The Price of Poor Casting


A guest post by Mr. Chris Santella:

Barring any miraculous interventions Dame Maggie Smith might have up her billowing sleeves, Matthew Crawley, the young heir of Downtown Abbey, is dead.

One could identify a number of plausible reasons to relish in Matthew’s demise:  his perfectly combed hair (even in the foxholes), his smirk that wavers between knowingness and idiocy, his decision to pursue the deflowered Mary when the late Sybil was so much nicer and better looking.

But anyone who happened to watch the Season 3 finale knows the real reason Matthew has left us: his fly cast.  After a promising shot of a fly box in the episode’s opening, we knew a fishing scene was coming.  As it was to be set in Scotland, we knew it would involve spey rods.  As it was 1922 (or somewhere thereabouts), we knew they’d be cane.

We just didn’t think that Matthew would slap the rod down on the water like he was engaged in a joyless bit of sadomasochism with a switch and Lady Mary.  Does he lack a proper casting stroke because of his more modest uprbringing?

Did his ghillie refuse to give him any instruction?

Were his arms worn out after wresting the salmon (that we see later in the scene, borne by said ghillie) from the stream?

It’s unclear.  But we at Angling Trade cannot help but conclude that Matthew was written out of the script precisely because of his limp, insipid casting stroke.  (It was all foretold with Matthew’s earlier bouts of impotence.)

Chris Santella can be found at:

Chris Santella
Principal, Steelhead Communications
[email protected]
Author of the “Fifty Places” Series from Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Founding member of
Hear Catch & Release at



  1. …regardless of Matthew’s rip status, this guy was all “wall street” and NO “wet wade”. He probably paid the Gillie (proper Scot spelling) to catch that fish (seeing as he was pissed coming back empty handed from the hunt in a thunderstorm) I was surprised he went into the water at all…and he probably never got Lady Mary off her back either, but that’s another story

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  4. Chris:
    I agree 100%. The entertainment industry does a horrible job when it comes to fly fsihing and this sets standards even lower. As a Scot this explains why we hold the English aristocracy in such low esteem.

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