Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

A Slightly Different Perspective

The thing about being out of circulation is that you can clear your mind. After a while you stop continually thinking about  all the questions and debates, the contradictions and arguments. Sometimes this let’s idle thoughts trundle though your head and very occasionally one will take your fancy and you can fly with it. For instance, the other day I was pondering what makes a fly cast work and, in my mind, it’s just three things. You acquire the line, you accelerate the line and you launch the loop. I suppose I should say launch the line but I am still fixated on creating an efficient loop so it’s the loop I launch, not the line. Let’s look at each one.

We acquire the line; for arguments sake we are already false casting, we have launched an efficient loop and we are waiting for it to straighten. There are a few ways to acquire the line. Visually, we see the line straighten and, with practice, we start the next stroke. Also visually, we glance up the length of the rod and as the line straightens we see the tip of the rod bend slightly back in the direction the line is moving, and we start the next stroke. By feel, some are lucky and are sensitive enough to feel the ‘heavy’ of the Line  straightening, and start the next stroke.

You accelerate the line; the first part of the acceleration is a bit like letting the clutch out, you start quite slowly and accelerate progressively. Of course, with practice you can let the clutch out more quickly and accelerate faster and still be smooth and fluid but you always avoid the snatchy, wham bam acceleration that gives you wheel spin, you want traction in the form of a smoothly acquired line.

Finally, we put the brakes on and launch the loop. During the acceleration we have bent the rod, now we have to let the rod do the only thing it can do on it’s own, straighten. Of course the rod will straighten any way once we start to decelerate but for the most efficient use of the rod straightening we need to stop the rod hand abruptly, and in the right place, to focus the unbending in the direction of the cast and fire the loop off the rod tip. Brake too early and the rod tip will straighten in a slightly upwards direction and, possibly, throw you a nice tail. Brake late and the rod tip will straighten in a slightly downwards direction and throw you a wide(r than you want) loop. Not braking hard enough will also make your loops wider and less efficient because you have dissipated some of the benefits of the unbending rod.

Of course there is nothing new in what I have written, it’s all in the Five Essentials, but maybe, just maybe, I may have given you a slightly different perspective on how to use them more effectively.


October 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another Drop In The Ocean

I used to envy my Son, he is a proper writer, he even makes a living writing. But now I’m not so sure.  I used to really enjoy writing, then one day I ran out of things to write about. Not just for a few hours, days or weeks, but for months and months. I still did things, but didn’t feel the urge to write about it. I have been all over the UK with the BFCC, been to Spain and Germany doing fly casting stuff. A few weeks ago I enjoyed several days in Northumberland at an IFFF event, which I enjoyed immensely, and I have been instructing occasionally. It’s not as if I have dropped out of the scene altogether, I am involved as much, one way or another, as I ever was. What I don’t do any more is participate in forums. It’s not that I want to stop learning any more but what goes round comes around and when  I see it coming round for the third or forth time I think why bother? Been there, done that and have a shed full of Tee-shirts, baseball caps etc, to prove it. I get far more out of meeting and talking to other instructors than I can get off a forum these days. Of course, I don’t know about you, but, I over the years I have built up a mental picture about how fly casting works. At one time this picture was being continually repainted but now a days the picture only gets the occasional re touch or a bit added here and there because the picture, generally, works for me. More importantly, it seems to work with the people I help learn to cast a fly. Very recently I had a complete beginner come to me in the morning and he went, on his own, and caught a fish in the afternoon. He came back to me the following weekend and learned to double haul and put the fly out to over 85′ and went fishing again after the lesson. He hasn’t let me know if he caught a fish or not but in all probability he will be back next weekend expecting me to show him how to cast 100′. When he does that I will stop taking his money because he will be teaching me. I can hear some of you saying why didn’t you take him fishing? Because I hate guiding is why. The expectation, mine and my clients, is too stressful for me. I am overjoyed when they catch a fish, suicidal when they don’t. I don’t need that sort of pressure. I instruct for fun (and money) but guiding isn’t fun, it’s very unfunny in fact. I take my hat off to anyone who does it. Talking of taking my hat off. I have always wanted to see a double handed assessment. I have heard how difficult it is and wanted to see for myself. I was given the opportunity at the IFFF event in Bellingham recently and now understand what the fuss is about. That is one arduous test. One more doff of the hat to Brian McGlashan for organising the very well run event. There, that wasn’t so difficult was it. The moving finger wrote. What it writ may not be earthshattering or meaningful but at least it got to the end.

October 7, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments