Successful Fly Fishing Techniques with Tom White

Tom White and his wife, Robin, are FFF-certified casting instructors who have taught more than 14,000 students. In these two videotapes they seek to reach thousands more.

Review by Steve Raymond

Part 1: Beginner to Intermediate Casting Techniques; Part 2: Advanced Casting Techniques with the Double Haul
Videotapes by Superior Home Video, 22159 N. Pepper Road, Suite 9, Barrington, IL 60020; 50 minutes each; $14.95 each

Tom White and his wife, Robin, are FFF-certified casting instructors who have taught more than 14,000 students. In these two videotapes they seek to reach thousands more.

Tom is the main on-camera presence. He takes viewers through all aspects of casting, from the right way to string up a rod to advanced double-haul techniques. Laid-back and slow-talking, he has a good bedside manner for a casting instructor. Unfortunately, his presentation is compromised by the quality of these productions, which show all the telltale signs of a low-budget operation.

Apparently, only a single camera was used, so the presentation consists of a single, static point of view. The recording technique was equally simple, without even the use of slow motion or stop action to help show how a casting loop is formed. Many casting sequences were taped against a non-contrasting backdrop, so the fly line gets lost in the background clutter. Other sequences, shot over dark contrasting water, are better.

White's oral instructions appear extemporaneous, given without the aid of a prepared script. As a result, he sometimes mistakenly says one thing when he means another, as when he uses the word "line" instead of "leader" at a critical juncture in explaining how to tie a knot. Even such a small mistake could be enough to confuse somebody who's trying to figure out this stuff for the first time. A prepared script and tighter editing surely would have improved the quality of these tapes - and made them shorter in the process.

Despite all that, if you're patient, persevering and play close attention, these tapes will teach you how to cast. Their price tag also may make them more attractive than some of the more elaborate but also more expensive casting videos on the market.