Paul Arden | Tuesday, 3 August 2021
Following a post on the Board I thought I would discuss how I practise my fly casting. There are lots of ways to do this and if you have another plan I’d love to hear about it on the Board. My practise of course is sometimes very specific. Maybe for a competition and I’ll discuss that a bit too.
So the first and most important drill for me is Carry. Carry is about Tracking, Power Application, the Haul and Timing. It is my most practised routine. I do it differently from most and choose to stand on a height. Currently it is my boat roof. I like the height because this way I spend less time worrying about keeping the line airborne and more time shaping loops. With a doubt this one exercise, that I’ve been practising in this same way for the last 20 years, has been THE most important drill. I can explore different ways of applying force, I can just play and it’s a great feeling. I can carry 100’ of flyline from the boat roof very comfortably. There is no fly casting feeling for me that comes remotely close to this one.
My next drill is accuracy. I spend a lot of time working on shots. This can be rings, this can be floating leaves. I work on different speeds of delivery, different stops, and all the angles. With targets and Carry this makes up most of my training for the fishing I do here. I work on shots every day and it’s imperative for me that I can do this second nature, every time I pick up a rod.
Then moving down the list, I play with Speys and anchors. I particularly like aerielising all the Speys (so no anchors!) and playing with this with a lumiline and music. It’s one way I get my kicks. This for me is less structured. It’s me picking up a rod and having fun.
The other flycasting cornerstone is presentation casts. I work on these as I need. Generally not very much at the moment because, apart from Curve and Reach Casts, I rarely use them here in the jungle. I can also dial them back in pretty fast. If I am going to a fishing situation or a country where they are all over their presentation casts, then I spend a couple of weeks working through them systematically, throwing at targets, around obstructions and at different distances.
Building up to a competition I work on rings and, as a separate exercise from Carry for distance, I work on the Launch. For me I separate comp distance practise into Carry and Launch. Carry first, launch only when that’s dialled in. And then, finally after working on these separately for a significant time, only then do I measure. Mostly I work to keep my fishing casting in order. And tune up competition casting separately.
Constantly working on measured distance doesn’t work for me. It’s like any sport and I aim to peak on competition day.
However of all the above, I think this idea of standing high and working on Carry is something that maybe very few people do. I first started doing this from the roof of my truck, casting over a cliff above the River Waiau in New Zealand, with a glass of wine. Later, when I built my cabin in Hungary, I built a casting platform level with the roof. Now, here in the jungle, I have the Battleship roof to cast off. If there was one drill that has elevated my casting both literally and figuratively, it is this.
There is a drill that I would like to film, which is max carry min power. Get to your longest carry and gradually remove speed/power. This I find can really tighten up my game. I’ve had a pretty rough week however recovering from my second Covid shot. Very little fishing but I feel that’s all about to change. And hopefully, I can put a short video together later this week.
Above all else flycasting training is fun. If you’re not having fun then you are most certainly not doing it right!