Four in one

Four in one

Tracy&James | Sunday, 9 July 2023

Tracy and I have had a busy couple of weeks, firstly with a BFCC meeting in Cheshire and then a trip to Scone Palace in Perthshire for the Scottish Game Fair, with some fishing added on the trip up. Things don’t really get any less busy in the coming weeks either with a BFCC meeting arranged for the 22nd of July near Bath in the south-west and then the English Game Fair weekend later in the month at Ragley Hall in the midlands on the 28th-30th (although we have to arrive a day early in order to get set-up).

Those that read my FP’s will know that I’ve been coaching a junior caster, Callum, in the BFCC competition events.  We’d identified two junior records, in the accuracy and the salmon overhead (S55) events, which were particularly vulnerable to being beaten.  Callum is quite a natural caster, and it didn’t take many sessions before he was comfortably beating both records in practice, although getting him to put time into improving his accuracy wasn’t easy – he much prefers slinging down distance casts.  I should also mention that he doesn’t have his own S55 outfit, so his practice with the double hander was limited purely to the time when we cast together, with Callum using my outfit.  However, given how far his best casts were going (I think his PB steadily improved to the point where it was 40ft above the record), I was very confident that the records would fall….but then came his injury which put him out of action for a good few weeks.

As such, Callum missed the event in Willesborough, Kent that he had planned on going to.  This was a real shame as there was a reasonable wind blowing and some big casts were measured – not least by Bart who beat my #7 BFCC record.  Luckily there was an additional event in the calendar this year, to coincide with the World Fly Fishing Day, that Callum would still be a junior for (just) – the event in Cheshire.

The first time Callum cast the accuracy event it’s fair to say that he didn’t fully understand the rules.  This time I was confident he knew them, plus some other tips such as keeping count of the aerial strips in order determine the length was correct.  I was therefore very pleased when he pretty much doubled the existing junior record – returning a score higher than anything I’d seen him do in practice.  So one event down and one target achieved.

After the accuracy event the BFCC schedule typically moves on to the ‘heavy’ gear i.e. the T38, T120 and the S55.  Callum had gone very close to the T38 junior record at the first meeting he attended, however this time he couldn’t match that performance.  The T120 isn’t really his thing (yet!) so there were no expectations there, so that left the S55.  Given the weather, I was confident that it was more a case of how much he would beat the record by, rather than whether he would beat it, so long as he held his technique together.  He did, and his longest cast sailed a clear 30ft beyond what was required – so two records in the bag.

Next up, in the afternoon, we cast the #5 and #7 trout distance and the ST27 events.  I’ve witnessed Callum beat the junior records for all of these in practice, but not by such a margin that gave any confidence that it would definitely happen in the 3 minutes of competition on any given day.  It was therefore a bonus that he broke the #5 trout distance record, albeit by the smallest margin possible at the BFCC – one inch!  He then went on to extend the ST27 record (that he already held) by 8ft, finishing in 2nd place in that event overall – beating me.

So, four records beaten in one day – I think it’s fair to say that Callum (and myself) was pleased with that.  As he will turn 18 very soon, he now has to start looking at the senior records of Bart and others.  The good news is that he has 32 years to work out how to beat them before he officially becomes an ‘oldie’.

Next week I will write a review of the Scottish game fair casting competitions.  The picture of the day is a rather nicely coloured trout that I caught from the river Clyde when we stopped over on our journey up.  I hope you have a great week whatever you are doing.