Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Rambling Rose

This one is going to be a bit of a ramble so be warned. I am just filling in half an hour before I go off to do a clinic for a local syndicate. The forecast isn’t good and I have already heard a rumble of thunder in the distance. I might demo the conductivity qualities of carbon fibre and by the time you read this I will be a charred skeleton muttering ‘I told you so’.

Why do people compete? A question that occurred to me while at the CLA last weekend. It seems everyone (well everyone that competes anyway)  does it for different reasons and after hearing several different reasons I questioned myself because, to be honest, I had never thought about it very deeply. I still haven’t come up with any reasonable reason. I just enjoy it. I am not a win at any cost sort of person, I don’t mind losing (much) provided I have done my best. The few times I have been upset by losing have been when I have cast badly. It just happens that my best is often better than anyone else’s best and so I keep the occasional wins trickling in. I also don’t suffer with nerves, in fact I enjoy casting to an audience and if it’s a competition I can blank everything out, it’s just me against the tape.

Someone asked why I sometimes write about the bad things that can happen. Don’t they happen to everyone? Am I the only one that falls in or gets a bit spooked or snags the only tree for miles? I used to think I was the only instructor that had awkward clients (not all, thank God) because you never heard stories (in print) about their disasters. Oh no, all you heard was some amazing technique they had devised to cure the most wayward of student who had then gone on to become an absolute ace caster and fly fisher. All complete bollox, of course. Shit happens. It may happen to me more than you but I doubt it. Gotta go……………

Back again…………. and apart from getting a bit wet for half an hour it turned out quite nice and I had some good results, nice loops and a couple of them double hauling. I turned down the invitation to fish because the water is so warm I would have felt guilty about stressing out the fish, even if I had managed to hook one. I really need to go fishing though, apart from the blown off salt water trip a few weeks ago I haven’t been fishing since sometime in March. One thing I will force myself to get sorted are my fly boxes. I find it difficult to sit down and tie a dozen or more flies in one hit and even more difficult to do that day after day until I have some box’s to be proud of. Does anyone buy their flies rather than tie themselves? Who do you buy them from? I have always felt it was a bit of a cheat to buy but a box of quality flies might mean less embarrassment when someone asks to look at them.

Ramble over.

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July 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Regrets, I Have a Few

But then again it’s my own fault. The fact I had been away on holiday and the few days I could have practiced were just too bloody hot is really no excuse. If I had been that serious (and I should have been) I would have at least had a few casts in the few I had available before the CLA salt water comp. Before I went on holiday I did actually go to a lake and practice picking the head off the water and I’m jolly glad I did, there is definitely a technique to it. I arrived too late to compete on Friday and I had to do all my attempted qualifying on Saturday which, as it turned out wasn’t such a bad thing because Friday was very hot and Saturday was a lot cooler but the wind was a bit of a pain blowing strongly down the lake which meant we were casting across it. It’s a shame they cannot re-orientate the markers but there you go, it was the same for everyone. At least we didn’t have a fence or ropes behind us, for a change. It wasn’t all bad news though, I did qualify for the trout distance final.

I haven’t competed at the CLA for a few years but I seem to remember big queues at the qualifying and getting nervous that time was running out. This year there were just a few of us and getting your goes in wasn’t too much of a problem. It turned out that most of the competitors were good friends anyway, Lee Cummings, Ben Dixon, James Evans, Tracy Thomas, Hamish Young, Jonathon Tomlinson, Gilly Bate and, biggest surprise of the day, Matt Howell who was in the UK because of a tragic accident to his father-in-law. Regardless of the circumstances it’s always a pleasure to see Matt although I’m not sure the feeling was mutual, but it’s not his fault the Aussies are crap at cricket.

Sitting quietly to one side was a young Irish lad who turned out to be our nemesis (the men anyway). Thomas Armstrong looks too young to worry about but I suggest if you see his name on the list of competitors you start to worry. This young man is serious competition, he eventually beat me in the trout distance final and beat everyone else in the salt water final. I just hope that by next year he has found women and gives up casting for a year or two and give the rest of us a chance.

I think I need to consider having a go at the spey casting then I can fill my entire weekend with competing and have a thoroughly good time with a great bunch of people. I just love competing and the strange thing I’m not a particularly completive person. In the Great British tradition, it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part. Yeah, right.

Gilly Bate is the CLA ladies UK Trout Distance Champion and Tracy came third. James was just behind me in the Mens but Thomas Armstrong won everything else. Well nearly, Scott MacKenzie came out of retirement to win the spey comp and show the youngsters how it should be done. Oldie Power.

Next year no more Mr nice guy, I’m getting serious.

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Mistakes, I’ve Made A Few

I have been promising myself that I would give salt water fly fishing some serious effort for the last couple of years. I recently heard of a venue not  a million miles from where I live that promised Bass and Mullet. Not big Bass, but as even a two pounder can put a serious bend in the rod, and I was new to it, I thought it an ideal location. When I left home it was hot and sunny with hardly a breath of wind. Perfect for a first (well second actually) bash at swaffing . As I got nearer the coast I noticed the odd tree gently swaying in the breeze. Not a problem, I knew it was going to be a bit breezier on the beach than it was inland. However, it wasn’t a bit breezier, it was blowing force four or five when I arrived. Ok, I know swaffers are hardy folk and a bit of a wind isn’t a problem so undeterred I set off on a long walk to the water, made even longer by the fact it was a spring tide and the  sea was way out in the far distance. It was then I discovered mistake No 1, I was on the wrong side of the estuary and would have to cast into the wind. I wasn’t about to walk all the way back to the car and drive several miles, and hike again, just to get the wind behind me so I decided to make the best of a bad job and rigged up the seven weight. At best I was putting the fly out about forty feet but I had been told the fish are close in I thought that would ok, if a little wimpish  for someone supposed to be a decent caster. The sun was out and scantily clad females were cavorting on the beach behind me so I settled down to wait for the tide to start to come in bringing me loads of fish to cast at. While waiting for fishy I experimented on different ways to get a decent cast in. Mistake No 2, I tried delivering on the back cast. Half way though one delivery everything went slack. The fly line had cut in two! Luckily the wind blew the free bit back to me and after some investigation I discovered a corroded rod ring which may have been the culprit, made worse because I was back casting. Luckily it had cut in the running line so I re-attached the head to the backing and made a bit of a shooting head. When I looked up after all this I noticed the coast has disappeared because a bank of fog was drifting in off the sea and the scantily clad females had disappeared, either in the fog or, more sensibly, decided to head inland to where the temperature was decidedly warmer. I decided that if the sea wasn’t going to come to me I would have to go to it and set off to find it. Eventually I did and waded out. This is a very shallow estuary and even a hundred yards had me only knee deep but at least I could now cast with the wind. And still the tide didn’t turn, and there were no signs of the cavorting fish I had been promised. Plus I had lost all landmarks as the fog got thicker. I only had a vague idea of which way to head when the tide started to come in and I didn’t know this bit of beach at all. I had waded through several deepish gullies to get where I was and didn’t fancy them filling behind me and cutting me off. I decided to head back to a safer spot and wait. I had a quick glimpse of a tower I recognised and headed back in the general direction. I am not usually a spooky sort of person. I mean, nothing is going to happen to me, is it. But somehow it did get to me. Not in a panicky way but certainly in a I really don’t like the feel of this sort of way so after a few (non productive) casts in the river as the tide finally decided to come in I decided enough was enough. I wasn’t enjoying it, it hadn’t lived up to weeks of expectation and I might just get home to watch the end of the British Grand Prix.

Lesson learned. Clean your bloody tackle after a swaffing session. The corroded ring was caused because I hadn’t cleaned the rod properly after my first attempt at salt a couple of years ago. Now that was a big mistake.

I’ll be back.

July 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment