Physical and Mental Strength, Consistancy, Technique and Equipment in the Fly Casting WC 2018

Physical and Mental Strength, Consistancy, Technique and Equipment in the Fly Casting WC 2018

Bernd Ziesche | Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Last weekend I was in Cumbria (UK) at the Fly Casting World Championship 2018. I'd like to share some observations and conclusions about some of the key figures.

Some of my conclusions:

Physical strength (max strength and explosive strength) is far less important as is to master your technique. What you need is enough strength to fully control your equipment within your technique for some more than the time (mostly 4 minutes) you have in the tournament.*

Mental Strength comes with focussing and training to be in a tournament situation. You need to learn to get your best casting to happen exactly in the spotlight.

Consistancy comes with regulary training. The more often (not the longer per session!) you train, the more consistancy you get. The better you focus during the training, the more consistant and the better you will cast.

Technique (or style) comes with increasing your knowledge and adjusting your movements to whatever weather conditions are on. What matters most, is to fully master whatever technique fits you and the situation best.

The best Tackle Setup comes with the tackle you use most and then it has to match your technique and the weather conditons best. In trout distance and Sea trout distance most casters trained to cast pretty stiff rods though. For example Bernt Johansson hit Gold (44m) in trout distance with a Sage Method 990.

*Quite often I've come across a discussion between fly casting geeks about the impact of one's max physical strength on one's max casting distance. Several times it was said, that the best javelin throwers are mostly very strong (having lots of muscles) and being tall. I have never bought into the same requirements for fly casting! That is for different reasons:

1. A javelin always has one shape and one shape only while our loops are always dynamic.

2. A javelin provides more resistance that you can add your max force against.

3. As soon as your fly line isn't fully straight in the moment you start the cast, you change the line ends path for that cast massively by increasing line speed (adding more force). This may easily result in your line end to go thru some weird ways on it's way to the target. Easily this can be to disadvantage!

All that aside, when we compare two casters casting identical, using the same equipment in the same conditions (all else being equal as well) while they start the cast with a dead straight line AND having perfectly aligned the tip path of the next cast with that straight line, I think the caster adding more force will cast (little) further. This should especially hold true in tailwind conditions, because the tail wind reduces air resistance against the cast. Air resistance increases in square to line speed and casting against the wind (or in windless conditions) we come much closer to hit a wall. Remember how it is to throw a feather against the wind.

Now I already know, that not all experts will agree with me about the impact of physical strength (especially max force) to our fly casting. And that's fair. There is a hell lot of variables involved in fly casting and it takes probably (hopefully) more than a human live to figure them all!

But you know what, in this WC again it was impressively proven, that the more skinny casters, the veteran casters and even women can reach a top ranking world class level of fly casting and distance casting in particular. Isn't that fantastic about our sport!?

In regard of max physical strength and explosive physical strength it's fair to summarize: One can get a proper level of explosive strength without having a high level of max physical strength. For example one may be pretty skinny, but can develop a very fast wrist, which of course can increase distance in certain situations! Again mastering the technique is by far the most important skill.

Thanks a lot to all participants for giving me the chance of filming your casting and now studying all the details my eyes can only find by watching you casting frame per frame night in and night out. Besides all the fantastic exchange of knowledge you shared with me during the event, I can't wait to get into this.

Oh, and I indeed felt very much underfished in the end of the WC (even though Robert, Paul, Zhongxiang and I went fishing some hours within the event). So first of all I need to get directly back into fishing!!! ;)

Great fly casting to all of you!

The next fly casting world championship will take place in 2020 in Sweden. It will be very hard work to bring it to the same fantastic level of organisation where Lee Cummings took the WC 2018!

All my best

P.s.: I have to admit that for the first time ever Paul outfished me! He landed 2 HUGE (and strong fighting) flounders. Congrats, mate! ;)