Horses for Courses

Horses for Courses

Andy Dear | Sunday, 22 September 2019

In last week's Front Page I laid out the architecture for my latest "casting course". As I described, the use of 2x4 lumber has really accelerated the learning curve to better accuracy and precision. However, the layout is only the beginning. Finding creative ways to utilize the layout is really where the fun begins.

  Two years ago when my then 8-year-old son wanted to learn how to fly fish, we, of course, began with the fundamentals of the overhead cast. Once he had a rudimentary understanding of the physics behind how a fly rod worked, I wanted to get him, as quickly as possible to the point where he could catch fish. This is where the genesis for the use of 2x4 lumber to simulate fish actually began.

  Jackson is a highly competitive kid, and I knew that I'd have to tap into his competitive spirit in order to keep him interested in a regular practice routine. To that end, I came up with a series of games that kept the practice sessions a reasonable length, but most importantly fun and exciting.


  Currently, Jackson is enamored with Basketball, and quite often in the evening, we engage in a friendly game of H-O-R-S-E. For the uninitiated, (per a quick search on wiki how) "Horse is a basketball shooting game where players take turns shooting at the hoop from different locations. If someone makes a shot but everyone else misses, those people get a letter toward the word 'HORSE'. The last person left standing wins! Get your best trick shots ready because HORSE is a great chance to show them off! You'll need at least two players, but there's no limit to the number of players who can join in."

  I'm not really sure of the origins of the game, but I grew up in the 1970s, and we played HORSE then.....so it's been around a REALLY long time. One day it dawned on me that a modified version of this game with fly rods would be a lot of fun. What we do is set up eight or ten 2x4s and then play the game as it would be played with a basketball, but with a flyrod. The goal is to make the shots as technically demanding as possible to make it difficult for your opponent to execute, thus gainaing a letter. Many times we will dictate some of the nuances of fishing casts, like the maximum number of false casts that are allowed or even the maximum number of inches that the fly can land from the target. It can get quite demanding, which is great, because it builds skill, but breaks the monotony of of regimented solo practice.


  This last spring Jackson came up with the idea of changing the name to something more appropriate like REDFISH since we were playing the game with flyrods instead of a basketball. Many of these games can go on for quite some time, as the better the casters perform, the more demanding the shots must become to gain a letter Because of that, on days where we don't have a lot of daylight to angage in an extended session, we'll play DRUM or BASS or CARP which takes half the time of REDFISH.

I am dreading the day Jack decides he wants to play BARRAMUNDI....we're liable to be there all day!

Hope you all have a great week!

Andy