Just One More Cast by Mark Usyk

I’m gonna tie flies to save money. That’s one of the great lies. Once you start, if you didn’t realize it to begin with, you will soon enough. You’ll come to the realization that it has nothing to do with saving money and will most likely cost you more in the long run than if you just bought them in a fly shop or from a tier as you needed them. It’s a fact, a trap many of us fall into, willingly at that.

But there’s a another great lie in fishing that’s so great it doesn’t just pertain to fly fishing alone, but to every form of fishing on the planet I’d have to imagine. It’s so deeply rooted in our subconscious, in who we are, that we never see it coming in the beginning, it just happens from the first time we’re taken fishing, and after that we know it’s going to happen and don’t even bother to fight it. The first caveman to try and spear his dinner was the first to utter it in some forgotten grunting language. Then the invention of the fishing rod changed the wording but the meaning remains the same to this day. Its roots are in hope and persistence, two of the things that have enabled man to prosper and spread across the planet, but in this context, these two things take on the form of a phrase which can be the very ruination of man. “Just one more cast.”

How many husbands have walked in the door hours late to a steaming mad wife, plans laid to waste by the hope and persistence in just one more cast? How many girlfriends have sat on the couch waiting for a boyfriend to pick them up only to have him never show up, just one more cast ending up being just one more hour just one more time. And it’s not limited to men anymore. There’s a great number of women anglers casting everything from spinning and bait casting rods to fly rods who’ve found that “”just one more cast” is much easier to deal with than all the B.S. that goes along with him and his buddies grinding corn chips and dip into the carpet during Sunday football games. They’ve gotten tired of letting the guys have all the fun telling all the fish stories. The women have discovered the secret in one more cast today too.

It just happens. It’s not taught, it’s inside all of us. After all, it’s hope and persistence. I saw it happen this past summer first hand to one of my sons. Jacob, my older son, he will go fishing, but he’s got to be in the right mood. He likes our family spot on the farm in Cobleskill where he can cast marabou jigs from the canoe and catch Bass and Sunfish on a nice day but to get him to head out back and traipse up and down the creek many times just isn’t his idea of fun. He will, but you have to catch him on the right day. His younger brother Carter however asks me quite often if I’ll take him out back. If we stay in just one place he’ll get bored pretty quickly and the rocks will eventually begin to take flight and splash down in the pool below the spillway. But this past summer on one particular afternoon, I asked him if he wanted to walk downstream some and he gladly agreed. Moving around kept his attention, you could see it on his face that following Dad, wading in shorts and sneakers down the creek with his fishing rod in his hand was a blast to him. I pointed out holes for him to cast to, explained that we needed to try not to send waves out across the pools or we’d spook the fish, and untangled his line a couple times. We hadn’t caught anything yet but hope was at the end of each of his casts and for now it was holding him.

By the time we made it down to the bridge in town we’d been in the water for at least an hour. We were both casting to the deep water along the far bank just above the bridge and I just kept watching him, watching the persistence on his face, his casts with his little ultra-light rod and marabou jigs were great, his retrieves were just as I’d taught him, and every cast was coming up empty. I hadn’t gotten anything either, but I wasn’t really trying, I was watching him, a proud dad. He finally spoke up and told me that his hand was getting sore and I had just lost a Smallmouth, finally a bite, and I told him we could go home whenever he was ready. And then it happened. “Ok Dad, just let me cast it five more times and we can go.” I agreed, “OK, five more casts and we’ll climb up to the bridge and walk home buddy.” After his fifth cast he made a sixth. I asked him, “Hey, I thought you said five casts?” Then he says just two more. Two casts. Then two more. Then for the next twenty minutes it was “Just one more cast.” I couldn’t help but smile. I’d done it myself hundreds of times in my life. I’d heard my father and my grandfather both say it, countless friends and strangers on the water alike. But this was different. I’d just heard my son utter it for his very first time. I was there to witness it. The hope and persistence taking hold naturally. No prodding, no peer pressure, it just came out. It’s something that just happens… He’s 6 years old. It just happens.