Tracy&James | Thursday, 14 March 2019
It’s getting close to the first BFCC Meeting of 2019 – Devon on Saturday 30th March – and I’m looking forward to it as it’s my tenth year of competing. Back in 2009 I entered my first ever casting competition and cast 71ft with a 5# outfit. It wasn’t my first visit to a BFCC event though as it took me a few meetings to feel comfortable to cast in front of others, some of whom were (and still are) amazing distance casters. The other casters were so welcoming that I eventually had a go and then got tuition from some amazing instructors (you know who you are).
It was slow progress as I don’t consider myself a natural caster, though with lots and lots of practice (both on fields and whilst fishing) I was eventually able to cast around 90ft with a 5#, once I learned to double haul. I reckon I stressed out a few instructors who tried to teach me this as it took a few years for the double haul to feel normal – learning techniques to develop my dexterity helped. James and I are quite competitive at fishing and this improvement has definitely paid dividends with my fishing; when bonefishing James used to catch ~4 fish for each one of mine, that ratio is much more even these days
My casting approach then, and now, is the classic closed stance style, as I wanted to develop my casting technique to improve my fishing prowess more than I wanted to win at casting competitions. However as I attended more meetings and then even entered some Game Fair competitions, and sometimes won, I found that I had a mode that could be adapted for distance. Entering more competitions has helped me to hone my technique as I have been able to observe and learn from others with a similar style. Last year I became the first female to cast over 120ft with a 5# at a BFCC Competition and this year I am hoping to get back to full fitness and try to cast further, or at least repeat this. Casting with others and entering competitions has to be one of the best ways to enhance your distance. Also having my own personal coach is particularly advantageous as James has developed some amazing practice techniques to enhance aspects of my cast without changing my stance. He’s been able to advise others in the Club on these practices where appropriate with some interesting improvements showing in their distances too.
Hopefully my approach can show that whatever your style, you can improve your technique, cast further and become more adept at fishing too. It has probably helped that on our saltwater fishing trips I regularly throw large flies on wire leaders – you become quite focused on accuracy and technique to ensure you don’t hook yourself. It won’t be long before I’ll be flinging some big flies around again, hoping to catch some decent sized cudas and sharks (as well as my favourite species, the bonefish).
So whether you can cast 70ft or 90ft+, if you’re around Cullompton in Devon at the end of the month, come along and have a go as you could enhance your casting and have fun too,