I've just had one of those weeks.
Yes, it's been one of those weeks. Whilst away from the car, fishing actually, my trusty palmtop got rather hot. Of course, I didn't leave it lying in the sun on purpose; it just slipped out and sort of happened. The result is rather interesting though.
The palmtop has (literally) taken on a whole new dimension and reminds me of those ergonomic keyboards which, apparently, make typing more of a pleasure trip. However I can neither confirm nor deny this, as the Psion has decided that it would rather die than work again. I have a few friends who have a similar outlook on life too.
I've just heard (today actually) that due to the Foot and Mouth disease thing which happens to be sweeping the UK, the Chatsworth Angling Fair has been postponed. This doesn't come as a complete surprise. But does mean that one of the casts I was going to demonstrate may now be revealed right now.
Actually the cast was revealed in last months Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine. I write a small casting column in there with Charles Jardine. Basically I write and Charles illustrates. The editor does keep quite a hard line on me; last time I suggested wearing a crash helmet if you continually hook your thumb when bow and arrow casting. and this didn't even get through the first proof.
The Verticle Winch Cast
The fish is tucked in amongst a spagetti of overhanging branches and tree roots. The water is probably dangerously deep and any sort of conventional cast is impossible. I bet you can think of a dozen places which fit this description
Aha! For this cast I expect you're going to have to book a lesson, but I will try to describe the various complexities involved. Enter the verticle winch cast.
How to do it
The first part of this cast involves putting your tree-climbing skills to the test where you first have to climb the spagetti mass and dangle perilously over the dangerously deep water. Next, the fly is carefully lowered from the tip of the rod. Straight down to the fish's nose.
A joke you may think, but in the wild wild antipodes I catch many many fish using this technique. It is very useful beneath trees, overhanging banks and for those fish in ridiculously close, both on rivers and lakes.
As well as using this technique for dry flies, it is also quite useful when using nymphs. You can do this in those never-fished places.
Also worth trying is a leaded rabbit; just to see what's lurking in those shady deeps.
Either way, you can excite the fish by wiggling the rod tip a little. This either works or it doesn't incidentally.
It is quite a unique feeling to stalk the fish so closely. You can often watch the fish make it's mind up. Also, this is very much how fly fishing began, so it's not exactly new. Sort of puts you back in time. The Romans were doing it
This cast has a few major advantages worth discussing. Firstly, drag is not a problem as long as you can follow the fly with the tip of the rod. Secondly, presentation is superb as there is no tell-tale leader on the surface.
First, hook your fish
The point which one often overlooks in the general wave of excitment by which fly fishers live, is how does one land, or even fight, the fish? I mean, you are half way up some tree, and now you have to extract yourself - one handed - all the while fighting some raging bull below.
There are two ways. The first is for the novice and involves trusting a friend. The second is for the experienced and involves trusting fate. Dropping two or three metres into dangerously fast water certainly adds to the general thrill of flyfishing, especially when the water's icy cold, the rapids are just a little ways downstream and you've managed to get your flyline inexplicably tangled around your boots...
I return to the UK at the beginning of May. At some point during the second week I'll wander on over to the West Country. I'll be in Berlin from the 9th to the 17th of June. This is as far as I've got with my plans, and believe me I'm impressed with that.
I'm still recovering from my last ISP problems and have just had a check on broken links on the site. There are many. This is my immediate task. There is also the bulletin board to repair. But I plan to go CGI - if you know what that means. And then there are the newsletters which have been put on hold.
Big changes in the way the tackle shop is operated are underfoot.
If you are in the UK and about to start your season, then I wish you good fishing and I hope that Foot and Mouth doesn't stop you fishing your favourite stream.
Cheers - Paul