I was just about to post this on the Sexyloops board and thought better of it. I decided here might be a less contentious place for it.
So, here we are chatting away and learning all sorts of stuff about fly casting. All interesting stuff. Some of it way over my head and some I just about get my head around.
And then it occurs to me that just how much of this information is actually of any practical use. Can I use it when I instruct? No, not really. The last thing you want to do with a beginner is fill their head with jargon. It’s even too much for most intermediates.
I have struggled enough in the past trying and get the concept of SLP or a loop over to a student to know that I really shouldn’t be doing it. Explain rod acceleration. Even the experts struggle with that one. Exactly what is constant acceleration? Something that accelerates constantly? Define constant. Is it the same or is it continuous? There you have it, if I don’t understand it how am I supposed to convey the concept to a student in a simple way. It’s just somewhere you don’t want to go. SLP is another concept that people just don’t get, mainly because it is multi- dimensional.
My friend Mark Surtees has a theory that we should teach non fault casting to beginners. That’s to say we don’t immediately start with a roll cast or pick up and lay down because almost the first thing we have to so in that situation is start correcting them. Marks ideal is to get them doing things that are easily achievable, like wafting the line around while keeping it in tension via the rod tip. We can point out things like, seeing how much easier it is if we don’t use our wrist too much so that we can get them to focus on using their whole arm instead of just their wrist. The theory is to keep telling them ‘great, well done’ rather than ‘no, not like that’.
I would like to see that theory gradually turned into practice, it’s a great concept. A bit idealistic maybe, but I, for one, will be trying my best to work out a way of making it work.
All hobbies and sports have their own language which any of us that take part have to learn. What we tend to forget is the amount of time it took us to learn it and all the mis-understandings that took place while we were learning it. Now we understand it we speak it all the time, even to people who don’t understand the language. Now, when a foreigner comes up and asks you a question in very poor English and it becomes obvious he doesn’t understand your reply what do you do? Say it louder in the hope he will understand it better or revert to sign language and slower speech trying to keep it simple. Do you want them to walk away confused or with the smile of understanding on their face.
Mike Heritage suspects this will not be a very long post, but then he would, he hasn’t worked out where this is going yet.
I (that’s me, first person) have had very few occasions in my life where I have had to write about me to inform someone who I am, what I do, how bloody brilliant I am and what a superb asset I will be to your organisation. Frankly, I find the whole process extremely embarrassing and cringe worthy. When I passed my CCI I wanted to advertise my services on Sexyloops. I sat looking at a blank screen for an hour before I filled it with a request that Paul write it for me (which, thankfully, he did). The first post on this blog was another attempt and I would like to re write it, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
Mike admits he is a bit of a wimp and knows bugger all about self promotion. He believes action speaks louder than words and you would have to be blind not to have noticed his many virtues (being overly modest may not be one of them though)
See? There’s him, cocksure and full of shite and there is me, who isn’t. I have doubts, he doesn’t. I have scruples, I am not sure he has.
Mike say’s that’s bollox, if you’ve got it flaunt it.
What’s brought this on?
Mike has just had to write a brief piece about himself to introduce himself to head a possible article (which no-one will read) that may or may not get published, and won’t admit he quite enjoyed it.
Shh, you idiot I will have to re-write the first post.
Fear not, Mike say’s he will do it for you.
I often complain that I don’t understand why anyone would take up fly fishing and not bother to learn to fly cast properly. While out in the garden today, sowing more veg seeds, it occurred to me that I am a bit of a hypocrite. I learned to fly cast and don’t really bother to use it to go fishing, well not as often as I should anyway. Why not? several reasons I guess. The type of fishing in my area just doesn’t excite me any more, at least to the extent that I want to go every week, been there, done that and had a sickenly full freezer to prove it. Catch and release has a bigger following now than it did when I started in the seventies, in fact, as far as game fish were concerned it didn’t exist at all, we were expected to kill every trout we caught. I understand that you can now buy a C&R ticket at Bewl, great, about time. I have never understood why C&R has been such an issue on the bigger waters or even why the smaller waters limit it to four fish or whatever they have decided. My friend Mike Barrio, who runs Haddo Fishery near Aberdeen, does not have a limit on C&R. If you look at his returns twenty or more fish a day is common and the vast majority are returned. Are his fish sick? No, are they hook shy? No more than any other trout. Are there dead fish floating around? No, I have never seen one. He only has two problems, and he is glad to have both of them, Otters and Osprey and good luck to both of them because these trout don’t give up without a bloody good fight so they earn their meal the hard way, the same as the anglers. Mike insists you treat the fish with respect and if, like I unfortunately did with a big fish, you make a bit of a hash of it, you can expect a mild bollocking and I have no doubt that if you made a habit of mishandling fish you would get thrown off the water, quite right. Mike stocks fish from six inches to several pounds and your days catch will reflect that, a six-inch blue or a double figure brown or rainbow and all sizes in between. Come south Mike.
I do have one fishery quite near me that has that sort of potential but, there has to be a but doesn’t there, you can only officially C&R if you are a member, day tickets are supposed to kill! Why?
Oh Yeah, great decision to tell everyone I will go for my FFF MCI, not.
I have just got back from the annual Sexyloops gathering in Scotland. There were two MCI candidates so we had two Board of Goveners ( BOGs) there to oversee the tests, Denise Maxwell, CBOG, THCI and editor of the FFF quarterly magazine ‘The Loop’ and William van der Vorst, MCI and BOG. I know both candidates and thought both were certain to pass. Guess what? one failed! That has put me in a bit of a funk ‘cos if he failed then I have absolutely no chance of passing this side of Hell freezing over. This is not a get out of it statement; it’s a fact, so don’t go posting comments about how I would walk it, because as sure as bears shit in woods I wouldn’t. Fact.
Has this put me off? No. It’s actually shown me that to be an MCI you have to earn it the hard way and if I want to take it next year I will have to get down to some serious brain work because it’s not my casting that will let me down, I hope. You can look forward to some seriously stupid questions on Sexyloops over the next twelve months or so.
Denise and William were great. Once the testing was over they joined in with the rest of us and gave demo’s and joined in the shootouts, answered most questions (Denise!) and, I hope, thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as did the rest of us.
Numbers were down this year. A combination of recession, volcanic ash and clashing dates kept a lot of people away but never-the-less the stuff we learned was just amazing.
I don’t know why, I have been doing this long enough to know better, but I am always amazed at how friendly fly fishes are and at how freely information is exchanged. I look forward to the day I have something worth freely exchanging.
The Gathering clashed with an invitation from Sportfish for the BFCC to attend their open day, which was a shame because, by all accounts, it turned into a fantastic couple of days. Never mind, I will be at our own day there in a few weeks time but before that we have a meeting coming up at Wrexham in June. Have a look at www.thebfcc.co.uk and check out the calendar for the dates. If any of you are planning to come to Wrexham you need to let Mike Marshall know asap because it is being restricted to twenty and places are filling.
I am under some subtly employed pressure to have a go at my FFF Masters. I am still slightly ambivalent, if that’s possible. I enjoyed the process of preparing for my CCI but the masters is several times more intense and moves into areas I am not comfortable with. I became an instructor to teach fly casting, nothing else. A bit myopic I guess but that’s my comfort zone.
Another thing is that I know several Masters. Would I put myself in their class? No, I wouldn’t, and there’s the rub. When do you know you are a Master? When you pass the test? Nah, I think there’s a bit more to it than that.
However, I am quite good at making excuses for not doing something so perhaps I should just bite the bullet and get on with it. I will probably have a choice of three places to take the test, Germany, Hungary or Scotland. unfortunately (not) I have missed the boat for this year as they have either happened or they are just coming up and I am most certainly not ready, by a mile, to just turn up and chance my arm.
Bugger, have I just made a decision? Hmm, we’ll see. Watch this space