Monday 28th July, 2014
It's been a long time since I've trained my distance cast. I started taking distance casting seriously back in 2002! And over the subsequent four years or so, I invested a considerable amount of time training it. Since then, apart from a brief spell in Exmouth, most of my training time has been long weekends or even just a couple of afternoons grabbed prior to a competition. However I'd very much like to take my "A" game to Norway, so I started preparations with the Gamefair last weekend and a casting weekend just gone.
I find it fascinating relearning things you knew but have forgotten and working through new ideas and experiments. "Casting training" is really "casting learning" because you are continually making small stroke modifications while trying to ingrain the stroke you ultimately want. Even when you know the stroke you want, you still have to teach yourself how to get there!
At the moment it's all play. Enjoying the feel of the tackle, shaping loops, deciding on the stroke I want to build. The distance is less important, despite it being the final purpose of the exercise. It's like freedom running; running without a heart rate monitor or a stopwatch. In many ways it's the most enjoyable part. It's the foundation and most of our time should be spent doing this IMO.
But quite soon, the clock will be ticking, the video cameras running and the competition practise will begin in earnest!
I had quite a few epiphanies these last two weekends. A major one being that I should switch stance again. I reverted to what we call "open stance" in Exmouth three years ago, mainly because I really wanted to learn it and all of its nuances - that and and when I picked up my distance casting, while hanging out with Jacko, I had some serious tracking issues, and the stance change immediately fixed them!
But while throwing the lumi-lines with Trev and Lee last night, I came up with some really good reasons as to why I prefer the other stance ("closed"); facing the forward target, the launch, force application and haul are I believe all improved (for me at least!). And more and more, I actually feel that this is truly "open stance" - certainly when it comes to the forward delivery.
So I have to admit to being really excited about all of this and to having a great time distance casting again!
Finally, I should add that Lasse was right. It's not very often that he's right of course, and so it came as a complete surprise. But a few years ago Lasse told me that he used the same stroke for throwing shooting heads as he does full lines. Now I've tried it with various set-ups and I knew he was wrong, as he normally is. However while experimenting with rods to throw Lasse's shooting head and jammed reel that he kindly lent me, I tried the prototype 9ft 10 weight Hot Torpedo.
It turns out that when you have the perfect rod/line match - as it appears this combination provides - that you can 170 stroke for all it's worth, and the thing positively flies. And I have to say, it's a shitload of fun!
So thanks Lasse, and sorry for doubting you; you had to be right once in your life.
Finally it is starting to look like I may be the British Team. Tomo has pulled out and Lee isn't sure. It would be nice if we could find some sponsorship money. So if you are a British business and would like to sponsor the British Fly Casting team to get to the world championships, then please let me know! Otherwise it could just be me sleeping in the car park. We are hoping very much to host the championship in two years time.
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