Fly casting

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Just spent some time on the roof having a cast. Things didn’t start well. Tried to go for all out distance straight away and it was a disaster. Putting the thinking cap back on and a few minutes spent false casting 10 metres of line and the loops sharpened up nicely. Went for distance again, not pretty.

My pal was filming so I could get some footage to analyse and see what was wrong, but the line wasn’t showing up very well. The footage of myself did however show that, as usual, tracking is a big problem. This is particularly bad on the back cast where the loop never ever seems to come over the top of the rod. I think I tend to fling the rod around in a right-to-left arc through the stroke. Needs practice. But, by the end I was nicely opening out the stroke and getting a reasonably late butt rotation which put out a few nice loops.
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The flycasting finally showed a little improvement at the weekend. I set up my 30 metre tape in the local park, and started flailing away with a 4 weight. A weird thing happened: a tight back cast loop. I had previously only heard of such a thing as a rumour from hushed conversations between experto casters, so to see one in the flesh was pretty mind-boggling. And for it to originate from the tip of one of my own rods, WHILST I WAS CASTING IT, was almost too much to take.

The wierder thing was that it didn’t happen for any apparent reason other than that half way through my practice session I turned around 180 degrees from the direction I had been casting in so that the sun was on my face. Suddenly razor tight ones emanated unstoppably. I think there is a sun god, and he likes flycasting.

I managed 77ft on my best chuck. Watching back the video was more encouraging than this slightly meagre figure would imply. I have definitely changed my casting stroke this autumn, the most obvious manifestation of this being there is actually now something approaching a proper stop on the back cast. I think it’s probably got something to do with endlessly watching videos of the ubercaster, and spending a little time with the man himself. My hauling is almost, dare I say it, getting quite tasty. It’s really the tracking issue I’ve got to work on. I reckon with better tracking and a smoother stroke things could get considerably better. If my 5 weight ever gets sorted then who knows…

Well I think I’ve finally discovered the secret to improving your distance casting. Use a short fly line.

A few weeks ago I reversed my 5 weight DT line on the reel so the horrible greasy, sticky half of the line I’d been using would be at the backing end of things. I also cut off some of the nasty end taper, leaving me with a line probably only 25 yards long.

Today, for the first time, I cast a full fly line. My ego has been given a serious shot of speed. Nothing will stop me now from becomming the greatest caster in the universe. At least with my rules.

I was using my new rod, which I’m beginning to seriously enjoy casting with. It feels fantastically responsive and will make the line do whatever kind of dance I like (and some I don’t). It’s one of the now discontinued Sage XP’s, in a 9′ 5 weight. I spent all my money on it. But I think it might be worth it. One day I might even be able to afford a good reel for it. But you can’t have it all.

In the meantime, I may actually put a proper fly line on it and see if I can cast all of that. We shall see..

The trout season is well and truly over for this year. The last week or so has seen autumn arrive properly here on the east coast, with much cooler evenings and a smattering of rain. This has provided unacustomed time to spend on other things. Such as fly casting.

I’ve been meaning to sort my casting out for a while now. By sort out, I mean improve my loops, get better and more consistent presentation casts and generally cast with about 1/10th of the effort I do now. So, I’ve got myself a long tape measure, a digital camera and a tripod. Before anyone makes the comment, yes I realise that sounds interesting to say the least.

For anyone looking to improve their casting “on one’s own” so to speak, I have some advice. Be prepared to spend time, a good amount of it, and get ready for a shock. Sleepless nights with phrases like “casting arc”, “late butt rotation” and “straight line path” wizzing around your head should be expected.

I knew some things were bad about my casting. Turns out I’m right.

It’s total pants.

Only when you film yourself doing the deed do you start to realise that you may have to try and un-learn everything you currently do if you want to really improve. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m starting about as basic as I can. A guy called Paul is helping me (in a round about sort of way), with some great instructions. There are also one or two kind chaps providing some pointers which is great, and really useful.

So far, things aren’t going well. I’ve realised that I am actually incapable of making a half decent back cast. It’s quite literally a mental/physical impossibility at the moment. This is SERIOUSLY PISSING ME OFF. It’s the foundation for (nearly) all you do in fly casting and I’m absolutely shite at it. Some people say this sort of stuff doesn’t matter. But to me it does. If I do something I want to do it well, and what I’m doing right now cannot be described as ‘well’ in any shape or form, no matter how many Trade Winds are involved.

This winter, come what may, I will become a good fly caster. I am determined and prepared.
If anyone is still reading this, you will be able to keep up with my progress as I link to occasional video clips in the coming weeks and months. The first ones are not pretty, though fortunately my incredible sense of fashion helps to offset the mile wide back cast loops.

Give me strength.