I am just back from a family wedding in Bath. We don’t have a relative within a hundred miles of the place so why Bath was chosen was a bit of a mystery. However the mystery was cleared up as soon as I went to the toilet, a Dyson Airblade hand drier. Apparently the bride and groom loved ye olde barn but the Airblade’s in the toilets was the clincher. It’s a shame the things work so well, one in and out and you’re dry but watching the ripple of flesh as your hand moves through the airblade is quite fascinating so you have to do it several times. They should make one big enough to get your head in after a session of Dad dancing and a few pints though.
We had a day wandering around Bath on Saturday and got caught up in the craze to photograph as many lions as we could, I think we found nearly thirty in the end. Is Bath the hen night capitol of europe? There was an endless procession of scantily clad females looking for a good time, not that I am complaining, except for the fact they all seemed to end up under our hotel window at three in the morning.
Apropos nothing in particular, but something that exposes itself at family gatherings is the fact that none of my family fish, let alone fly fish, and they really don’t know what to make of me and my interest in fly casting, especially the fly casting in a field bit. I am treated like some crack pot uncle by all of my nephews and nieces, my sisters are slighty bemused and my own sons take the piss. Family get together’s can be a bit of a trial. ‘Don’t get him talking about fly casting’ with raised eyebrows!! Do you know how frustrating it is to have a talent no one in the family appreciates? Anyway, it’s at least another eighteen months before I am treated like the village idiot…again. Mind you I wasn’t silly enough to allow my eighteen stone brother to leap into my arms…..was I Craig. How’s the knee?
I had to call into Sportfish on the way home, I couldn’t pass within a couple of miles of Tomo and not pop in to congratulate him on winning a silver medal at the recent world championships in Norway. I was seriously envious that I wasn’t able to go to Norway this year but I am determined to be at the next one. I just happened to mention I was sort of looking for a six weight and the next thing I know is I am driving away with a(nother) new rod in the boot of the car! Stupid place to mention you might be in the market for a rod.
Ok, I must learn to stop shooting from the lip, or finger tip in this case. Aforementioned non entity may deserve an apology, or not, the jury seems to be out. Never the less he has a right to express his opinion no matter how off the wall it may appear at first glance. And, I admit it was only a glance. I think it was by about paragraph three I was apoplectic and unable to continue.
There are one or two other papers out there that are highly respected but they would leave me raving after five minutes as well so I steer well clear.
I can’t even read articles on the biometrics of casting without feeling totally inadequate.
Now to something completely different.
It has occurred to me that there is a lot of huffing and puffing going on during distance casting. Most of it totally unnecessary. The only explosive bit is the final delivery, the rest of it is just a bit of gentle line carrying while you set up for said explosive delivery. If you really try you can carry eighty feet of long belly line or DT easily. Of course ‘really try’ and ‘easily’ are an apparent contradiction in terms. But you really do have to try harder to use less effort. It’s the brain telling you ohh, this is hard, give it some welly. Trust me, it’s easy, even I can do it. Back off the power, just do enough. Practice pick up and laydowns. On grass you should be able to pick up seventy feet, with a great back cast loop, easily. Don’t hit the power too early, lift, lift, lift, flick/haul.
Has it ever occurred to you that you seem to use more effort for the back cast than the forward cast (when false casting), have you ever wondered why? Ok, you might be casting with the wind from behind and you think you need to power out the backcast. More power means more effort, means the rod is harder to stop means you may throw the rod back a bit further means a more open loop means more line for the wind to act on means poor backcast means brain says ‘must try harder’. Do the opposite; less effort, harder stop, tight loop, less wind resistance, better turn over, even into a brisk breeze. However you do need to be realistic and once you have found your comfortable carry in the conditions you are casting in don’t be tempted to keep extending line. Concentrate on getting a really clean turnover. Once you see a good loop turning over nicely then that’s the time to prepare for some huffing and puffing.
I hope it’s not just me but I am just a bit fed up with reading a mish mash of pseudo bollox about the theory of fly casting. Not the real stuff, the stuff that has been clearly thought out, not even the technical stuff with formula and equations. I mean the God awful half arsed and earnestly believed crap from some nonentity who wants to make a name for himself but has grasped the wrong end of the stick. To make it worse they try to impose their own tekky words that have no meaning to the rest of us. I tried to read one such piece of unmitigated garbage this morning, I stopped before I went to find a hammer to smash the computer with. The thing I really object to is that someone trying to understand the theoretical stuff may come across this crap and actually believe it and spend the next who knows how long trying to work his fly casting around a crap theory and, even worse, perpetuate said theory in the process.
Now, I love a good theory, I even have a few of my own. Some of my most useful eureka moments have come from reading someones theory. I have come across one in the last couple of day’s that may, or may not, transform my shooting head casting. We will see. Casting is not a ‘one size fit’s all’ sport. I am 6’2” and nearly 14st, what works for me won’t necessarily work for someone 5’9” and 10st. We have to achieve the same thing to make our cast work but we will do it differently. Very differently. I may stand with an open stance, use a V grip, elbow out, have a long stroke, use hardly any wrist and use a lot of drift. You may use a closed stance, classic thumb on top grip, short, Arden flip flop stroke, elbow in, never watch your back cast, and hardly ever drift. I may cast with a near vertical rod, yours may be canted over. It doesn’t matter(unless you are going for pure distance [I have a theory about that]) We have both had to encompass the five essentials to get the cast to work. Apply the power properly to create a straight line tip path ensuring there is no slack in the line and you have used the correct casting angle for the weight of line you have aerialised. Now pause while it straightens and start again. Simples.
Theories are usually based around what the rod does in such and such a nano second. Actually, the rod does nothing without someone making it do it so, in my opinion, talk to the caster, the rod ain’t listening.
I also have a nagging doubt that a lot of these half arsed theorists can’t actually cast, if they could they would realise their theories just don’t work or make sense. As in life, there are those who can and those who just talk. Deep respect to those that can do both. There are a few around and I am lucky enough to count some of them as friends.
You don’t actually need any theories to cast. In fact you are better off have no preconceived ideas at all. A good instructor will teach you the basics and then start to give you some nifty little tips learned through hard work and experience. If he starts to give you a lecture on the theory of fly casting (unless you have asked for it) go find a hammer.
I have been invited by GAIA to give a distance workshop at their meeting in November. I have a rough idea about my presentation (don’t worry guy’s, I will work on it) but it has set me thinking about why some can cast distance and some can’t. I have a friend who is convinced it’s because I am tall, another because I am quite strong. I think that’s rubbish, but then I would wouldn’t I. I don’t believe it has anything, or very little, to do with strength, or size, for that matter. I know a few excellent distance casters who are not big. I know a skinny fifteen year old who sometimes casts further than me. I admit I only know one woman who I would rate as a distance caster, why there aren’t a few more I don’t know. It’s probably that women are less susceptible to allowing themselves to get obsessed by casting in the same way that a man might do, or did do, in my case. Ah, perhaps that’s the reason, I got obsessed, the rest of you are just mildly interested. One very simple reason may be that I just have to walk to the bottom of my garden and I have a damn great cricket field to cast in, whereas you may have to get in you car to find somewhere to cast and then suffer those stupid comments about there not being any fish out there mate, which I rarely have to, although I do get the odd drunk stagger over from the pavilion and ask what the f*** are you doing?
Anyway, this is not working out why I can cast 120 pretty much whenever I want and you can’t (not you, I know you can) . Yes, I have spent the last ten years working on my technique. Yes, I have picked some of the best distance brains in the world. Yes, I have had the good fortune to have met and cast with some really good casters and, yes, I have some great friends who have given me a lot of their time. All of that is great but at the end of the day the rod is in my hand and it’s me that has to make the cast and I really struggle to understand why everyone else can’t do what I do.
One thing I am not burdened with is the belief that if only I had such and such a rod, or line, I would be able to cast so much further. I lost that particular myth years ago, thank goodness. So long as there is that particular doubt in your mind then you will keep making misplaced excuses. As the old saying goes ‘it’s a bad tradesman who blames his tools’. Most of you have the best tools out there anyway. At the recent BFCC meeting at Wrexham I was looking through a veritable forest of rods, a lot of them Angel2TE red.
So, here we are five hundred words later and I am still none the wiser, and neither are you I bet.