If the pool has been undisturbed for a longer time, I never recast. The less foam, the better.
Taking one step back, I think it is good for you to learn to identify a bad cast in the middle of the process, because it can often be salvaged. Wrong anchor placement can sometimes be corrected by redirecting sweep direction (D-loop) and forward cast. Many problems can be corrected by adding a poke or two.
As being relatively new to the game ,I almost always fish out bad casts ... I personally catch the most fish on mediocre casts ( yes ,mainly because these are the majority of my casts) but more importantly. On those really good casting days, I find myself not fishing out the entire swing, I'm much too eager to strip it in right before the hang down and launch another great cast that peels a foot off the reel as it snaps tight.
If I make a bad cast that piles up, I just tell myself I'm letting the fly get deeper and continue to fish it ha. Seriously though, usually a bad cast I'll just strip or tighten the line to make sure I've got a fly first swing and fish it out. The fish on my home water can be spooky so the less casts the better. Plus I always seem to catch my best fish on my worst casts!
Like beauty, a bad cast is in the eyes of the beholder. In my eye, I may be dissatisfied with that junk cast but, just maybe, a fish finds the fly to its liking! If the cast is a complete fail ( I mean how often does that happen, really - lol) and its not in a suitable seam or zone I may do a recast. But, if my fly hands in a decent swing zone, where I think there could be a fish - I consider it a Hail Mary cast and just fish it out . I can't tell you how many times where I'm fiddling around with a fumbled cast and a fish took my fly! Sometimes we get rewarded, even when we don't deserve it.....
Great topic! Like many things in steeheading this topic generates some nice banter and differing ideas! I almost always fish out a bad cast. Like many of the posters above, I've caught plenty of fish on bad casts and it's usually worthwhile for me to fish it out. Also, I don't like the potential commotion pulling and stripping line causes while its out in proximity of the zone, and the potential for a fish nearby to get spooked or see the fly acting in a manner that is not consistent with a nice steady swing. After I fish it out, I then re-cast the exact same cast properly to make sure I'm covering any part of the cast I didn't fish well on the bad cast. For me, the only exception is if I'm trying to fish a defined lie that is long distance, and can't hit it properly (and the water closer-in has already been fished well, or is not good holding water). In those instances I'll usually fish it out briefly....just long enough to not cause commotion near the lie....and then strip in after I feel the fly is a safe distance from the target lie, so I can get back after it again without wasting too much time.
After cursing I now learn a lot from "bad" casts. Thanks to the writings of Al Buhr, Ed Jaworowski and others, pearls of insight and wisdom can be extracted from "bad" casts! Late tailing loops, early tails, collision loops, failure to completely unroll, body piercings, all have their own causes and remedies. Great casts teach also. "Spey fishing" and "Spey casting" are coequal partners in the enjoyment journey ... not so with gear fishing. "Bad" cast = cast, curse, learn, enjoy!
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