• Chris O'Byrne

Charles & Cecil Casting Coffee

Two points of the Fly Cast

As the fishing buddies walked out of the Coffee, Bait -n- Beer convenience store, Charles held his coffee out to Cecil, “Carry this for me.”

Cecil shifted his large Styrofoam cup and bag of breakfast breads, then accepted Charles’s cup. “Ok, but you drive.”

Settled in the passenger seat of his new truck, Cecil said, “I want to learn to cast a fly rod. But when the wind blows, like today…” He slowly shook his head and blew a cooling breath across the dark surface of his coffee. “It’s been so long, and I still can’t get my line to pop out there.”

“Quit whinin’.” The bigger man steered onto a long, two lane road leading to the water. “I can show you how to cast good as me.” He pulled the truck to a stop. “Moving a rod is the same as moving this truck; speed up and stop.”

Like a professor lecturing on his own text, Charles continued, “Most beginners start too slowly.” He crept the truck forward with gentle pressure on the accelerator. “But, a slow-moving tip never gets the line behind the caster.” Then he stopped the truck and took a deep sip from his coffee. “Other casters start way too quickly.” He put his coffee in the cup holder, then shoved the accelerator.

The engine roared. The tires bit the road. The truck started so quickly that sugary black coffee spewed out of Cecil’s cup and onto his expensive fishing shirt.

Charles took his foot off the gas and looked over at the spreading stain. “That’s bad.” As the truck slowed its progress, he continued, “The cast should get faster and faster. You gotta accelerate the rod tip smoothly.”

In a higher-pitched voice, Cecil said, “Pleeease don’t do that again.”

Like a cheater avoiding punishment, Charles said, “I won’t. Hey, this is better’n how I learned.” Then, “Accelerate the tip.” He took a quick sip of his coffee, then put it back in the cup holder.

Then he accelerated the truck at a steady rate that pulled both men backward in their seats. Continuing to accelerate Cecil’s powerful truck, he put both hands on the wheel talking faster and louder, “So the cast begins smoothly and accelerates.”

What is he doing with my truck? Cecil worried.

With more speed in his voice, Charles continued, “After you accelerate the rod, stop it.” Charles slowly took his foot off the gas but did not press the brake. The vehicle slowed, giving away its power over several hundred yards with an anticlimactic decrescendo. As they peacefully drifted slower and slower, Cecil dared a small sip, and Charles continued, “Stopping your back and forward casts slowly, bending your wrist, saps the power you pulled into the bent rod.” As the truck drifted to a stop, Charles drained his cup, then returned to his subject. “Start smooth.”

He pressed the accelerator gently and continuously. The truck accelerated smoothly. The coffee did not move in Cecil’s cup. “Accelerate to high speed.”

Telephone poles began to pass quicker and quicker. Oh no.

Charles raised his voice above the growing woosh of air. “And release all that power by stopping the rod with authority!”

He stomped the brake. Silent tires stopped the truck instantly. The rear of the truck rose. The seat belts caught both anglers. And Cecil’s coffee unloaded onto the dash.

***

Finally on the water and more frustrated than focused, Cecil fumed, not fishing. But when the cold coffee stain on his shirt brought him back, he picked a fishy looking target, concentrated on a smooth start and a quick stop, and made his first good cast.

***

On the way home, the conversation turned to baseball. Charles did not mention that he was sitting in a sticky puddle of Cecil’s morning coffee, and Cecil drove smoothly, not mentioning his six fish to Charles’s three.


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All material Copyright 2019, C. O'Byrne                                        All Rights Reserved