Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Utter Codswallop

All of us who have practiced our casting have heard and seen written the comment, by those who don’t practice usually, that you don’t need to cast far to catch fish. A true enough statement in itself but totally misleading. No, you don’t have to cast far, you do, however, need some modicum of casting ability. You need accuracy, line control and rod control as a minimum. Some decent gear and a balanced outfit would also help.

 I was recently invited to help out with some instructing at an angling club event. I am not going to name them. I enjoyed the day and wouldn’t mind doing it again, plus, I don’t fancy being the target of a load of hate mail or put on someones hit list. Also, the club must have some inkling of the problems and organised the event to help. Well done them. The day included river craft, entomology and fly tying as well as fly casting. The whole thing was well run and everyone enjoyed themselves.

 My point is that, for a membership that specialises in river and stream fishing you would expect (or, I was expecting) that the majority would be able to hit a target at 20′ in their sleep. I left with impression that most of them would have been lucky to have had their fly even hit the water. There were one or two exceptions I admit, but they were exceptions, not the rule. The vast majority had no idea what a loop was, knew nothing about straight line path, had no concept of tracking, in fact, not a clue about flycasting. I know this sounds a bit harsh but it’s not, it’s a statement of fact.

 I presume these people catch fish though how I don’t know. Perhaps they only fish duffers fortnight, when the Mayfly are up and the trout are suicidal and give the rest of the year a miss.

 If they would put some real effort in learning to cast properly their enjoyment would increase ten fold and their anxiety levels would plummet because you can’t tell me that they are not anxious every time they have to make a cast.

 One of my exceptions was a gentleman who made his own cane rods. He had brought his latest one along. He was in one of my groups and asked me to cast it. Cane is totally different to cast than modern rods, you really have to allow the rod to do most of the work. After a couple of casts to get the feel I was managing to put a really sweet line out and the gentleman was as chuffed as little mint balls to see it cast so nicely. When he cast it I could see he wasn’t as smooth as you really need to be with cane and I suggested he relax his grip to dampen the tip oscillation he was getting. The smile on his face when he suddenly got the feel of smooth casting made my day. He was an exception though.

 So, if someone tells you he doesn’t have to cast far to catch fish they are really telling you that they can’t cast for toffee and only fish for two weeks a year, use gear their granddad gave them and have a tobacco tin full of rusty flies.

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April 30, 2010 - Posted by | fly casting, Fly Fishing, Fly tying, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage, Rods

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