Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

The Shootout

I didn’t go to Hungary for the fishing, this time anyway, I went for the casting. Paul had hosted an FFF CCI testing day the previous Tuesday and all the candidates had passed, seven I seem to recall. An amazing strike rate by any standards. Paul only hosted, he did not test. Most of these new instructors, and a lot of others, turned up again at the weekend to take part in a shootout. There were a few demo’s, one of which was mine, then, because a few beginners turned up as well, we had an impromptu instructing session. Mark commented later that wasn’t it amazing how all the caster’s wanted to learn presentation casts. Really? I asked, all mine wanted to learn distance!. I guess that’s what I am best known for so I think Paul and I automatically got the distance freaks while Mark and some of the others got the ones that wanted some finesse. Either way, they were all mad keen to learn as much as they could drag out of us. I certainly learned a few things. I had a lesson in Austrian style casting, very elegant and needs some suptle hand movement to get to work properly, beautiful to watch a master at work. Mine was less than beautiful but I am going to work on it.

 We only used three rods for the shootout because there were twenty, or more, casters and at two minutes each it takes time to get through everyone when you take into account that none of the Hungarians or Croatians had done one before. I was grateful I had done some practice and was casting reasonably well, I even managed to beat Paul on one rod. It’s been a while since that’s happened. There was some pretty impressive casting. One thing did strike me though, all the best (distance) casters there watched their backcast.

 Sunday morning saw some real die-hard distance nuts in the field before I had even got up. When I eventually joined them I strung a tape out and we went into some serious distance work. Boy these guys’ are keen. Even with a language barrier they got it, worked on it and several put out new PB’s and were thoroughly chuffed, as was I. The next time I get into a shootout with any of them I had better be firing on all cylinders or my arse will get whipped.

 So that’s Hungary for you, full of mad fly casters and f****** mosquito’s…and Asp…and rose petal Palinka….beer….wine….unicum…and f****** mosquito’s. Can’t wait for the next time


August 28, 2009 Posted by | Distance casting, fly casting, Flycasting instruction | Leave a comment

Itchy and Scratchy

What a weekend. I am back from the first meeting of the Sexyloops Flycasting School in Hungary. What a blast, flycasting, instructing, demonstrating and getting eaten alive by f****** mosquito’s.

 Paul is now based down near the Croation border at Latohegy and has the mighty river Drava running  virtually at the end of his garden. All you need are the wood skills of an Iroquois and the sure footedness of a mountain goat, and the ability to withstand an all out attack by f******  man eating mosquito’s. Of course Paul, Peter and Mark dressed for the occasion, boots, long trousers, long sleeved shirt. I decided that this was manfishing so I was wearing shorts, sandals and short sleeved shirt as I negotiated the hill, woods, stinging nettles and brambles. The f****** mossies were held back in reserve for the main attack later.

 Now, I’m no expert on river’s but the Drava is not the Test. No crystal clear water with the odd rise showing through the trailing ranunculas, no, the mighty Drava is not something I would like to fall into. Dip a toe in the wrong place and you might find yourself getting sucked in and being washed up somewhere in Croatia. We saw evidence that it holds huge Asp, among other things. I say evidence, we never got proof, we were all fishless, but it was exciting, with a few near misses. So exciting in fact that I didn’t notice the first wave of f****** mosquito’s, they soon got my attention though. At one point I didn’t know where my legs started and the f****** mosquito’s began. I am surprised they left me enough blood to have the energy to walk out, fish less, as dusk set in.

 We fly fishers are hard though, we survived to tell the tale.

 More later.

August 27, 2009 Posted by | fly casting, Fly Fishing, Flycasting instruction | 1 Comment

Who am I? What am I?…Where am I?

I’m in a bit of a quandary. I need a bit more involvement with my fly casting certification organisation. I am an FFF certified casting instructor, all well and good. I like their ethos, I have a lot of friends who are FFF, there are online discussion groups and there are lots of resources on their web site. My problem is that, at the moment, they do not have a very big presence in the UK, and, to be honest, in the rest of Europe. They hold regular workshops and an annual conclave, but, they are all in America. I believe this will change as the FFF membership grows in Europe. The trouble is I am not getting any younger and by the time all this comes to pass I may well be in my dotage and ready to be put out to grass.

 As I see it I have three options; wait for the FFF to find it’s feet in Europe; join AAPGIA; work my way through the GAIA system.

 I am not political in any sense of the word but there are some background politics involved with both AAPGIA and GAIA. I don’t really know what they are, I don’t want to. All I want is to do is to be able to teach fly casting without being concerned that one or the other looks on me as being somehow less than they are because I am not a member of their organisation. It’s just ridiculous, it’s not rocket science, the world isn’t going to end tomorrow because I am one or the other, we teach fly casting for Gods sake, not brain surgery.

 I am slightly more inclined towards GAIA at the moment. From what I have seen they have made huge improvements in their certification process. I have seen a qauntum leap in their casting program, which, to be honest was a bit of a joke not so long ago and they appear, from where I stand, to be the ones on the move.

 I have a huge respect for most of the AAPGIA instructors I know and it wouldn’t do me any harm to work my way through their system either.

 Or, I could take my FFF Master’s and use that to help increase the FFF’s profile in Europe. I don’t mean that Mike Heritage becoming a Master would raise the FFF’s profile, I mean that being a Master would allow me to help with certification of CCI’s.

 I hate decisions, but I am going to have to make one soon.

August 15, 2009 Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage | , , | 13 Comments


Sorry, I can’t put a clip up, well, I can but I’m not going to. No, it’s not embarrassment. I am off to Hungary to visit Paul in a couple of weeks. I had thought that this was the weekend after the big opening of his Sexyloops fly casting school and me and Mark were going out there to chill for a couple of days. Apparently not, Paul is expecting several to stay on for a shootout, fly tying, Palinka drinking, wine tasting weekend, all to be washed down with Unicum.

 He has asked me to do a demo. I have only ever done general fly casting demos to non fly fishers. Having to do a demo in front of an audience of newly qualified instructors is a whole different  ball game so I’m going to cheat. I am going to demo my left handed casting and get them to point out, and rectify the many faults. It will either be the ultimate in audience participation or utter humiliation. Luckily I have never minded (too much) being humiliated, I have many faults but I hope ego is not one of them. That’s the reason for not putting the clip up yet, I don’t want any of them getting a sneak preview.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage | 3 Comments

Getting The Message Over

When instructing there is always the possibility of instructions being misinterpreted by a student. But, you would imagine that when you are, essentially, talking to yourself you would think there is no room for ambiguity. I am living proof that this is not the case. My left hand still refuses to either watch what my right hand is doing or listen to what I tell it to do. This is putting me in a very awkward position, I mean, if I can’t get an instruction across one arm and down the other what hope do I have with with someone standing a few feet away.

 This is so bloody frustrating, I can either get the back cast right and then throw tails on the forward cast or I get the the back cast from Hell and throw a beautiful forward cast. I just cannot get it consistently right in both directions at the same time.

 Why are you throwing tails? I hear the more astute among you ask. Because my left hand has chronic creep, that’s why. Why it won’t stay back and wait for the line to straighten is a mystery to me, well, not exactly a mystery, just a bit puzzling. I think it has gotten so used to crap back casts that don’t straighten properly that it comes forward too early to try and hit the cast before the line hits the ground, which means I am left with hardly any stroke length to apply proper power with. I filmed a session this morning and the difference between the timing of my right hand compared to my left is quite startling. My right just waits and waits for the line to straighten and then smoothly loads the rod from the get go. My left is half way into the stroke before it acquires the line and is almost shock loaded, the result is a huge tail.

 I have gone through all the exercises I would put a student through, pick up and lay downs, side casting, cast lay down cast lay down on the back and forward strokes but it is still not coming together.

 On the other hand, I no longer feel awkward doing the wrong thing with the wrong hand, I am actually starting to feel the haul working properly so not everything is bad news.

 If I can’t get a better quality vid clip done tomorrow I will put the one up on Vimeo that I did today. Lets see if we can’t work out what’s going on.

August 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment