I was thinking about the myriad of skills one needs to learn when coming into fly fishing. Casting, the fishing, the flies, flytying, wading, and much, much more.
Even as more experienced, one can contineue to learn and of course hone skills. Right now I'm on the Gaula in Norway, and I thought about something yesterday, which might seem simple and logical, but none the less, it's an essential skill.
We're casting and fishing doublehanders with shootingheads. Hence we have shooting line to deal with. If you can handle the shooting line it'll wash off downstream, and you'll reduce your casting distance dramatically. You also risk tangles and snags on the rocks, and even potentially breaking your line.
One needs to learn how to handle long lengths of shooting line. Line trays and the likes are no-go in a river - too dangerous.
The way to do is to pull in your line and hold it in loops of ever decreasing size. If the loops are of equal length, they'll tangle on almost every cast. Loops of decreasing sizes sometimes tangle, of course, but rarely. I hold the loops in my left hand and pull the shooting line under the reel (also to reduce the risk of the line catching the reel or the handle). I grab the bottom handle with my forefinger of the left hand, and manage the loops with the rest of the fingers, so to speak. That way I can release the loops, and still control the rod.
It's a simple matter of counting with you retrieve the shooting line. Depending on the lenth of line out, start with maybe five pulls, the four, then three etc. It becomes second nature and I don't think about it.
A simple skill, yet essential.
Right - the salmon are moving, I'm off to manage some shooting line.
All the best of luck to all the guys at the WC!
Have a great weekend!