Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Stop It, I Like It

Not for the first time, I think I am missing something. I started a debate on Sexyloops  http://www.sexyloops.co.uk/theboard/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=526  about the stop not being mentioned in the Five Essentials, or, for that matter being one of the Essentials. The stop is mentioned once in the explanation of the fifth Essential which, to my mind, is a bit late to discover that that is the reason you can’t get the others to work.

If you follow the thread you will notice that several eminent instructors say that they don’t teach the stop which left me a bit goggle eyed because I emphatically do. For me the essence of a fly cast is creating the loop and beginners, at least, don’t create loops because they don’t stop. I have improved many casters casting simply by improving their stop or more importantly emphasising loop creation which I think are hand in hand. The only concession I have with the non stop brigade is that I don’t get my clients to ‘stop the rod’, I found that concept confused some of them so I now concentrate on stopping the hand which I find more successful. However, when you read between the lines of the non stoppers replies you realise that they do in fact teach the stop in one form or another, they just use other methods to induce it which takes me back to my original question as to why it is only mentioned as an aside in Bill and Jays booklet written for the FFF in the late eighties or early nineties ‘ The Essentials Of Fly Casting’ which is part of the pack you receive from the FFF when you decide to try to become an instructor. I then assumed it was written with potential instructors in mind so they did have some casting ability and the stop was already ingrained into their technique and the Essentials were there to show them the elements of a fly cast that are necessary to perform a good overhead cast. Wrong again! Bill replied that this was a ‘how to fly cast’ booklet aimed at people wanting to learn how to cast. So, once more I was (am) perplexed as to how anyone reading the Essentials as their learning aid would work out that to get most of them to work there should be a crisp stop at the end of each stroke, especially if, like most blokes, you don’t read the small print. Bill did write that him and his Father did talk about it for quite a while and decided the stop wasn’t essential, but, and this is the reason I write this, I still don’t understand how describing power application, variable casting arc and straight-line tip path lets anyone understand that to get them to work, or make sense you need to stop your hand at the end of each stroke. Until you get the Fifth, read the small print and, ping!, a crisp stop. Bugger, why wasn’t I told about that before.

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Those Were The Days My Friend

When life was simpler. You neither new nor cared how fly casting worked and didn’t have a clue what a balanced outfit was.. You knew the names of nearly all the flies in your box and you caught loads of fish. Fly lines were a simple choice, a double taper matched to the number on the rod, unless you had made the rod yourself and didn’t have a clue what the number was supposed to be in which case any old double taper would do. If you wanted to cast a bit further you cut it in half and knotted some mono to the back of it. Was it ever so simple? Probably not but nostalgia is often viewed through a rose tint.

There are those of us who are happy with the way things are and there are those who are not. There are those that don’t try to think of ways to do or make things that haven’t been done or made before and then there are those that think of nothing else and when some clever dick has thought of something new there is the third group who want to improve it. At some point the horsehair fly line was new and innovative then someone decided silk would be an improvement and then, later, someone else decided plastic was the way to go. That’s where I came in. Horse hair was way back in history but silk was only just being superseded by funky multi coloured plastic. You could buy white, peach, green, black or even yellow, so long as it was double tapered. A sort of Henry Fordeque you can have any fly line you like as long as it’s double tapered. I don’t know how long this situation lasted, a day, a week, a year but someone then had the bright idea of creating a shorter head and thinner running line and the weight forward line was born. I would guess it was originally created for someone who wanted to cast that little bit further a little more easily. Fair enough. Nice sentiment. I just wish it had stopped there but of course it didn’t. We are now swamped with an array of lines for every conceivable situation from a size 30 smut at ten feet to a six inch pike fly at one hundred.  I am now sitting here wondering how to convey my dislike of weight forwards while admitting that I use them. Not only use them but I would be hard pressed to go through my many bagged lines and find a double taper let alone find one on one of my reels. Dislike is maybe a bit strong, ambivalent is nearer the mark. I use them but wish I didn’t. Whatever name I have is down, to a large extent, to long bellied weight forwards. Of course there is a use for speciality lines like  spey lines, they make life so much easier and, I admit, there are a few nice weight forwards but in general I wish they had never been invented.

I’ll get my coat.

August 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments