130 is the new 120

130 is the new 120

Tracy&James | Thursday, 27 December 2018

I’ve left this page pretty late on Boxing Day to write. We’ve been to two family gatherings today – first a Christmas dinner with Tracy’s parents and secondly an evening gathering with my immediate family. It was Tracy’s turn to drive, so I’m quite a few glasses of red, a couple of beers and a whiskey and coke or two down at this point (Tracy is also on proof reading duty so if there’s any spelling or grammatical errors you can blame her).

Since arriving in North Wales I’ve done a number of extended 5 weight casting sessions.  The weather has been unusually mild and calm (perhaps this will be the norm from now on given the climate change we’re experiencing).  I normally only practice for an hour or so but I’ve become immersed in trying to improve my distance to the point that each session has lasted 3 hours or more.  As I write I’m inspecting the damage I’ve inflicted to my hands and wondering whether there’s any information to be gleaned from where my blisters are.  One rub is immediately underneath my little finger and another is on the second joint of the finger next to it – along with the normal distance caster’s bruise on the forearm.  I’m at a loss to pin-point anything from this other than I’m clearly gripping too tightly.

What’s been interesting with these elongated casting sessions is how consistent they’ve been.  I start with some warm-up exercises and then progress into distance work.  Once the tape of truth is out I’ve been starting with casts in the 115 – 120ft range.  I then tend to have a few strong words with myself over some various technical issues after which my average moves up to around the mid 120’s.  Then I’ll hit some casts that I’m really pleased with – every session so far has contained some 130’s, followed by a decline as I get tired.  What concerns me from a competitive aspect is how long it takes me to get to my casting peak – it seems like this is at least 40 minutes into every session.  As such, it’s clear that I’m never going to be at this point in a BFCC competition as more often than not I’m going into the timed 3 minute session with no more than 3 minutes of warm-up.  I’m not sure what I can do at the moment to ensure that I’m at my best for a casting comp other than having strong words with myself on the drive to the event.

The average winning distance for the #5 weight event at the BFCC last year was 124ft 6in, although this figure was slightly skewed by King Bart at the final event chucking 138ft.  As such, it appears that 120ft is not going to cut the mustard anymore, and if you have serious intentions to win then you need to be hitting 130’s or above (certainly in practice anyway).  I’m not there yet with any consistency, but hopefully I’ll get there at some point.  If not I’ll just blame lack of warm-up time!

This weekend I hope to be casting at Millom again, with Paul, Lee and others.  There have been some fantastic distances recorded in recent events there and hopefully I won’t embarrass myself by not performing at my best.  Maybe Paul will remember to check his leader this time so he won’t get disqualified, however I do count that as a rare win against him so secretly I’m hoping he’s found to be casting with an illegal outfit.

Have a great weekend whatever you’re doing, and a Happy New Year from both of us,

James and Tracy.