At my last practice session the weather conditions were good for distance work. With a 5 weight outfit, I generally start off with some single handed (i.e. non-hauled) casts and these are going as well as they ever have. At the weekend I was averaging 100ft plus from such casts with a fair few over 105ft. My problems come with the addition of the hauls, I’d expect my average to go up to 120ft plus with an occasional one in the 130ft region, but this just isn’t happening.
Some weeks back Tracy wrote about the new cameras we’ve bought for fishing this year. One of these has a slo-mo facility that will record video at either 120fps or 240fps (although you do take a hit on resolution for the higher speed). This has been invaluable in allowing me to assess what I’m doing wrong. [I’d recommend obtaining some slo-mo video of their style to anyone wanting to cast further, not just for competition purposes]. What I see on film is nothing like what I imagine, and pantomime, my cast to be like. By paying particular attention to the plane that the reel is in I can see where my tracking goes AWOL, this is subtle but obviously enough to lose me significant distance.
As an aside, Tracy filmed me carrying a 95ft, #7 weight fly line at the backing knot (see pics). In terms of line tension this all looks good, and although the tracking errors are still present, these don’t seem to manifest themselves in the loop. For me, the difference between a #7 and a #5 line is striking, currently I can’t get anywhere near a 95ft carry with the #5. I guess that leads on to another recommendation; if you want to highlight issues with your casting then go for a lighter outfit as heavier equipment can cover up issues by pulling the slack out of the system. Personally I’d prefer to see these issues and fix them, rather than hide them, as ultimately my casting will improve across all weights.
So what’s my plan? I’m coming to the conclusion that I can’t move my body like I used to be able to. As such, I’m thinking that I need to rebuild my distance casting stroke from the ground up, in order to achieve a style that works better for me. I suspect this isn’t going to be a quick process and I’m doubtful I will be ready for the first competition of the year (the first on the BFCC calendar is in April in Devon but Tracy and I won’t be there for that one). I’m reasonably confident that I can get back to where I was distance wise, however until I do, I promise that this will be my last FP moaning about it!
All the best, James