When I started fly fishing over 20 years ago, after a few ‘lessons’ from James, we realised that I would really benefit from proper casting lessons and I went to my local tackle shop, Foxons in St Asaph, N. Wales - one I still frequent now even though I live in the south of England – and booked casting lessons from an AAPGAI instructor, Derek Turner. His lessons helped me to cast well enough to fish and over the years, with further casting advice from James and many different instructors, I have developed my casting style.
I have always cast closed stance, as taught by Derek, as I have focussed more on retaining my tracking for fishing than necessarily going for distance records. Tracking is one of the errors I see regularly in anglers and, as you all know, good tracking is very important if you want to accurately cast at fish. The lessons and advice have also helped improve my hauling and power application, all of which helps to minimise the tangles in the leader when fishing – I still remember the days when I would have to change my leader/tippet regularly due to knots; thankfully this is a rare thing for me nowadays.
Hence, I always advocate to people that they should have casting lessons no matter how good they are as they can always improve, so on those windy days they will still be able to cast to the fish. I still have plenty to learn about casting and fishing, and will happily take up advice from others to improve. Entering casting competitions provides you with the chance to watch how others cast and learn aspects from their styles that may help you with yours. Competing also forces you to up-your-game and helps you focus on the bits of your casting that you want to improve.
We’ve just had the last BFCC competition event of the year, so I’m looking forward to practicing in readiness for next year’s competitions; so come along and join in, we especially need more women competing.