Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox


What is a loaded rod? A bent rod.

How can you load a rod? etc etc.

This not a piece on the how’s and whats this is a piece to settle an argument.

Let me say from the beginning that I have very tenuous grasp of the implications of any of Newtons theories. I am looking at this from a purely intuitive point of view.

People who have a very much firmer grip on Newtons theories may well be able to argue that I am wrong. Please feel free.

Is there such a thing as a UNDERloaded rod or an OVERloaded rod? The classic answer is an overloaded rod is a broken one. But. I don’t want to explore the extreme end of the spectrum. I want to look at underloading or overloading during a bog standard overhead cast, or any other cast for that matter.

One of the Essentials have as part of the sentence something about applying the appropriate power over the appropriate distance. I will now change the word power to force which I, and many others, consider to be a better word than power.

You have to ask yourself that if you can apply an appropriate force what is an inappropriate force? And, more importantly, what does it do to the rod? I contend that if you use too much force (for a particular cast) the rod will be bent too deeply for that cast so you have therefore overloaded the rod. This may be difficult to do over the entire stroke but it is something that often happens as a ‘power spike’ at some point during the stroke, most often at the start and the end (that final ‘get out there’ heave). The result of the spike is to buckle the tip path and create a tailing loop. I say that spike is caused by overloading the rod, no matter how temporarily.

Underloading is, I admit, a bit more difficult to make sense of but if I think you can overload a rod it must also be that you can under load it. It would result in a wider loop than you anticipated or perhaps a leader not turning over properly.

Of course we can deliberately under power or overpower a cast for a specific reason but in those cases we will have adjusted the casting angle accordingly to suit the purpose of the cast.

As I said at the beginning this is my intuitive or gut feeling. If someone can put me straight be my guest, just don’t baffle me with science, my life is baffling enough.


August 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hang On!

Hang time. I have seen the expression and never really gave it much thought. To be honest I am not entirely sure exactly what it means. I take it to mean the length of time the line is in the air, after loop formation,  before it drops to the water, but I could be wrong. For the purposes of this post that is what I am going to assume it means.

Has anyone heard the theory that if a bullet is fired from a gun horizontally and you drop a bullet from the same height at the same time they will both hit the ground at the same time? Whats that got to do with fly casting you ask. Well, believe it or not its the same when casting a fly line. Ten feet or one hundred feet, if the line was cast horizontally the line takes exactly the same time to hit the ground. After extensive experimentation, I mean at least half an hour, casting various lengths of line as horizontally as it was possible for me to do, I conclude that horizontal hang time for a 6’2” man casting a 9′ rod is approximately three seconds. In essence this means the only difference between a 10′ cast and a 100′ cast is line speed. Of course this isn’t the entire story, we rarely cast horizontally for one thing. For short casts we cast below horizontal (so hang time will be less) and for long casts we cast above horizontal (so hang time will be more). The question is how much more? one second? two seconds? And, on real distance stuff, it doesn’t matter how high a trajectory you fire the line at there will nearly always be some sag in the belly of the line as its shooting that will hit the ground first. You have to remember the rod leg will start to be affected by gravity almost immediately, even if it is being shot. This is why you often see distance casters raise the rod tip as high as they can as line is being shot in an effort to keep the belly off the ground as long as possible, especially as the loop gets near the end of its travel. It will also make a difference what line you use. A long belly WF or a DT will tend to sag more, and therefore hit the ground earlier, than a mid to short bellied WF’s. The trade-off is that you have a lot more line aerealized with the long belly (perhaps nearly twice as much as you could with some short bellied WF’s) so the loop has a longer line to transmit itself along before it runs out of steam. Where as it is entirely possible, with some lines, the loop still has a lot of energy left at turnover but the dynamic ability of the loop to pull out running line is now lost and the whole thing collapses in a heap. This is especially prevalent with short shooting heads.

So, a distance cast is a balance between the loop having sufficient speed to pull out the running line (and hopefully some backing), having sufficient tension to keep the belly from sagging too much, have sufficient energy to get to turn over the leader and the right trajectory that is just high enough to do the job but not so high that the drag kills the cast. All this in a time-frame of five seconds, or less.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Distance casting, fly casting, Mike Heritage, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Cuba pt 2

I’m back and I can now add Cuba to my ever-growing list of countries I have been to and never caught a fish. I never saw the Bones again although I admit I did go looking for them and, if circumstances had been good, ie, no-one around,  I would have had a shot at them. I only wanted one! There is a lesson here somewhere,  number one is probably don’t let your wife book you a fishing holiday, even if she really has the best of intentions (which I know she did). However, we did have a very nice holiday and now I need to get back to work to pay for it.

I have to ask myself if nearly tripping over a Bonefish and then seeing several more just an hour after being told I couldn’t fish for them (legally) was co-incidence or Gods way of having a laugh at my expense. Especially as a I never saw another one in the next four days. I did see some other nice sized fish but I don’t know what species they were.

Why  they don’t allow someone to buy a weekly permit to fish is a mystery to me, I would happily have paid two or three hundred quid for one, especially after having seen the fish.

On our last day in Havana we somehow hooked up with a local who spoke good English (I think we were asking people if they could point us in the direction of a particular place we wanted to go to) and we had a couple of hours of rapid sight-seeing and a had a bit of an in site to the real Cuba thrown in. One strange (but apparently true) fact is that it is illegal for them to grow mint. It is used to make Mojihitos which is a drink the tourists buy, the locals can’t afford it. If the locals could grow their own mint they might cause a crash in the price of Mojihito’s and the Hemingway bars might go out of business (just a guess), anyway he thoroughly enjoyed the couple I bought him, which cost the equivalent of two weeks of his wages!

Now it’s back to the reality of my world where I will look on the huge clump of mint growing in my garden with an entirely new perspective.

August 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cuba Pt1

Hola muchachos, I am sitting by the pool
after a nice lunch which included a Bucanero or two or three and as chilled as
you can get with temperatures in the mid thirties. If I get unchilled I can
always flop into the pool right next to me. We are on Cayo Largo at the other
end of Cuba, the other end from Havana that is. This is the holiday we are
celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on. Heathers idea was that I would have a
couple of days with a guide to fish the flats for bonefish, something I have
always wanted to do. She couldn’t book the days as part of the package but was
told it wouldn’t be a problem, we could book them in Cuba. I did send a few
emails to the company that does the guiding but all I got was a garbled message
that I could hire a guide for 1800 euros for three days. Mmm, I thought, some
sort of mix up here, that must include the flight and the accommodation which I
had told them I didn’t need as I was already going to be there. Never mind, I
would sort it once I was there. Yesterday we went off to find the marina and we
eventually found the office of the company and discovered the awful truth. It
wasn’t 1800 euros for three days it as 1800 euros for one day and even if we had
the money (which we didn’t) we couldn’t book it from inside Cuba, it has to
booked from outside the country as a package. The whole of southern cuba has
been designated a marine park and the fishing is restricted to one company. It
would be illegal for me to just go and fish from my hotel beach. To be honest I
wasn’t that surprised, all it means is that I can now add Cuba to a long list of
countries I haven’t caught a fish in. Heather was more disappointed than me, she
has to put up with me for two days longer than she was planning on.
After we got back to our hotel we decided to go to the beach rather than
laze around the pool. I did a bit of snorkelling but had enough after half an
hour and as I waded out of the water I nearly tripped over a three foot bloody
Bonefish that was just cruising along the breaker line picking up whatever it is
bonefish pick up in the breakerline and then I spotted a couple more and then
four more. Talk about adding insult to injury! I couldn’t believe how close they
were to the shore. Their were people sitting in the water and the damn things
were swimming between them and the shore with barely any water above their backs.
I followed several as they cruised along, I even got ahead of them and ambushed
them with the camera, several came within five feet before veering around me.
I hadn’t seen any on the previous day when there was hardly any swell and
the breakers were only six to twelve inches but we had a storm that night and
the swell had increased to twelve to twenty four inches which was enough to stir
the sand as they broke and the bones were just cruising on the edge of the sand
Of course I am now very tempted to get up really early one morning and get
to the beach before anyone else and have a surreptitious chuck at one or two.
Apparently if I get caught I will be in some serious shit.
Watch this space,
Hasta la vista

August 18, 2011 Posted by | fly casting, Mike Heritage | 1 Comment