Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Open The Box

I have several boxes of flies, there must be thousands of flies in them, some of them thirty years or more old. I am now on a mission to tie up one box full that I won’t be ashamed to open in public (and catch fish). The only ones I have that are worthy of calling good are the ones I have received over the years via the annual Sexyloops fly swap. I have tied some decent flies in my time mainly as a result of having a go at the Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine winter tying competitions but of all the patterns I tied for that comp only one has turned out to be one of my go to flies. I caught a couple of nice fish on a version of it this morning as a matter of fact.

I have tied with, and watched, some really good fly tiers over the years from Davy Wootten to Paul Arden. I shouldn’t really use Paul as an example as it always involves Palinka or Unicum and trashing the house we are in as we search for suitable materials to tie whatever the challenge is that night. Unfortunately none of the skill or artistry I have seen others has rubbed off on me. Another strange thing is that while I would never buy a book on casting I am a complete sucker for books on tying flies, I’ve even read most of them!

My problems start as soon as I sit at the vice, hmm, what to tie? How about ……no I don’t have the right shade feather. Alright I’ll tie …… nope I haven’t got that either. I have drawers, cupboards and boxes full of materials, wire, tinsel, capes, fur, beads……but never the exact requirement for whatever it is I have decided to tie. I don’t have anywhere locally that I can go and buy whatever I need and I want it NOW not several days hence if I order it from the internet. I do the next best thing, improvise. If I was even the least bit artistic this wouldn’t be a problem but I’m not and it is. You have heard the saying ‘it’s not what you fish, it’s the way that you fish it’. Whoever came up with that saying hadn’t used my flies. I mentioned earlier that some of my flies are thirty years old. There is a good reason for that, no fish will look at them, no matter how you fish them.

One of my main problems is proportion, I tend to over dress most of my flies. I would love to tie some of the old spider patterns but I know I will over do the thread and put a turn or two too many on the hackles. I bought some Clyde style spiders a few years ago and just cannot bring myself to fish them, they look so fragile, no fish will look at them…will they?

I am determined to have a box to be proud of and that actually catch fish.

One of those fish this morning was a bit special. I had noticed him a few days ago sitting on a clear bit of the lake bed and he was back there today, I stalked him, cast to him and he took it. A lovely 4lbish brownie.


November 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Pause For Thought

I was asked a question a few weeks ago. Is there a pause in a constant tension cast? My immediate answer was I don’t know, my second reaction was whats a constant tension cast?

In theory a CT cast is one where the rod and line are in constant motion so you would expect to see the rod tip traveling in an oval path constantly pulling the line in its wake. That’s not what I saw however when I watched some clips on YouTube. I saw a loop being formed and if a loop is formed the line has to have passed the rod tip. If the line has passed the rod tip it means it is no longer being pulled, if it’s no longer being pulled it means you have to wait for it to straighten before the next stroke, if you are waiting for it to straighten you must be pausing………except….. you might not be!

What is the pause, apart from being Essential? I bet if you were asked the question your answer would be something like ‘the time it takes for the loop to unroll’ which I couldn’t argue with. But let’s take it a step further. If you had a student who either kept letting the line fall to the ground between strokes or you kept hearing whipcracks you would tell him his timing was off and that’s what the pause really is, it’s a timing issue.

With that in mind we can take another look at the pause on a CT cast, especially a shortish river type cast. Is there a timing issue with a CT cast? Yes, there has to be if a loop has been formed, but it does not have to involve the waiting period you would have with a conventional overhead cast, you only need to adjust the speed you move the rod tip at. There will be a natural pause as the stroke moves from one direction to another anyway so all you have to do is adjust your hand speed to accomplish it in a way that makes the cast smooth. As far as I can see line speed and cadence is faster on a CT cast than with a conventional O/H cast, especially if you underline by several weights as I understand happens if you use the TLT technique, so it may appear that there is no pause but as far as I can see the only pure constant tension cast where the line is being pulled by the rod top would be the helicopter cast and the figure of eight that we sometimes use for students to get used to the feel of a rod with some line outside the rod tip.

There is a lot of hype and myth surrounding CT casting. One day I might get to watch a true exponent and get a better insight. Until then I can only call it as I see it, and I see a pause.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | fly casting, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage, Uncategorized | 2 Comments