It’s odd how something sticks in your brain and stays there when a lot of other stuff just goes in….and then goes straight back out again (see, I have a theme running). One of the things that stayed in was part of a demo I watched Hywel Morgan do at the BFFI show at Trentham a few years ago when he explained why it was necessary to open the stance the further you were trying to cast. It’s obvious when you think about it but it does sort of go against the grain of traditional (or old-fashioned) instructing where if you were right-handed you were told you should stand with your right foot slightly forward (closed stance). This is a good stance for close in work like some river fishing or short-range target practice. It has the benefit that if you bend the right knee a bit and you lean forward slightly it will automatically alter your casting plane from horizontal to a more high back cast low forward cast. If you stayed in the closed stance and tried to cast further you will start to find your arm movement becomes increasingly restricted, your elbow is locking up and it is difficult to take the forarm much past vertical. If you are a confirmed closed stance caster you now have a problem if you want to bang out a long one. Your shoulder. The way we are designed means that if you want to open up your stroke length your hand path will have to curve around it. Tracking gets screwed, you start to get swinging loops and you lose accuracy, plus, it can become uncomfortable. The simple answer is to open your stance, bring your right foot (for a right handed caster) slightly behind you, angle your body slightly clockwise and hey presto, you suddenly find you have a bit of room to manouvre your hand in a straight line rather than having it curve it. The further you want to cast the more open the stance. Look at it like switching from throwing a dart to throwing a javiline. Yes I know some distance casters use a closed stance. In fact most of them don’t. They have developed a stepping action that takes them from closed to open and back to closed for the delivery. I stopped doing it that way because I kept falling over!
The purpose of stance is to put your body into a position where it can most effectively make the cast you want to perform but I don’t see any reason to be dogmatic about it. Many times, while fishing, my stance is dictated more by the terrain than by the cast I want to make. It’s not very likely you are ever going to tell yourself you can’t cast at that fish because the boulders under you feet make it impossible to stand in the prescribed stance for the cast you want to make.
What is the difference between a demonstration a workshop or a presentation? I guess a demo has to be entertaining as well as informative. You may be engaging with people who don’t have a clue what fly fishing or casting is about or the audience may all be fly fishers (you hope there is an audience at least). I don’t suppose there is much scope for audience participation, or there is but you would have to be supremely confident to drag someone out of the audience and hope you can pull off whatever you intend using them for. A workshop also wants to be entertaining and informative but you will expect participation from those attending. It will be more focused on one aspect rather than the broader brush used in a demonstration. Presentations fall somewhere between the two and are usually shorter, probably focusing on a detail that the presenter is interested in. A presentation could also be used to hone an aspect of a demo or workshop you may be working on.
I have shied away from all three in the past. I have done one or two small-scale demonstrations and I suppose the help I have given to anyone wanting to be an instructor can be classed as workshops, but I haven’t had the nerve to do a decent presentation. It is always in the company of your peers and I baulked at the thought I could teach any of them anything they didn’t already know. That was my excuse anyway, it was probably more a fear of looking a complete idiot in front of your friends.
It’s all about to change. I have been asked to stand in at a two-day show that the regular (and well-known) presenter can’t attend this year. I am one of those people who find it hard to say no and often find myself doing something I don’t really want to be doing. The first reaction to being asked if I would do it was to say no, no, no. Thanks for asking and thinking I was good enough but No. There was several seconds of, you have too, no you don’t, yes you do, it will be great, no it won’t it will be a disaster, coward, chicken, you’re supposed to be a bloody master, where’s your balls? I don’t need this. Yes you do, do it……….. Yes, I’d love to do it, thank you so much. Eight demos over two days???? Fuck, what have I let myself in for?
Then, I suddenly had a bright idea for a presentation as well so I can happily step forward at the sexyloops gathering in May instead of standing at the back hoping no-one will notice me.
Anyone know any good casting jokes?