Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

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 Horse hair was way back in history but silk was only just being superseded by funky multi coloured plastic.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


  1. life would be so much nicer if we could slap people over the internet… :mrgreen:

    Comment by Marc Fauvet | August 2, 2013 | Reply

  2. Good post Mike. There must be people who won’t go fishing in case they haven’t got the right line for every situation.

    You mention 3 groups, but there is a 4th group – those who hear of something new or different, and are instantly against it just because it’s new or different and they want whatever it is banned.

    PS, Are you sure it’s your coat you want? It could be your anorak!

    Comment by David Fisher | August 5, 2013 | Reply

  3. Part of my problem David is that I hate choice, If I have to choose I will invariably choose the wrong one, tele, laptop, phone, car or fly line it doesn’t matter, the law of probability usually means I will probably make the wrong choice.

    Comment by Mike Heritage | August 5, 2013 | Reply

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