Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

And So It begins

A few ideas have been on the back-burner for a while as I have been concentrating on other things, or, one other thing anyway (I am a one thing at a time sort of person).

Nothing is concrete, or even in the mixer yet. I have to discuss things with people I hope will also be involved before I can firm things up. I think my aim is to give something back to a hobby or sport, call it what you will, that has been the focus for a huge part of the last eleven years and has given me so much pleasure and personal achievement.

I have bemoaned the fact that my part of the country is not very well served for those of us interested in fly fishing and especially fly casting. If I had a pound for all the solitary hours I have spent practicing I would be quite a wealthy man. Unfortunately I wasn’t and I’m not!

The general idea is to help prepare people who want to become instructors by running mentoring sessions, workshops and pre test run throughs. I am hoping this will not be any association specific but there may be hurdles to this, we will just have to see how it pans out.

Another thing I intend to try to do in the near future is hold a BFCC regional event at the bottom of my garden. There is a cricket pavilion that can host a social event after the casting is over (bar and all). The lack of  which is something I have heard a few moans about over the years. Provided there are three BFCC members present to ratify distances then casts will also be eligible for club records, if any are broken. There is enough space for all the events to be run provided I can get hold of the club T38 and T120 rods. I need to discuss possible dates with the cricket club before I can finalize details.

So there we are.  Big ideas and not much of a clue how to get them to fruition. Anyone with ideas feel free to email me.

So there

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May 21, 2011 Posted by | BFCC, fly casting, Fly Fishing, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage | 7 Comments

Oh What A Perfect Day

Bloody Hell, I’m a Master! How the hell did that happen?

It’s difficult to explain how I feel about it. It’s neither shocked or even surprised. It just feels a bit surreal.

I honestly did not expect to pass this time although I intended to give it my best shot. Because of that lack of expectation I was very relaxed about the whole thing, even an hours delay on my start time didn’t faze me. I had been expecting the butterflies to arrive for days but they just didn’t come, thank goodness.

Finally the call comes and I get to meet my assessors, Dan McCrimmon, Andrew Toft, Thomas Berggren and Fredrik Hedman. A stoney faced bunch of hombres you could ever wish to meet. Handshakes and introductions and we are off to the field, only to be trapped in the car for five minutes as a hail storm passes over. Good start. The weather is cold, wet and windy with the occasional squall just to make things interesting. Luckily I had taken notice of the weather forecasts for several days and had packed a precautionary seven weight outfit, just in case. I had only tried it out the day before, just to see if it was suitable, I had never used it in all the months of practice. It turned out to be an inspired choice.

With one or two exceptions the casting assessment is a bit of a blank. Dan was lead assessor so did most of the questioning but the others chipped in with some probing questions as well. I struggled on a couple of the tasks, mainly because of the weather and the unfamiliar equipment I was using. I know I struggled with the accuracy, especially the offside stuff. I had one or two pointed comments made that I was running out of attempts. There was even a (half-joking) suggestion that I use my left hand and failed miserably, but it was a light-hearted attempt that broke the tension. I switched back to my right hand and completed the task.

After the tasks the assessors went into a huddle and I went off to figure out how I was going to react to being told I had failed. I was summoned and walked forward to meet my fate, which, to my open surprise, was to be told I had passed. Of course there was still the oral examination to negotiate.

Because I knew there was someone else waiting to be tested, the weather conditions had slightly improved and time was getting on, I suggested that I could do my orals later if they wanted to get the other practical test done, which they agreed to.

I was now in a bit of a limbo And I honestly can’t remember what I did to pass the time. There were other ‘loopers in the field so I guess spent the time with them until it was time to go back to the hotel and await my call to be interrogated.

I was getting texts from my wife and sons asking me how I had got on. Of course they didn’t know about the delays and were wondering what was going on. I phoned Heather to tell her I had passed the practical but still had the oral to do. Lasse Karlsson also texted a few time wondering what was happening and I got someone to text him what was happening (I am just so slow at that stuff).

Back at the hotel everyone was just sitting down to their starters when I got the call to take my oral. Again, I don’t remember much about it except standing my ground on one or two points and admitting I didn’t know the answer to one or two of the questions.

So, from a delayed start of about 2.30pm I finally learned my fate at 8.55pm on Friday the thirteenth of May. I had passed. I received the congratulations of my assessors in stunned disbelief. Me, a fucking Master! Dan, Andrew, Thomas and Fredrik were actually smiling, so I guessed it was true.

I was ushered into the dining room where all the ‘loopers were having dinner. I am not sure if it was me or someone else that answered the question ‘well?’  but the reaction to the word Passed is one I will savor for years.

I had someone text Lasse to put him out of his misery and I phoned  Heather with the good news.

 I would like to thank everyone who sent their congratulations via Sexyloops, texts, pm’s and emails. There are also a hell of a lot of people I need to thank for making the whole thing possible, and I mean a hell of a lot of people. However, the standout person who started me on the road in the first place is Paul Arden. So blame him.

May 19, 2011 Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Friday The Thirteenth

Not an auspicious day to take your test is it? Not that I am superstitious or anything but….bugger. It’s all going to be a bit of a rush as well. I land at about 11am and then have a one hour drive to be ready for a 1.30 start for the test itself.

How has my preparation gone? Good question. Honest answer is I don’t know. I know what I know, my casting is ok, I’m feeling pretty good about it but it is a step into the unknown so we will have to see how it goes.

I am scheduled to help test CCI’s the day after my test, I’m not sure how that works if I have failed the day before but as I know one or two who are being tested for their CCI I will only be an observer on a couple of them. The thing is I am more nervous about that than I am about taking my own test. How weird is that?

As part of my test I have to give a ten minute workshop, more a talk really, and my subject is Keeping it Simple and it’s to do with instructing rather than casting or fishing. Easy I thought. A week after I had been notified of my subject I realised Keeping it Simple is actually quite bloody difficult. I wonder how slowly I can talk and how many umm and ahh’s I can put in to fill ten minutes? The CCI candidates will certainly be relaxed by the time I finish. I will probably have to kick them awake to go out and take their test.

I am getting a bit paranoid about injuring myself between now and next Friday (the 13th). I have a physical job and it’s quite easy to do something stupid and hurt yourself. I must have bruised my right hand somehow a day or two ago and it was giving me a problem casting yesterday, luckily it was gone this morning  when I went out for an early morning session.

The BFCC are at the Sportfish do this weekend, I will be there tomorrow (Sunday). If you are there pop over and say Hi. 

And finally, the good news. Roger has passed the GIAC assessment and is now a bona fida casting instructor. Bloody well done, you worked hard for it and deserve it. Good luck next weekend.

May 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments