Last year was a pretty competitive one at the BFCC, the average winning distance in the #5 event was 124ft 6in and for the #7 event it was a shade over 130ft. As such, competing to win requires you to cast extremely well, and for me producing long casts in the 3 minutes of competition comes off the back of good practice distances. I was therefore pretty disheartened after my first session. Only on the walk home did I bother to analyse what was going wrong – I guess I expected to put the tape down, bang out some 120’s with a #5 and then go home for a nice latte. The next day I returned with a proper plan.
Distance with the #5 relies on the controlled carry of quite a length of line, typically in the region of 85ft. By ‘controlled’ I mean that you have good line speed, no tracking issues, tight loops (or morphing tight) etc. If you can’t hold the line in the air for, say, 10 casting cycles then I don’t really think you can claim to be in control. I measure my carry by putting a piece of tape on my line at a specific distance and then feeding line into the cast until I’m holding the ‘tag’. As it was I found that 80ft was easy (in fact picking up at this point, i.e. with the fly just past 90ft, was pretty clean) but things were going astray at 85ft. So from good to bad in the space of 5ft. The cause was the obvious one – a build-up of slack from a slight tracking error. Over the next few weeks I will be working on this with the aim of getting back to a controlled carry of 90ft, thus making the typical competition carry of 85ft easy. If this goes to plan then hopefully I’ll be competitive when I next cast at the BFCC. Interestingly my max carry with a #7 is still at 95ft plus. I suspect this is due to the extra momentum of the line pulling the slack caused by my tracking error straight (surely I must have the same issue irrespective of the outfit?).
For those interested in attending a BFCC event this year the calendar is published on the Facebook page and the website (although some dates are still to be finalised at this point)
I hope to see you at one, where my tracking will be much improved