Ah well, there you go. Big disappointment, I’m so disappointed I just may have to go fishing again to get over it. God, I hate wind. I have fished in all weathers and made the best of it but wind just does my head in. I don’t mean a gentle breeze I mean a force five or six straight in your face that creates the sort of waves you would be better taking up surfing in. The sort of wind that creates waves that try to knock you over. The sort of wind that finds every little chink in your armour, and whistles through it with glee. And to make it worse it was (apparently) a classic, ‘you should have been here yesterday, they were queueing up to take anything you threw at them, there was hardly a ripple’, etc, etc. Yeah, yeah, now fuck off while I try and get this bloody line out more than twenty feet!. To cap it off Hanningfield is so low that you have to walk though a hundred feet of mud to get anywhere near the water in the first place.
Then , as you fish your way along the bank you have to navigate bait anglers intently watching their quiver tip or other anglers tossing toby’s as far as they can!!. I tell you, Britain is going to Hell in a bucket, what is the world coming to? I couldn’t even legitimately sneer at them, they were catching fish, I wasn’t.
I even resorted to putting a lure on ( Sweeny Todd), I can’t remember the last time I did that. My final flourish was to launch the Woolly Bugger and I have never done that before either.
On the plus side, Paul turned up (late, what’s new?) along with Steve (congratulations on passing your AAPGAI Provisional), Daniel (long time no see, great to catch up) and Trev (who has promised to show me how to catch huge Bass from the salt next year, obviously a top bloke).
It then went back down hill again when we tried to buy a takeaway coffee in the cafe and was told we couldn’t. If we wanted coffee in a styrene cup we would have to go to a vending machine… two miles away!
Hanningfield owes me a shed load of fish and I mean to get them. Pass me the maggots.
Well, I feel like writing something… I just don’t know what.
I am having a chill out day, well deserved after a hard week at work and an even harder weekend before that and as I look out of the window I don’t think I could have picked a better day to have one, it’s blowing a hooey and pissing down, typical autumn weather. I could have been casting at Paul’s this weekend and been out in it, so it looks like a wise decision not to go. I am, however, going up to Hanningfield tomorrow to fish with Paul and anyone else who decides to come along. I’m looking forward to that because it is probably the last time I will fish this year. Next year will be something new for me. I intend to fly fish the salt. I have never done it before and I am hoping it reawaken the excitement and enthusiasm for fishing regularly. Of course that will mean buying a few bits and bobs of new tackle, not rods though, I have enough of them to open a shop. I will need a reel that can stand up to salt water so if any of you can recommend a cheap(ish) reel that can handle salt, sand and a bit of a battering ,please let me know. I don’t want a work of art, I want functional.
It was the last BFCC meeting of the year last weekend and I was lucky enough to win a couple of events, which makes a pleasant change, check out the news and results section at www.thebfcc.co.uk . I have actually been doing some serious distance practice over the last couple of months and it seems to be paying off. I even hit a new PB of 138’6” a couple of weeks ago, with a five weight. I had thought those days were behind me as I haven’t cast over 130 for at least a couple of years, not with a five weight anyway. It’s nice to know I can still do it if I want to.
I used to practice several times a week for two or three hours at a time and come in thoroughly knackered. It took a couple of years before it finally dawned on me that I was often throwing my best distances as I got more tired, ie, putting less effort in and concentrating on technique. Now I try to concentrate on making little adjustments here and there and I rarely cast for more than an hour at a time these days, not distance anyway. When I look back I sometimes wonder how I got away with so few injuries. I sometimes had to stop casting for two or three months while tennis elbow, a pulled shoulder muscle or a sore wrist cleared up. I found out the hard way that you should never start again too early after an injury or you are soon back to square one. I don’t get any of that these days, as soon as I feel a twinge I stop. I don’t heal as fast as I used to.
Ah well, I had better get on with sorting out my gear for tomorrow, who knows, I may even catch something.
Perhaps I am in a feisty mood today or maybe I am just feeling a bit cynical. I have had a couple of personal observations that have coincided with one or two conversations recently and I am now of the firm conviction that of the three main components of fly casting (line, rod and technique) the rod is the least important.
This is not how it appears though, is it? If you read all the hype (and are silly enough to believe it) then the super duper Ex D 200 ultra light weight, high modulus graphite, rolled on the thigh of a beautiful Cuban cigar maker will turn you from a moderate caster into a casting God. Yeah, right.
I cannot deny that some rods are much nicer to cast than others, but, what suits me may not suit you so you think my choice is a pile of cack, while I am certain your’s is just a waste of good carbon fibre and we try and convince each other of our rods merits. Rods and their actions consumes thousands of pages of magazines and forum debates. Some manufactures rods are so sought after that whenever they bring out a new model their devotees can’t get rid of the old models soon enough so that they can make room for the new model. Can someone explain this to me please.
Next into the equation are lines. Actually, a decent double taper will fit most river or lake conditions but line manufactures have given us some nice alternatives. But once again there is a lot of hype surrounding some of them. Some, we know, were developed specifically for good casters to maximize their distance. Some were developed to maximize the distance of some not so good casters. Fair enough. I think it’s fair to say that some lines suit some rods better than others, don’t ask me why, it just is. On that basis you are better off trying to find a line that casts well on your rod than you are trying to find a rod you can cast such and such line with. Cheaper too.
Last into the equation comes technique. The problem here, as I see it, is that it’s the one part you can’t buy. No, it takes a little effort to acquire, and there’s the rub. Human nature being what it is most look for a short cut. They are convinced that the answer lies in the equipment and not with them, or at least they hope it is, God forbid they should have to put a little effort in and actually practice flycasting.
It’s just occurred to me that I haven’t written anything useful recently. Well you never know, this might not be either.
Recently on Sexyloops there was a comment that the Five Essentials are really only four, ”The rod tip must track in a straight line” (we call this straight line path btw, or SLP for short) is the objective and all the other ones ( Pause, Power application, No slack and Variable casting angle) are the things that must be done properly to achieve it. I don’t see it like that at all. If you don’t get the rod tip tracking straight in the first place then getting the other’s right won’t save the day, they all have to combine.
SLP is a confusing concept because it is multi dimensional. We are not just talking about 180 deg back to front we are also talking about creating a horizontal straight line as well, which involves loading the rod appropriately for the amount of line you are casting. To add the confusion horizontal SLP is recognised as an ideal to strive for, in the hope you never quite achieve it, because if you did achieve it the line would just pile into the rod tip. In reality the tip path is always slightly domed and the difference between the top of the dome and rod straight position (RSP), where the line overtakes itself and forms the loop, plus a bit of rod rebound, ie, the bit where the rod tip goes beyond RSP and then comes back again, is the width that the loop will be. Confused? you should be sitting where I am!
So how do you work out this concept? I try and imagine I am trying to fire a loop down a 24” diameter tube 10′ long, suspended at casting height, without the line touching the sides. Now you can see that if the vertical tracking is out then the fly leg and rod leg won’t be parallel and the fly leg will rub the inside of the tube and if the horizontal SLP is not right you won’t create a loop tight enough to squeeze through the tube.
OK, I now accept that the Five Essentials do have an order and ”The rod tip must track in a straight line” should be number one on the list but I do not accept that the other four are subordinate to it.
Oh God, here we go again. I thought I had got distance out of my system, but no, here I am just in from a couple of hours of pure distance work, thats the third time this week. Casting conditions are just about perfect, very slight breeze, pressure dropping and still warm enough to be in shorts and T shirt. To make it interesting I now use three different five weights and lines and have a shootout between them. It has made me revise my opinion on the rods. For instance, I thought the Angel was the fastest of the three but when casting with a long line it bends right through to the butt, you can even feel the cork bending sometimes. The TCR never bends that far, I mean, you can put a very deep bend in it but not to the extent that you feel the cork bend. The Echo UD feels stiffer than both of the others, and heavier, in fact it feels a real brute, but I know it’s pretty well indestructible so I always put the DT on it because I have broken both of the others casting DT’s on them.
Now, which rod would you think cast the furthest consistently, the big beefy unbreakable Echo which can easily hold up 90′+ of DT. The more subtle but equally powerful TCR or the through action but fast frequency Angel 2TE?
Surprise, it’s the Angel. With all the rods I was casting mid to high 120′s but the Angel plonked me over 130, twice, one to equal to my old PB and another well over it.
Now, all I have to do is keep it working for a couple of weeks and the BFCC meeting on the 18th could become quite interesting.