Still snowing. I tried to get to work this morning but it was a no go. Can someone tell me why they turn close thirty or forty miles of motorway and use it as lorry park forcing the rest of us to us an old A road that usually gets blocked at the first sign of snow?
Casts and mends, lets take a closer look. Most presentation casts, you know, those fancy curves, wiggles and humps we put in for various fishing situations, are usually a combination of moves made during the stroke and after loop formation, well, some are. Then along comes a definition that states that an aerial mend is made after loop formation and a cast is made during the stroke. Ok, that was nice to know, thanks for telling me. The problem then arose that there had to be a way of finding out if a potential instructor knew the difference between a cast and a mend. We are now in a bizarre situation where we have to perform a cast, where we would normally have used a combination of cast and mend, using one or the other, but not both. If, for instance, I want to perform a curve cast and twitch the rod inadvertently after the loop has formed it suddenly (and involuntarily) becomes a mend, and I would fail the task. If all they want is to know is do you know the technical difference between a cast and an aerial mend why don’t they just ask instead of asking you to perform a presentation in an unnatural way. I would quite enjoy the challenge if an assessor said ‘there is a obsticle, how would you avoid it’ and then demonstrate half a dozen different casts (or mends) rather than ‘make a curve cast around that obstacle’. The problem also arises that some perform certain presentations using one or the other and define a cast as a mend whereas I might do it the other way and define the cast as a cast. Both presentations end up with the same layout, we just did it differently. This is not a winge by the way, I actually enjoy learning different ways to perform casts. In fact, showing different methods to perform the same task would, to my mind, show an assessor that this guy really knows his stuff.
Personally I think it’s a bit short-sighted to be told there is only the prescribed way to perform anything to do with fly casting, whether it is stance, grip or movement. We are all built differently and have our own way of doing things. On top of that the angler who mainly fishes rivers might have a totally different outlook compared to one who fishes reservoirs or the salt. We don’t want to create clones when we teach, neither do we want to go back to the ‘good old days’ when we had to stand right foot forward, keep our elbows in and cast from 10 till 2. What’s that to do with anything, I hear you ask. My view is that by defining everything we risk going back to those ‘good old days’ because we have to cast within those definitions to be seen as correct. It’s the old substance versus style argument. Substance is the thing you have to do to perform something, for fly casting this boils down to the Five Essentials, or the six, or seven, depending on who’s model you choose to use. Style is the way you, personally, choose to perform those essential elements. It’s the one part of fly casting that is your’s to do as you like with. I can’t say what my style is. Over the years I have taken a bit of this and a bit of that, blended it with dash of something, given it a swirl in a blender and hey presto. I am what I am and tomorrow I might be something else.