There is a real vacuum down here in South Florida when it comes to casting geeks. With the exception of one past president of the Florida ACA, there is no other advanced CGs that I know. And although we both have enjoyed getting together for some fluff slinging, we both have to travel over an hour to meet in the middle and our schedules seldom coincide.
So, to actually watch other good casters, and to be presented with new ideas, that I can either absorb or reject, is a rare and very enjoyable experience.
I’m not really sure why casting in itself is so overlooked around here. The usual objection is why cast or practice when you can fish? South Florida theoretically has year round fishing weather and an embarrassing number of elite target species to chase. But I think it may be more about money.
There is a huge tourism industry to suckle. Anyone with a flats boat can and often does call himself or herself a fishing guide. Of course, to do it legit, you need a captain’s license (easily obtained by taking a course), and insurance to cover your ass, but some even forego those professional requirements. And if that “guide” has a fly rod, then they are a fly fishing guide. And, of course, they tell potential clients they can help them cast, since they are de facto a fly casting instructor. Some, but very few, try to become CCIs. Why cast when you can make money?
There are a number of true and/or certified instructors around the state. In fact, Florida is apparently a great place for celebrities to retire. Many continue to teach, and even offer an autographed photo of them with the student… for a small extra fee. Most don’t seem to want to hang out and cast though.
There is a Florida chapter of the FFi and it seems to be pretty well attended, just about everywhere other than in the southern end of the state. The chapter doesn’t seem to get a lot of support though. The “annual” conclave fell into an 18 month hiatus before the last one, and now it appears it will be 2 years before the next. And as for the local fly club I don’t have a clue as to what they are up to. It is but a shadow of the once thriving club that was down here but their principals abstain from attending the FFi conclaves. I was asked, and agreed to help with the club with only one caveat… don’t hold the meetings on the night I teach my class. So guess which night the meeting is on?
So, yeah, I enjoyed the camaraderie. I envy those of you who have more opportunities to cast with other CGs. It is, by far, the best way to elevate your game, whichever it may be.
To that end I may just well attend the annual FFi conclave in Montana this year despite the rather steep cost of getting out there. It may be the last chance to do so. An acquaintance with insight into the FFi relayed that things may be changing. There is a new president and CEO who has brought some fresh ideas, and the single annual meeting may give way to multiple regional claves instead. And while that may bring the FFi closer to me, the west coast casters might not be inclined to travel across the country. From what I hear, casting is much better appreciated over there.
I’ll stop whining and relay some stuff I found interesting.
Monic flylines had a booth. I’m not sure how well they are known around the globe, but they were once a very big thing down here, especially amongst the salt fly tournament anglers. To my knowledge, they were the first to produce a clear floating saltwater flyline. The knock against them was a lack of durability, but if you have the finances to participate in big money tournaments who cares about the cost of a flyline?
I had a nice long talk with their QA/R&D rep, and who knows, I might have convinced them that a long belly intermediate sink low stretch line would be welcomed by the tarpon addicts. I’ll let y’all know how that turns out.
They also have a line lubricant that seems to be a horse of a different color. The swag version came in a small pump bottle. When I tried it I was surprised that it comes out as a fine mist that seems to dry on contact. It definitely lubes the line but it is dry. So, instead of wiping the line with a saturated rag, I simply applied it as Paul suggests: I just sprayed it onto the line while still coiled on the spool. There is no oily feel to the line after application.
Information about Monic lines and MicroShoot should be on their website at www.Monic.com. (I actually have not checked yet.)
And, I will finish with a short note about, guess what… curve casts of course!
I watched Mac Brown give a demo where he revealed a significant bias toward dry fly and against nymphs and bobbers. Not surprisingly, he has a fantastic control of decelerated (aka under-powered) curve casts… among other slack line presentations. When the demo was over I approached him for insight into how to accurately place those curve casts. He went into deceleration and fading the rod to place the line on the water. To which I agreed but said that is how you determine the placement of the curve… but how do you target where you want to place the fly?
And a very rare thing occurred. Mac Brown actually stopped talking for a beat! If you know Mac you understand. He recovered quickly though, and presented me with a very astute and honest answer: “Practice”.