Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

The Impressionist

It’s odd how something sticks in your brain and stays there when a lot of other stuff just goes in….and then goes straight back out again. I guess it’s to do with your character and the thing that stuck just reinforced a particular trait you may have. When taking a casting assessment we are exhorted to ‘make it look easy’, give the impression, at least, that we know what we are doing. I’m not sure where the line is drawn between the impression of confidence or the appearance of arrogance is though. Is standing there in no particular stance, chewing gum and one hand in your pocket while executing an over powered curve cast a sign of confidence or arrogance?

I admit to being an impressionist, I’m not into minute detail. You can tell that just by looking at any fly I tie. You can tell it’s a fly, you’re  just not quite be able to tell which one it’s meant to be. Thank goodness the fish don’t seem to mind. You could imagine a nice fish sidling up to one of my flies and wondering what the hell is that supposed to be? then calling his mate over ” Hey Basil, have you seen this?” ”By heck George, what is it?”  ”I don’t know Basil but I am getting the irresistable urge to eat it”. ”George, GEORGE, what’s up? Come back George”

Back to casting. To make it look easy you do actually have to be able to do the cast first and work on the nonchalance later. For instance, long before I became interested in becoming an instructor I was a distance freak. I had spent years trying to hit the horizon. One of the tasks in the test was a ‘distance’ cast to seventy-five feet. I was so used to balls out, gung-ho, blast the f***** out there style casting that I had all sorts of problems reining myself in to a ‘make it look easy’ style. I never worried too much if a distance cast tailed a bit, it would untail itself and still reach 120′. The result was what mattered not how it looked or a few knots in the leader. Suddenly I am faced with having to do a piddly little seventy-five feet cast that looks good as well. No tails, nice loop and parallel legs. It took me hours and hours to make it ‘look easy’.

It’s a strange thing but once you have passed the test all the casts, even the ones you may have struggled with, seem easy. I suppose the pressure is off, the element of fear has gone and you just relax and a relaxed caster is a better caster.

After a while you may look back and think to yourself that it was quite easy. You may even think the tasks should be more of a challenge. If  this was your first test then you may decide to challenge yourself to go to the next level. You pass and after a while you look back and think it should have been harder. I think this is natural, but, it is also wrong. I think Caesar used to have a slave riding in his chariot whose job was to keep reminding him he was just a mortal. Not a job to relish, I would imagine. Piss Caesar off once too often and you were likely to discover your own mortality quicker than you had hoped.

It may be a onerious job but it needs doing. That’s not to say you still don’t have to give a damn good impression that you know what you are doing though. You still have to deserve to be Caesar.

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January 14, 2012 - Posted by | Distance casting, fly casting, Fly Fishing, Fly tying, Flycasting instruction, Mike Heritage, Uncategorized | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Nice one Mike.

    Truth to power!

    W.

    Comment by Will | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  2. I agree with Will, but reading through this one I think you can add Psychology to your list of qualifications. Would have commented earlier but it’s taken that long to fathom out how to spell PSYCHOLOGY.

    Comment by nirogers | January 28, 2012 | Reply


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