Well, I came second overall which I am pleased with, considering I haven’t cast some of the gear (T38, S55 and the dreaded T120). Why was it the dreaded T120 I hear you ask? Well, I got severely whipped with it on my first cast and it managed to get stuck in a zip! Ouch. Never mind, a dangling end and a slight wind to the side was the cause of that, but once I got into it, I managed to hit my furthest ever cast. I got some really great advice from the experienced competitors which I was very grateful for, notably the zig zag pattern for shooting line management, and the technique of wrapping the shooting line around the tip of your finger (once) for the S55. A special thanks to James for helping and showing me the best possible technique to chuck the outfits.
The first event was the accuracy, which was really difficult with the wind. I’ve made some WC targets, so I have been practicing quite extensively in the garden, but it kind of went out the window when I tried it. The hovering didn’t really work, because the cross wind blew it off course when you placed it down. My tactic was to just go for it and hope for the best, which seemed to help. I was handed an outfit after somebody finished, so I decided to use that, as I could see the green fluff better than my orange one. I had the HT6 setup with a Ballistic #5 ready to go, but I didn’t end up using that. Rather than relying on sight alone, I use feel. The targets are placed randomly from 30-50’ so I practice this a lot to get the feel of the line in the air. I can then use sight and feel to give me the confidence that I am at least close to the target.
The T38 was next, followed by the S55 and finally the T120 (for me) and I got some great advice from James, Tracy and Stuart as I’ve never cast these before. I don’t think I did too badly, but I really enjoyed casting the T38 and the S55, I may give the T120 a miss next time!
After lunch it was the events that I have been training for, the #5, #7 and the ST27. I cast the ST27 first as the wind was nice, and I was pleased with the result. I didn’t feel like I cast it as good as I possibly could, but the loops were consistent and stable. The next one I decided to cast was the #7. I felt like this was the best event I cast that day, hitting distances that were similar to training days. The last event was my poorest effort, and I didn’t feel like I connected with a good back cast on any of them. I think this was down to tiredness and trying to ‘smack’ it out there, which never ever works. It messes up your tracking and you tend to rotate far too early etc.
So what could I have done differently? Usually I’m in the mid to high 120’s with the #5, and that’s quite consistent even with no wind. The wind was so strong that I couldn’t get my max carry into it, which was mainly down to hauling slightly too early on the back cast (thanks Steve for pointing that out afterwards), and having a tracking fault. I need to work on the later haul which is difficult, and I like to think of Mel Kriegers tongue click, which I am doing when the wrist turns over at the end of the stroke. This really helps, but I need to keep practicing it. The other thing was the trajectory, it was slightly too low, so I need to focus on launching much higher than I thought! Overall it was a cracking day, and everybody produced some wicked casts. It was great seeing James and Tracy again as it’s been far too long. Here are the distances from last Saturday.
Tight lines everyone!
Accuracy: 30 points
T120: 188’ 10”
S55: 163’ 2”
T38: 165’ 1”
ST27: 159’ 11”
#7: 133’ 5”
#5: 119’ 10”