Chicken Scratch-For Gary

Chicken Scratch-For Gary

Andy Dear | Sunday, 29 September 2019

Over the years I have been known to try some crazy exercises to aid in mastering whatever pursuit I may be engaged in at the time. Back when I was heavy into playing the Guitar, I engaged in all kinds of crazy practice regimens to aid in my knowledge of the fret board. And, I know I am not the only one who refuses to admit or discuss all of the ridiculous things I've done in desperation to improve my golf game. Fly casting has been no different, and to be honest I cant believe I am about to put my lunacy on display for all to see by sharing this particular technique with the entire on.

The week before last I wrote a piece entitled "woodwork" that outlined my use of 2x4 lumber to turbocharge one's effective real-world accuracy. It seems to have hit home with a few of you guys, because Gary had some very kind things to say about this type of practice in his followup Front Page titled "In praise of Woodwork".

In Gary's piece he outlined that one of the major stumbling blocks in real world casting was the inability to replicate fish that are actively moving, and of course he is 100% spot on. Without the use of some sort of remote controlled moving target, it is very difficult set up a practice scenario where one can cast to a moving target. Not only is it cost prohibitive, it requires two people to actually facilitate the practice session.

Redneck ingenuity to the rescue....Gary, I have your answer. I stumbled on to this by accident about a year ago, and I swear it has vaulted my real world casting accuracy light years ahead of where it was previous to discovering this technique. I have hesiatated to write about it for the simple fact that very few of you will be able engage in it for more than a few reasons, the first of which is that from an objective observer standpoint, it looks absolutely ridicoulous.


That's right, poultry, fowl, YARDBIRDS as we call them here in the south. My wife has a flock of about 18 free range chickens that we raise for fresh eggs. About a year ago I happen to be casting on the same patch of grass where the chickens were feeding. On a whim just to amuse myself, I cast the yarn fly in front of one of the feeding hens, and to my amazement as I stripped it past her, I'll be danged if she didnt think it was an insect. She chased it for several feet, and actually tried to eat it.

As I sat there and watched them scratch and peck, it dawned on me that these birds act and feed almost EXACTLY like fish....especially Bonefish. They tend to stay together in small groups occasionallly straying a few feet from one another, but rarely further than that, They feed and move somewhat eratticaly and schizophrenically in both speed and direction, and in an only a very slightly predictable manner. Most importantly they provide feedback when the fly is presented correctly.

The only problem is that like fish, they're actually pretty dang smart, and after a dozen or so casts they've wised up and will no longer chase the yarn fly. This doesnt necessarily negate the benefits of the practice, as like so many of the fish we cast to, whether or not they chase the fly doesnt change the fact we made a proper presentation. The bigger picture here is that were actually casting to something that is alive and moving on its own volition, which really is the holy grail of real world casting.

So there you have it, my once secret practice regimen now on full public worldwide display for real world accuracy and distance to a moving target.

Hope you all have a great week,