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Ronan's report

Tuesday March 18th, 2008

I'm working on a DVD review at the moment, The Lost World of Mr Hardy is a documentary about the history of the Hardy tackle company - from Hardy Brothers, to the modern company, a quite excellent piece of film making, however, that's not what this is about.

That film contains a short fascinating casting clip. I'm nagging the film makers to send me more. You can find a taster here (click on the central panel). The excerpt starts with a couple of gents treating a silk fly line then cuts to a casting platform. The caster is not wearing camo.

Look closely at his casting style. Note his stance. Watch his rod hand and check what he does with his line hand. We can't be sure who that is but we do know the film was made by/for one of the Hardy brothers, actually filmed by his chauffeur. The film dates from the mid to late 1930s certainly the oldest casting clip I've found.

The caster is clearly not doing what we are told British or English fly-fishers of that time did. His stance is not closed, his style is not upright and he is double hauling. He is casting with a cane rod and silk line, it's likely he's a tournament caster, possibly one of the Hardy brothers, I suspect not.

I'd love to know more. If anyone recognizes the caster from old books I'd love to know who that is.

Incidentally Marvin Hedge, the American caster credited with being the first to use the double haul in tournament, visited the Hardy's and worked with them on a series of specialized fly lines.

"In 1938, after a visit by the American casting legend Marvin Hedge at Hardy's, the company introduced "Tournament" lines of 43 and 53 yards length, respectively, named "Marvin K. Hedge Taper". These lines were manufactured by the "SA Jones Line Company" of Norwich, NY, and stocked in 11 sizes, numbers 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 26, 70, 75, 80, from "Fly Weight" to "Heavyweight Distance Tournament". They were only catalogued for one year, as the outbreak of WW II precluded any further importation from the United States."

It is feasible that is Hedge in the clip, but since the little I can find on Hedge says he used a closed stance it seems unlikely.


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