Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a nice Christmas. Mine was unusually chilled, someone put a bottle of red in the fridge by mistake so I thought the best thing to do was warm it up…. by drinking it. Apparently I then went on to sample the Rose, but I don’t remember that bit, well, I was very, very drunk at the time. I know it may seem a bit light-weight, for most of you a bottle is just warming up but it constitutes about a quarter of my yearly alcohol intake. Mind you it was the best sleep I have had for a while.

 I had a Vosseller DC4 and spare spool, which are all lined  and ready for action. I have picked a rod I am not bothered if I break or not, I have had it for years but have hardly used it. The fly box is gradually filling up thanks to Gary, who kindly sent me some samples to copy, and the material supplier who provided me with lots of lovely stuff to tie them with. Sad to say I now know I need a fair bit more to tie some of the patterns (whats new). The fly box was a present as well.

 I am undecided whether to go to the local river, which is a bit high and coloured, for Pike, or, lose my cherry and have a pop at a Pouting, I will see what the weather looks like Friday and make up my mind then.

 Apart from filling my swaffing box I am tying for the FF&FT fly tying comp. It’s a new format this year and so the flies will decide whether we go into div’s 1,2 or 3. Magnus Angus has chosen a particularly awkward fly so that he can sort the wheat from the chaff so I fully expect to be firmly rooted in div 3. I am also waiting to hear the final number of flies needed for the Sexyloops swap, it looks as if I will need to tie another half a dozen or so to make up my 40 then all I have to do is label them all and get them in the post.

 I don’t know about you but I am not too sad to see the end of 2009, it was one of those years that are best forgotten as far as I am concerned…except for the good bits, which, I have to admit there were a few.

 Roll on 2010,

 Happy New Year.

December 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Take two, I have one draught am not happy with so I will try again!

 What is a loaded rod? A bent one. If it ain’t bent it ain’t loaded. If the rod has a bend in it has to be having an effect on the line, ie, you have acquired it and started it moving in the direction of the cast. The rod does not need to have much apparent bend in it to have quite a substantial load. Think about how you put maximum pressure on a running fish, you lower the tip so that the butt sections come into play. Thats where the power of a rod is.

 The initial translation may not have much, if any, rotation going on. The rod may just be translated with the tip only slightly up from horizontal, it doesn’t matter, if the rod is bent it is pulling the line. Translation is not at a constant speed, it is accelerated in the same way as any other part of the stroke, it’s just not magnified by rotation…yet.

 For those of us who are not as supple as we used to be rotation will start while the rod hand is still behind our shoulder and once it starts it has to be a progressively increasing acceleration to maintain or even increase rod loading and allow leverage. It’s difficult to say when the rod is at maximum load. It’s easy to say it’s when it is at maximum bend, or chord length is at its minimum. The problem is that the rod is changing angle rapidly so load will show up in different parts of the rod as the rod rotates so minimum chord length or maximum bend may not actually be maximum load. I believe the rod loads to its maximum quite soon after rotation starts and that allows the line to be levered forward. Perceived wisdom is that leverage accounts for about 70% of linespeed, the rest is made up of the haul (10 to 15%) and PE ( the energy released by the unloading rod, 15 to 20%). It therefore stands to reason that the longer the tip path can be accelerated then the faster tip speed, and therefore linespeed, will be at RSP (rod straight position).

 So in a nutshell I am saying that the longer you rotate (and accelerate) the faster your potential linespeed will be.

 Having said all that I still have the dilemma that working on Late Rotation has helped improve my distance. Why? I believe that without realising it I have had to work at progressively rapid  acceleration to try to achieve late rotation and that that is the key, not Late Rotation as such.

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Distance casting, fly casting, Mike Heritage | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dark Side

mechanical work is the amount of energy transferred by a force acting through a distance.

 This came up a while ago in one of the more technical discussions on ‘loops and the concept had been sort of making the rounds to various parts of my brain for quite a while now, you know, one of those things that just pop into your head when you least expect it and you spend a few moments mulling it over before something else comes along to take its place.

 It’s the force through distance bit that got me thinking. What force are we applying during translation? If you read the previous post then you will see that for a substantial part of  translation we are not applying any force to the line at all, or the real late rotators aren’t anyway. Don’t forget we are talking pure distance here, not ‘normal’ casting.

 To my mind the secret of distance casting is the ability to control acceleration. The ability to feed power in progressively rapidly. I do mean feed, it’s not wham bam thank you mam. Mel Kreiger used to describe it as whuuUMP and that’s actually a very good description.

 It occurred to me that I should really be accelerating the line as well as the rod, why waste line acceleration time by just accelerating the rod, that would be the equivalent of wheel spin. What we really want is traction, not smoking tyre’s. By the time the guy with wheel spin has finally got some traction the guy who didn’t spin his wheels is halfway down the straight.

 Of course this argument might just be me making excuses for my inability to perform a long horizontal translation, but, what if I have not actually ever been a Late Rotator?  I must have, and still be, doing something right because I would not be too ashamed to cast distance with the best in the world. I might not win but I wouldn’t necessarily come last either.

 I intend to write about the mechanics of rod loading next but I need a bit of time to get it sorted in my mind first….. so you might have a long wait.

December 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Jedi version

One of the main problems, as I see it, with ‘proper’ late rotation is the grip. You need to change it three times during a complete cycle. To start the backcast the grip needs to be palm forward, even finger on top. During the backcast pause the hand needs to rotate clockwise (if you are right-handed) and open up so that the rod is held very loosely in an open hand. The thumb becomes a fulcrum. The butt is not actually gripped, it’s held in position by just the weight of the rod and tension in the line. Hold your hand in front of you and describe a 3 or 4” circle, look through the C shape you have now made and swivel the thumb to point at your face. That’s the grip you use through 90% of the translation. To keep the rod horizontal through this phase you need to allow the wrist to move. You will probably find it easier if the rod is canted over a bit but, unfortunately, if you do that you lose distance, the best distance is from a near vertical rod. When your hand gets to a point just passed your head the wrist can no longer bend back any more and you will start a natural rotation. Rotation proper is a combination of squeezing your hand to a proper thumb on top grip and a powerful rotation of the wrist, this is where you haul as well. The combination of the push/pull squeeze ( you push with your thumb and pull with the fingers) and the wrist rotation/haul are what gives you the massive increase in linespeed.

 All the above is theoretical as far as I am concerned, it’s what I have strived, and failed, to achieve for the last several years. I have only seen it done properly by three or four people.

One other thing that needs to be cleared up is that the translation phase with the C grip only accelerates the rod  horizontally towards the waiting hauling hand. Think about it. Nothing the rod does at this stage can have any effect on the line, it is purely sliding down the line. Drag is a misnomer, it should better be called slide. Drag suggests line tension and slack removal. This is absolutely not the case. What you are doing however is accelerating the rod in the direction of the forward cast so that when you do start to acquire the line the rod is already moving at a substantial speed therefore the rod will load faster and deeper than if you has rotated from a static start. Translation should be looked at as a rolling start, you are already on the move before you cross the start line.

 Couple all the above with perfect timing and power applied through the legs and body and you too can become an Uber caster.

 As I said in my previous post I have now moved to the Dark Side, more of which later.

December 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Feel The Force

I have outed myself as a bit of a fraud on Sexyloops, well perhaps fraud is a bit strong, misguided might be a better word.

 In the distance casting game ‘Late Rotation’ has been the Holy Grail for years and I have strived for years to attain it. However, in the back of my mind I always knew I had never achieved it despite the devises I used to perform a pseudo version of it. Proper late rotation involves the rod staying horizontal until the hand has translated from right back to right forward, if you include body movement that’s a translation of six or seven feet, if you include a forward stride that can become up to ten feet with rotation coming in the last six inches. Well, I could never get that. I used to kid myself that my rotation happened in the last couple of feet, which wasn’t bad, I could live with that. Of course when I reviewed a clip of my casting it always appeared that I was actually rotating for a much longer period but I would put that down to filming the wrong cast. Ok the early rotation may be slight, and, it did lead to an explosive finish but it wasn’t a Hartmann or Ardenesque stroke, just an approximation of one.

 In my heart of heart’s I knew this and spent endless hours trying to get my body to flow fluidly from back to front with the classic horizontal rod. I even considered taking up Yoga or Pilates to try and supple my body up a bit. I only considered it for a while though, being intrinsically lazy I just never got round to it.

 I recently came to terms with my inability to perform the drag properly and moved to the Dark Side instead. I am going to be the one that whispers that Late Rotation is bunkum. You have all been hoodwinked, deceived into thinking you are somehow not worthy, you are a lesser caster because you cannot perform this complicated manoeuver without having to resort to slight of hand. No, I am here to lead you down a different path, the path of enlightenment, the path that doesn’t lead you to an inferiority complex, the path of fact, not fiction. The truth, it’s out there somewhere.

December 5, 2009 Posted by | Distance casting, fly casting, Mike Heritage | Leave a comment