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'Get out there - you stupid son-of-a-bitch'
The Pupil


so far...
how it works
line control
tailing winds
the retrieve
half blood knot
the take
fighting fish
fighting fish 2
handling fish
after the lesson
back to index

In this lesson we continue improving Karen's casting, by introducing a tailing wind and a fuller understanding of exactly how fly fishing works. Concepts such as retrieving the fly to make it look interesting and lifelike, as well an understanding of how to play and handle fish are also introduced.

This is lesson 3 of The Experience...

As a bit of a prelude to this lesson I decided to give a short but poignant demonstration as to the importance of selecting a suitable fly fishing venue, as the following video will attest… 'Wipe Out'.

So we went somewhere else.

Setting up

This time Karen assembled the rod. I mean, as much as I'd like to always be there to assist Karen on her fishing sorties (is there any straight guy who wouldn't?), there are going to be times when this is just not possible.the correct way of threading a rod So, just like every other pupil, it is important that she becomes completely self-sufficient. So I flung the rod tube on the ground in a dramatic manner and took on a meaningful facial expression.

Of course, it's one thing to do this with paying pupils, it's quite another to do this with a friend. An exciting argument ensued, the result of which, saw me going for a short stroll through the woods and Karen doing a bit of 'sunbaking'. I should point out that this is not normally part of lesson 3, and is currently only available by special request and never in the UK.

Karen, of course, assembled the rod expertly using the correct methods as demonstrated in lesson 1.

Karen's casting and The Experience

It's now time for an honest appraisal of Karen's casting. It's good. Of course it should be, I mean I'm teaching her, right? However considering that she hasn't had any in-between lesson practise, that the lessons have been over a month apart, and that the rod has lost 6 inches off the tip section; I am damned impressed. So what we have here is no normal pupil. This, of course, was not the idea. The idea behind The Experience was to have a typical pupil. Not some gifted natural. Still if it makes me look good, then all the better...

What Karen does lack, however, is self-confidence. Considering the circumstances, this is not surprising. All she has, with which to judge her abilities, are my abilities. I've been a mad flyfisher for over twenty years. I've been taught by some of the best instructors worldwide. Of course I'm going to make it look easy. This is my living and my life. I have spent far more hours with a flyrod in my hand than doing anything else.

This is also Queensland Australia. This is not some small stillwater in the UK. If it was the UK, I'd be able to show her just how well she is doing. As it is she just has to take my word for it. This inevitably leads to problems. She thinks that I'm telling her that she's doing well in order to raise her confidence. Well I'm not like that. She is doing well. This girl has been flycasting three times; throws nice loops, and sticks 20 yards plus of flyline out there without too much thought.

She is without doubt one of the quickest pupils I've taught. So I have to ask myself why? In effect what is it that makes a natural flycaster a natural?

I know that I'm not a natural flycaster. People who think that I am a 'natural' have no concept of the work that has gone in. There are naturals out there. I have met a few. They are very few. I am not one of them.

And they are mainly women. It has to do with something with which many men struggle. That something is called 'feel'. Karen is a 'feeler'. I grew up a 'see-er'. I have to see things in order to grasp them. I analyse problems in my mind and then solve them analytically. This is why this site is so technical. And why at university I studied engineering.

I'm changing. I am consciously becoming a feeler. I have been doing this for about 3 years with my flycasting. And my casting has transformed in that time, as has my teaching. I am also doing this with the rest of my life. I am letting go. But I digress slightly.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Mel Krieger. Mel isn't very well known in the UK. Which is a shame. He is a great caster and one of the best instructors I've met. He's also a really nice guy. Mel teaches for the 'engineers' and the 'artists'. He actually differentiates between the two. It is a wonderful concept.

Flycasting instructors really have to know both the mechanics and the feel. This is flycasting. And is what makes it so fascinating. Science and art blended together. Just like life.

And this is why Karen throws beautiful loops but is still confused as to how exactly it all comes together.

Frankly this is what, for me, makes The Experience. It's not that we are using the Internet in a new way – Sure, I'm teaching a pupil and posting these lessons exactly as they occur on my site, using this information to teach another pupil in a separate country, and posting these lessons on site to teach the world. This truly is something pretty incredible. But what really makes The Experience, for me, is my learning. By teaching Karen, and us both taking notes, I can really analyse my teaching methods. I am the instructor and I'm learning.

In this particular lesson 'Get out there – you stupid son-of-a-bitch!' I believe that I actually learned more than Karen.


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