Boat life

Boat life

Paul Arden | Monday, 2 November 2020

I’ve been mostly chilling out this week and avoiding people. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone for 5 days. I was a bit worried that we were back under lockdown again, but I’m just moored up in a secluded bay. I need to avoid people sometimes; I’m sure you’re the same. KL is in Lockdown by the way, but that’s another story.

But it has given me time to chat on the Board. There a few interesting discussions and it’s kept me busy in a good way. I’ve also been fishing but not seriously. My serous fishing comes in waves and I’m expecting a tsunami soon. I think it’s sensible practise to fish hardest when the opportunities are best. Besides I do have other things to be doing; such as selling rods, running a business, looking at the stars, photographing elephants, cycling Zwift rides, lifting weights, casting from the roof, boat maintenance, talking to myself, drinking jungle juice, cooking curries, fly tying and drinking the occasional swim. It’s amazing I get any time to fish at all, but the flip side is when the tsunami fishing wave hits me, I won’t have time for anything else.


Everything to excess. That’s the key to life.


I’ve lost over 15KG this year. Mind you I was over 100 at the beginning. I’m at 87 now. From fat bastard to fit bastard! It sure makes a difference when climbing up and down the resort steps loading the boats. I have to carry the 30HP Yamaha back down that staircase tomorrow. I’m actually looking forward to it.


A few years ago I met an English couple at the rainforest resort bar who were pretty fit – considering they worked in office jobs. I asked them what they did and that’s when I first learned about indoor bike trainers connected to the Internet. Now I knew Spinning was hard work, because Carlos introduced me to it in Spain years earlier, but cycling and indeed racing against other people, in real time, in virtual worlds, that was unheard of for me.


As you might know, I do triathlons, I quite enjoy them but mostly it’s for fitness. So the first thing I planned to put in the bigger boat was a bike trainer. Most days I’ll do a 40-50Km race, or if there is nothing happening around when I plan to ride (it’s always last minute!) then I’ll do a 60 minute training session. Coupled with 30 minutes of weights I’m actually getting rather fit at the moment. There is still a ways to go, but isn’t there always?


Anyway, now on to what I’ve planned to talk about - Less Inappropriate Power!


You’ll often hear an instructor telling you to cast with less power. And then you go online and see distance casters busting their guts to get another inch out of the cast.


It was really driven home again to me last week, while working on my left handed distance cast. I’m not very good with the left. I’ll beat most people who aren’t very good with their left hand either, which is most people in fact, but the people who are good with their left hand will always stick it past me.


Something I often hear from others, is the argument “I’m not strong enough with the left hand”. Bullshit. The truth is we are just not coordinated. I use my right hand to teach my left hand to throw and I use my left hand to teach my right hand to haul. It’s a clear case of “Mirror Mirror on the wall why is my left-handed casting crap?”


And it turns out I’m using far too much Inappropriate Power. I try to grip the rod too tightly, I’m forcing it through too wide an arc. I’m doing the right bits, but it’s all the wrong bits I’m doing as well that’s killing the cast. You’ve got to be smooth baby...


It’s a fascinating exercise. Of course if you haven’t learned to cast effectively with your dominant hand, then you should concentrate on that first, because the result of mirroring would be two crap casts. However, if you have learned to throw effectively – by which I mean efficient, smooth, repeatable loops – then there is much to be learned from picking up with the opposite hand.


I remember trying to learn ambidextrous flycasting when I was 15 years old. It didn’t work. I did have a big breakthrough in my late 20s when I learned to haul with the right hand. But now, I finally feel that I’ve made some giant steps forward. It took the lumiline and some seal’s fur to do it, but there has been a significant jump and I cannot tell you how much it infuriates me at how difficult I find it!


What I find truly fascinating is how critical are the tiny things that we do in “elite” level casting that we often overlook in teaching. Tiny things, such as the small inwards twist of the hauling hand at the end of the haul. Or the precise angle and contact point the hand makes to apply force to the grip. It’s these tiny intricacies, developed through decades of practise, that mirroring your cast will reveal - because you’ll have to work out what the hell they are. It’s a long series of enlightening revelations. Furthermore, it teaches me things about my right handed casting that I can develop. Sometimes I think I should be paying myself.


Anyway that’s one of the things that’s been keeping me amused this week.


Ashly is back later today. I have a filming assignment for her that’s going to keep her very busy. First up: The PUALD Competition. (And yes, Nick, she can video me talking about the Flip-Flop too!).


Have a good one.


Cheers, Paul