Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Style

Style is my, or your, personal way of doing something. To achieve that something we may often have to perform certain tasks. It’s how we choose to perform these tasks that is our personal style. There will be obvious similarities but there will be many differences as well. Now, If I am teaching you how to perform a particular task I would show you the way I perform it first and as you got better at it I may make suggestions that may help you to perform it better, I may even suggest one or two alternatives and allow you to decide which one suits you best, one that suits your developing style. That’s the point, style developes over time. Let’s get specific.

 We want to cast a fly line. The manual tells us we need to perform five essential things, it doesn’t tell us which foot should be in front of the other, how to specifically grip the rod or what path the hand should travel. Consensus dictates that there are some ways that are better than others. I will suggest it’s better to grip the rod more like a screwdriver than a hammer. I might suggest that, just for now, an index finger pointing up the rod might help with that wrist breaking problem on the back cast. I will give you another couple of alternatives once we have sorted that out. I will point out that that square on stance you have automatically adopted may not necessarily be the best and that by placing one foot slightly ahead of the other you are better balanced and you also won’t be so static. Which foot? Ah, well, that depends. As we are only casting a short line, no, 30′ isn’t a distance cast, sorry, I think right foot forward might be best, we call this a closed stance. Think darts. When we want to cast a bit further you might try left foot forward, we call that an open stance, think javelin. I doesn’t matter too much for now though, just feel comfortable.

 You get the picture. I don’t teach style I teach substance, with a few stylistic suggestions thrown in. What I won’t be doing is insist you stand like this, hold the rod like that and move your hand from here to there. If you come to me an already a fairly accomplished caster I am not going to try to alter your style, I will just try to smooth out any faults and suggest a few things you might find work, for you.

 One of the things that, retrospectively,  appeals about the FFF is their style free ethos. So much so that I would resent having a style imposed on me for a specific purpose. You want me to put the fly there and the line there and there, no problem, well maybe, but if I do it and can explain how and why I did it the way I did it I am buggered if I will accept  being criticised because I didn’t hold the rod with my pinky standing out and I wasn’t standing in the ‘proper’ stance.

 Of course, my viewpoint may be different from most. I spent a large proportion of the last ten years trying to figure out a way of blasting a fly line out to the horizon. This involved a lot of trial and error plus watching and picking the brains of some of the best casters in the world. It also involved some radical re thinks and several re builds, not something the average fly-fisher expects to have to do. I did it my way……with a bit of his……and his, oh and don’t forget him or him……..

Yeah, I got style, I just wish I knew what it was.

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December 30, 2010 - Posted by | Distance casting, fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage

1 Comment »

  1. “You want me to put the fly there and the line there and there, no problem, well maybe, but if I do it and can explain how and why I did it the way I did it I am buggered if I will accept being criticised because I didn’t hold the rod with my pinky standing out and I wasn’t standing in the ’proper’ stance.”

    Yep…..with you all the way.

    Happy New Year.

    Comment by Mark | January 3, 2011 | Reply


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