Moving Targets

Moving Targets

Tracy&James | Thursday, 5 October 2017

At the last BFCC Meeting (in Jersey) we had an accuracy competition on water held according to the World Championship rules (flies and all – at the BFCC we make do with fluff) and it was really fun to participate and watch. Many of us seemed to find targeting the line of the centre of the rings fairly easy, but had difficulty getting the distance correct. Personally I find I often cast past the target as I’m not that good at determining where the bit I can see, i.e. the fly line, should land in relation to where the fly ends up (I’m also particularly poor at trying to tell James the distance where a fish rose when fishing – much to James’ annoyance).

One of the tactics that should help with this is to count the number of strips that you pull line off the reel in order to determine that you have a bit more than 15m, which is the farthest that the accuracy rings should be. In Jersey, this tactic was how James realised that one bulls-eye of rings was set further away than 15m. After he failed to reach the target with the line stripped, we checked the distances with a very long fishing pole that we measured and marked up against a tape. The pole had a hook attached to the end and with help, Bob, from the Jersey Fly Fishers, gradually moved this hook across the water towards the farthest rings and relocated them closer. It was an ingenious way of moving the rings, and to ensure that we all started the competition fairly, Bob moved all the targets to provide us with a ‘new’ casting court.

During the competition, I noticed that the sunlight across the lake changed significantly and the scores started to decrease. Casters were struggling to see the fly as the low afternoon sun caused reflections off the water. Thankfully I was one of the earlier casters, so had set a reasonable score which saw me leading after everyone had finished casting.  As per the World Championships though, we decided there should be a final (I think James, who was in 2nd place, really wanted another opportunity to beat me!).  Amazingly I won again (just) but not with a very high score. This was probably due to the fact that I use the end of the fly line to aid my targeting, rather than the fly as others competing with me were doing (and then struggling with the light conditions to see the fly). 

So I wondered what else could help me to improve my accuracy score. Perhaps marking the leader at specific points to indicate the exact distance between the centre of middle ring and the front of the target?  This has however raised some questions about the rules – see the board for further discussion. 

I find softer rods easier to target with, rather than the stiffer rods I use for distance. I think this is because the softer rods feel lighter because there is less leverage due to their bend.  I also like to have a light reel so that the outfit isn’t too heavy, as continuously false casting for 3 or 4 minutes can be quite tiring.

It was great to be able to practice with an accuracy court on water and the Jersey fly fishers are so lucky that they have this set up whenever they want to practice (though they’ll need Bob with his very long pole to make changes). Back on the mainland, James and I practice our accuracy skills using four sticks to indicate the centre of the middle ring and a measuring tape to determine what we scored (if not too obvious) as this is much easier to set up and remove when casting on our local football field.  Although our scores are quite ‘average’ at the moment we both hope to make improvements in this event given sufficient practice.

At the weekend, however we will run an accuracy competition at our last BFCC Meeting of 2017 in Bentley, Essex and we’ll set up our accuracy targets on grass. We’ll of course also be running the distance casting competitions too, so if you are in the area, come and join us.


accuracy 1

accuracy 2

accuracy 3

accuracy 4

Bob pole

pole moving rings