have fished for any number of years and across seasons, I am sure that you have noticed that some days you are just off. You can’t seem to cast accurately, let alone catch a fish, or even worse you’ve already deposited a 6-pack of the fly shops finest flies in the overgrown tree. Full disclosure, I’ve had days so bad I was leaving flies in thistles on my back casts on big spring creeks. So what do you do? Get off the river? Pout and piss and moan until you have to go home? Catch one and then leave? Switch to Euro nymphing?  Sit and regroup? Power through while making up new swear words and perfecting self-deprecating humor?  

In my 40+ years wandering the earth I have still not found the answer.  Some of the best fishing in my life has been well past the point of defeat and  declaration of the “uggh. last cast.” Some even after a phone call promising my significant other “this is my last cast”, but that’s a post for another day. Coming soon our 100 part series: How to Fish and Maintain Healthy Personal Relationships.  

One of the things that I have been working on has been finding moments of peace. It’s easy to get caught up in the frustration and disappointment when things don’t go our way, especially when it comes to something we’re passionate about, like fishing. But amidst the tangles in the trees and the poor casts, there are opportunities to embrace the present moment and find solace in the experience. 

When faced with a challenging day on the water, instead of getting off the river or giving in to negativity, I’ve learned to take a step back and appreciate the surroundings. Nature has a way of calming the soul and putting things into perspective. I find a comfortable spot, perhaps a rock or the grassy bank, and take a moment to observe the beauty around me. The gentle flow of the river, the chirping of birds, and the sway of the trees all become a symphony that soothes the frustration away, or at least that’s what I have learned to tell myself. 

Sometimes, it’s helpful to switch up your approach. If the casting isn’t working out, rather than sticking to the same technique, I might try something different. Euro nymphing, for example, can be a way to catch a fish. Some may resort to throwing large streamers. That can be a refreshing change of pace and a way to challenge yourself in new ways. It keeps me engaged and focused, allowing me to break free from the cycle of frustration. 

Taking a break and regrouping can also do wonders for the mind and body. I use this time to reflect on what might be going wrong and make adjustments accordingly. Perhaps it’s my casting form that needs improvement or my choice of flies that needs reevaluation. By taking a moment to analyze the situation, I can come back with a fresh perspective and renewed determination. 

Powering through the challenges while maintaining a sense of humor has also become a valuable tool in my fishing arsenal. Instead of getting angry or down on myself, I’ve learned to laugh at the mishaps and enjoy the journey, no matter how frustrating it may be. In the grand scheme of things, a few lost flies or missed catches are minor setbacks. It’s the love for the sport and the joy of being in nature that truly matter. 

Like most things in life, I’ve come to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all answer.. Each experience is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. The key is to stay resilient, adapt to the circumstances, and find moments of peace amidst the challenges. 

So, the next time your back cast gets you stuck in a tree, take a deep breath, embrace the beauty of nature, and let the frustration fade away. Alternatively you can snap your rod over knee and come see us for a replacement, but the aforementioned method is cheaper and a better return on investment in the long run.