While I am on the subject of rods lets talk about what they can and cannot do, well, what they can’t do anyway. Theycan’t make you a better caster than you already are. That’s a fact, an absolute fact, written in stone.
But, many of you don’t believe me do you? I recently had a discussion with a pupil, well, he discussed, I listened, because it very soon became clear to me that no matter what I said he didn’t hear it, he was so certain that if he upgraded the rod he was using to the new super dooper model that had just hit the shelves he would add yards to his distance. He then started on about up lining it by one weight so that he could load the rod better, yadda, yadda yadda. He was totally deaf to the idea that he personally was at fault for not being a better caster, probably because I was trying to be a bit diplomatic. What could I do? Well, if I hadn’t been in one of my more mellow moods I might have been a bit more forceful about what a crap caster he was and that twenty percent of the money he was about to spend (waste) would be better spent by giving it to me in exchange for a few lessons, but no, so I just nodded and found an excuse to go somewhere else as soon as possible. I later saw him giving another instructor the benefits of his wisdom.
Now, I am not ignorant of the fact that there is always a doubt in a beginner or even intermediate casters mind that he has reached the limits of the rod he is using. I have been there, done that, and got a cupboard full of five weight rods to prove it. The fact is I could take each and every one of them out into the field and cast them further now than I did when I decided I had reached their limits and needed an upgrade.
OK, I can’t deny that some rods are better suited to distance than others, but, how many of you are interested in pure distance? Not many, you just want to use the equipment more efficiently with the added bonus of gaining a few feet.
One of the things that the shootouts with Paul Arden show is that you will cast within a few percent of your casting ability with each and every rod of a particular weight no matter if it’s the dogs bollocks or just a plain dog.
Only buy a new rod for a specific purpose, just make sure it’s not for more distance, it will only end up in tears.
So, you want a new rod, what do you look for? Me? Value for money comes pretty close to the top of my list, in fact I baulk at spending more than £300, no that’s not true, I really hate spending more that a couple of hundred these days. I just don’t see the point. There are lots low end rods out there that are more than capable of holding their own against their more expensive cousins. I have been sent one on approval to try, it is just a tad under £100 and I am so impressed with it I will be sending the money off tomorrow. They are even honest enough to have a ‘made in Korea’ sticker on it. I like that. The hue and cry of a couple of years ago about oriental blanks being rubbish just doesn’t cut it any more. Ok, the rod I am going to buy may be a tiny bit softer that I would ideally like if I was going to push it for pure distance but I am buying it to fish with and use for instructing and I think it is perfect for that, added to that I am quite impressed with the build quality. I am not going to name names, yet, I will give the rod a fair crack first, but if it is as good as I hope then I will give a review.
I did buy a discounted mid priced rod at the Game Fair. I think it is near the end of that ranges life, that’s why I got it cheap but I did try several rods first and liked it best. Funnily enough I tried this rod a few years ago when they first came out and hated it, now I like it! Life’s like that.
I do own some top end rods. Like all thoroughbreds they are fragile things, I have broken them regularly over the last few years, however, they are primarily distance rods so take a fair old hammering whenever I feel the need for speed. One in particular I own because in the not too distant past it was the benchmark rod for us distance freaks. All the names used this rod so if you wanted to find out how you ranked up there with the big boys you had to have one.
When I see a nine foot five weight priced at six hundred pounds, or more, I just can’t help wondering why is it that I could go out and buy a top end computer, or a washing machine, or a television for the same money. Look at the thousands of bits that have to be manufactured and assembled to produce one of those and then look at a nine foot graphite stick with a few bits and bobs glued and whipped on, it just doesn’t add up does it?
Normal service is resumed, I have just got back from a couple of day’s at the CLA Game Fair where I met a lot of the friends I have made through my involvement in fly casting. We talked casting bollocks, rod bollocks, line bollocks and other sorts of bollocks, just the sort of thing I needed to get back in the groove. The only person I missed talking bollocks with was Gilly, we somehow missed each other, damn.
I cast in the Trout Distance and made the final but did not get placed, nor deserved to, but it was nice to have the buzz of casting in front of big audience again.
I also cast in the Salt Water comp. This comp is such a disappointment. It has to rate as the premier event of it’s type in the country, or at least it should, but once again it was ruined by the stupid placement of a rail seven or eight feet behind the caster. Apparently it is for health and safety!!. Let me set the picture. We stand as close to the edge of the pontoon as possible, one slip from a dunking in some murky old water. I saw no lifebuoys to use in such an (quite possible) eventuality but we do have a hand rail all along the back of the pontoon who’s only function is to ricochet backcasts from and hang advertising from. Nearly every caster has to modify their style to make sure the line doesn’t keep smacking the rail on the forward stroke. This is not distance casting, it’s more like a devilish element in a Danish casting comp. This becomes even more exacerbated in the Salt Water comp where heavier lines are used and, depending on the line and/or the casting style you use, the line can, sometime, come through at knee height. Imagine the frustration of hearing that smack on your delivery stroke and then watching the line crumple and land in a heap. To make it even worse they used rope this year, the leader often bit into it and killed the cast stone dead. Someone did make the effort the cut the rope Friday night but the silly bugger only cut it once instead of into several pieces so the organisers only had to knot it back together.
The real shame is that there is no-one to complain to, the poor volunteers who run the event can’t make the decision to remove the rail but they have to stand and listen to a group of pretty disgruntled casters for two days.
I just wish someone would listen, we have moaned about this for three years now. An event like this is rare in the UK. It could be so much better.
Well, the Queen had one and now fate has decided it’s my turn. This year is just turning into a huge pile of cack and the sooner we start a new one the better I will feel about it.
Nothing catastrophic, just the steady drip, drip drip of things either not going quite to plan or plain stupidity on my part, The stupid things usually cost money, the plans not falling into place just add to the general feeling that someone is out to get me. I was supposed to be on a freebie fishing in Hampshire today, but, like every other trip down there that I have planned this year ( at least six) something has come up to prevent it. I was even invited to Spain for some casting and fishing, most years that wouldn’t have been a problem, this year, no chance. I doubt I will even get my annual trip to Hungary. Hell, I may not even bother casting at the CLA, I certainly haven’t done any practice for it what with one thing and another.
The stupid things are financially painful and extremely embarrassing personally. Things like getting a parking ticket and then filling my nearly empty diesel car with four star petrel on the same day cost me the thick end of one thousand pounds. That, coupled with a boiler that packed up plus one or two other things, meant that June proved a very costly month, hense no Spain or Hungary.
There have been, and will be, some good things about this year, Scotland, my Nieces recent wedding, the successful foray into the public arena for the BFCC, even starting this blog.
I just wish the annoying little niggles that have seen fit to descend on me this year would bugger off and annoy someone else.
Sorry about the mildly depressing nature of the post but they say a trouble shared is a trouble halved so if the last five months of the year are only half as irritating as the first seven have been then it will have been worth it.
Normal service is now resumed.
Now then, what to do? This left hand casting business is useful, but not from a practical fishing point of view, (of course it would be if I decide to carry on learning it) but, it is turning into something quite useful as a teaching aid. Twice in the last couple of weeks I have switched hands while teaching and asked the student to tell me what I am doing wrong and guess what, they can tell me exactly what I am doing wrong. It’s a bit galling that it’s exactly what I have been telling them for the last hour! the difference is they can now see what I see.
The problem is that by educating my left hand I may (probably will) lose the ability to demonstrate what an awful backcast looks like. Because I really do want to cast properly with my left hand, double haul and all, I may have to then go and take a lesson in how to cast badly so that I can demo it to students.
I have a lesson, from someone I respect, most years and this year I have decided that Charles Jardine has drawn the short straw. Can you imagine the scene, I pull up at chez Jardine, we shake hands and he asks me what do I want to work on and I ask him to teach me half a dozen ways to throw a crap backcast. I have seen Charles cast several times so I know he can do it, but, I bet he had to learn how because once you have learned how to throw a proper backcast it becomes bloody difficult to deliberately throw a bad one on demand. The one I really want to perfect is the one that looks ok ish to start with but then runs out of steam, opens up and blows back to the caster. That’s a classic.
Can anyone tell me why hardly anyone watches their backcast asdasdasedwedrfsdfsdfgsdfrgtswdefrswdeaqswdefrzx? (sorry just finished eating a melon and the keys needed a wipe). I really don’t understand it. They are so fixated on the forward cast they totally ignore what is going on behind them. It’s one of life’s mysteries.