Carol Northcut | Wednesday, 8 March 2023

I took a couple days off from practicing due to frustration rather than trying to push through it. With some distance from practice, some contemplation about previous instruction both good and not-as-good, and reviewing some videos, I was able to resume practice today with a better understanding of what I’d been doing wrong. My new understanding came from Paul, SL members and an OnForm video where one MCI candidate critiqued another: On the pickup, follow the angle made when lifting the line from the water. That angle will change with the length of line being cast but is preserved during the acceleration phase and final rotation. It’s a straight line. I had to mull that over because it’s not what I was originally taught, or at least how I understood it. That original instruction was to lift the rod tip to a certain height and then pull relatively straight back, horizontally. The result is that I had two separate angles: Lifting was one angle and translation was another. No wonder I was getting loops with diverging, instead of parallel, legs! Things finally started to make sense and today I was consistently getting better results on the initial pickup. It’s a clear example of overcoming an anchoring bias.

Yesterday I stopped in the other local fly shop. When I parked, there was a guy clearing snow wearing Teva sandals. I knew immediately he must work in the shop. Who else wears sandals in the snow but guides? Ironically, he doesn’t fish much in the winter because his hands get too cold.

We chatted for over an hour. It was truly enjoyable and entirely therapeutic, talking about everything from conservation to instruction to fly lines. I learned that SA plans to offer a line-testing program. Shops that agree to participate will have linesspecifically for testing, along with detailed information about the lines. With the retail price of fly lines being $90+, such a display is a great marketing tool. I’ve often questioned the reasoning behind spending marketing dollars on SWAG lines forshop owners while providing nothing for customers to test.

While in the shop, I learned that their in-house CI moved to Idaho, leaving a void in the area. I offered to teach women’s casting clinics at no charge in order to get more teaching experience. We’ll see how that works out, but in the meantime, I plan to go back and chat some more.

There is a third reputable shop in the area, 28 miles away. The owner is keen on good casting and the shop is close to a relatively-warm, stream-fed lake containing largemouth bass and pike. I look forward to visiting the shop and the lake. Thethought makes me happy. :))