Now, I don’t think I’m a bad caster. Modesty aside, I am actually quite a good caster, so it’s a bit of a blow to the ego (not that I have much of one) to feel very agricultural when casting beside someone like Lasse Karlsson or Stefan Siikavaara . I caught up with them at the FFF Euro-Conclave in Kolding, Denmark, last weekend. I haven’t seen either of them for a couple of years and it was really nice to catch up, however briefly. MCI’s were a bit thin on the ground and all their time was taken up with testing and workshops so they were both in demand for pretty much the whole weekend. However we did get a few minutes casting together at one of the casting pools at the fly fishing show. I saw some rods beside the pool and grabbed one for a waggle. I asked if there was a 9′ five weight there (there was) so I strung it up and gave it a blast. Lasse had a go and suggested we should try to carry the whole line, so we tried. Stefan had a go, I had a go and Lasse had a go (Lasse got closest). I then heard remarks that this was totally inappropriate and why would anyone want to do this with a five weight?? Who from? The guy running the pool for Hardy who’s rods I had hijacked. I told him it’s what we do but I could see he wasn’t impressed so we wound down and gave him his rods back. Mind you if I was Hardy and I had just had my new rod thrashed by some good distance casters, and got it back in its original four pieces, I would be quite chuffed. The rod was the new Sintrex (sp) with nano technology. It was a nice rod, probably great as a fishing rod, it wasn’t a distance stick though. I will have to have a word with Howard Croxon to see if they plan to make one to the same spec as the original Angel TE. I’d buy it. I had a chat with the Hardy guy and had a mini lecture in nano technology. Did you know that one of these nano fibres is soooo small ( actually, small is a pretty inadequate word) that if you had one on your hand it would pass through it? I have a job getting my head around that.
Back to the ‘clave. I had pre booked three workshops to attend. The first one was on Friday and was given by Andrew Stiles ‘casting drills that thrill’. Drew is from one of the southern states and had the laid back drawl and typical American enthusiasm that had us casting at imaginary fish and rat traps as if our lives depended on it. He gave us each a little pack of goodies and we also had a draw for a pair of Habervision sunglasses. Mark Surtees came out first but put them back because he uses prescription glasses. I came out next, and don’t. Result. These are really cool shades man, and, you can get them in bifocals so those of us that need glasses for tying on flies don’t have to keep fiddling around trying to find them, they are already on the end of your nose. I reckon, my next christmas present is sorted. I had an added bonus that Drew gave me the plastic cones he used during the workshop. What a nice man.
Next up was Raffaele Mascaro and single-handed spey casting. Bloody fantastic. Mark and I learned a whole lot about roll casting we didn’t know before.
The icing on the cake, for me, was the MCI workshop taken by Dan McCrimmon. The stuff I learned there was invaluable and I hope I can remember half of it when I take my test. Dan has a very easy style but always gets his point across. One lesson I learned was to keep my mouth shut. I was the only English MCI candidate in the room and the workshop was conducted in English. Once or twice, when I thought one of the others was struggling with the language I, sort of, tried to help out and Dan politely told me to shut up. Just before we went out to do some casting he told us out first task was to pick up 55′ and shoot to 75′. I do this stuff on a regular basis while practicing but I wasn’t sure any of the others did so on the way to the field I asked Dan not to put me up first. Of course he put me up first. Lesson No 2, keep your head down. I learned a shed load of stuff. Thanks Dan.
My only gripe was the show and the conclave were in different venues and I could see that it made organisation a bit problematical and we missed a lot of the show. Hey, I finally got to meet Viking Lars, Jan Man and Bernd Ziesche. I intend to make it my business to spend some time with Bernd next time we are in the same place at the same time. Bernd rocks.
I have missed out a lot of people I met but there were so many. Congratulations to those who passed their tests and comiserations to those who didn’t, this time. Special mention to Chris Price who came over and nailed his MCI and was immediately called on to assist CCI testing. Respect.
See you all in Munich