James tried to teach me, as did others at the BFCC, such as John Reynolds and Mike Heritage. Mark Surtees and Alex Titov both advised me on some good techniques to practice. I also had advice from Paul, Steve Kemp, Lee Cummings and JT. At one fishing show in Theale, Gary Coxon, an old friend of Derek’s, spent ages teaching me to double haul and by the end of the lesson, I was doing it! Though for some reason, things don’t always stick with me and I couldn’t repeat the success when fishing next. (This aspect of my ‘casting’ often results in an argument with James as he gets quite exasperated with me!)
It took me a few years to fully master the technique after lots and lots of practice. One useful training aid that I mention to others, who are learning to haul, is the 5wt shooting head that James made for me – that helped me hone my hauling significantly. I also learnt to improve my co-ordination by using my non-dominant hand for everyday activities, such as clicking the computer mouse. Now I double haul easily and I have so many people to thank for that. (I can also now do the ‘pat head and rub stomach’ thing!!)
I’m still working on improving other aspects of my casting ready for the distance competitions and again I have been ‘helped’ by many people, more recently by Steve Parkes, though as always it will take lots of practice for me to perfect my technique. Some people are natural casters, however, some like me need to work at it, but for me all the practice does pay off. My casting successes from 2016 are helping me to focus for 2017 with a New Year resolution to fish and practice casting more than ever before.
All the best for 2017,