I just returned from fishing in South Argentina, casting for stream trout in the Andes, an adventure that I will be sure to write more about in the future.
While there, I met up with a man by the name of Ricardo, the director of relations between the hotel and the National Park Guard. Ricardo is an avid fly fisherman who taught himself to cast using gear that was given to him by a visiting missionary.
I spent four days fishing with Ricardo, and we caught dozens of beautiful trout, but what I want to speak about today is something that his son was struggling with when trying to cast his fathers fly rod.
His son had been practicing for a while, but couldn’t seem to sustain a cast due to a technique problem called ‘the chicken wing.’
The chicken wing is a result of someone trying to cast more line than they are ready, thereby overpowering the rod by using their entire arm and shoulder to make the cast. Although this may seem to be useful when distance casting, it is unnecessary when making a normal cast. If one utilizes their forearm properly they will actually increase their cast. To readily correct this problem, take a pillow and hold it against the side of your body with your elbow and continue casting. If the pillow falls, than your ‘chicken winging.’ When you are able to keep the pillow in place, and are only using your forearm, you are doing it correct.
Good Luck, and watch for those wings.