Posts Tagged ‘fly casting

05
Dec
18

Fly Casting Champion (Maxine McCormick)

Women’s World Champion from Portland, Oregon. She practices at Westmoreland Pond in SE Portland and attends Cleveland HS….she’s 15 y/o! Maxine McCormick congratulations! The championships were held in England. She won two years ago in Estonia. The 2020 event will be held in Sweden.

https://www.koin.com/sports/15-year-old-is-best-female-fly-caster-in-the-world/1635320823

maxine fly casting_1543900195934.jpg_64082453_ver1.0_640_360

02
Apr
16

Last night…

my usually OCD dreams, gave way to a more meaningful, less fraught with frustration, event. I moved my way along the surface of a lake, and I walked the shores of a river casting the fly line with ease. Someone in my dream even asked me how I learned to cast so well. In my dream, I seriously thought of a fellow blogger, the Limp Cobra, and tried to demonstrate…this is a good sign, a signal of good things to come (not right away, because my dream didn’t factor in my pending ankle surgery in a month).

Here’s a nice little lake pattern, the Deer Hair Damsel, I tied/photo’d a few years ago. 

deer hair damsel-fly pattern-lakes-SwittersB

24
Mar
14

Adaptations: Lemons and Lemon Juice

“Life handed him a lemon,  As Life sometimes will do.  His friends looked on in pity,  Assuming he was through.  They came upon him later,   Reclining in the shade  In calm contentment, drinking.  A glass of lemonade.” Dale Carnegie

This morning, I was reading a piece over on Limp Cobra re casting styles. One of Marc Fauvet’s frequent topics is casting the fly line (hence Limp Cobra references a type of fly line presentation Marc created years ago). I was reminded, by Marc’s post today, that one has to adapt not only in fly casting mechanics under normal circumstances, but when things change in life due to physical limitations.

Photography-Injured Hand-Fused Wrist-Arthritis-Injuries-SwittersBYears ago, my right hand and wrist were repeatedly injured through various activities. Arthritis resulted in the right wrist and the pain became unbearable. Ultimately, my right wrist was basically disassembled, hip bone was brought in to replace the arthritic wrist, the new bone/joint was fused solid. Then a ten inch long titanium bar was screwed in from behind my middle finger knuckle up through the now fused wrist on up the forearm. Over the years, I have developed arthritis in my right forefinger and I am losing sensations in the finger tips of all the fingers. The fused right wrist of my dominant hand, was to some, an advantage in fly casting. I could now cast a fly line without breaking my wrist etc and the perceived imperfections of presentations. And, I have adapted pretty well over the years. It may not look pretty but it works. Even if the wrist does not break during casting, the shoulder can offer up some unusual machinations to alter the path of the fly line for sure.

At any rate, the long worded portion above is to suggest as a matter of course practice casting with your off hand…your non-dominant hand. Not for when you have that odd presentation, but in case you need it as life changes your physical abilities. I have had surgeries/procedures to my right hand, right wrist, left achilles, right achilles, neck, left shoulder and lower back. Throw in degrees of arthritis, aging, lack of fitness and the mechanics of casting (or any other physical endeavor) become very important. I have learned to cast with both hands now. When the right hand becomes fatigued from casting and all the fish I catch (tsk, tsk), I switch to the left hand and rest the right. A good benefit, too, is I get the fly out there and don’t make nearly as many false casts. More fishing, less casting.

Practice with both hands and visit Marc’s site at Limp Cobra and go back through his many posts regarding casting dynamics.

16
Feb
13

Fly Fishing: Impressionistic Patterns

Today, I was perusing a book by Darrell Mulch called Reading Water, An Illustrated Guide to Hydrodynamics and the Fly (2001). The book has a lot to contemplate while presenting materials about the holding patterns of fish in various hydraulic scenarios. 


reading-water-illustrated-guide-hydrodynamics-fly-darrell-mulch-paperback-cover-artOn the very last page, a section entitled The Beginning, there’s a passage that I thought interesting: “However, in a store, flies are usually tied to either attract fish or fishermen. That is, they are made to look like a specific insect or they are made to appeal to the fishermen’s understanding of beauty. Ugly flies, though, are constructed to interact and relate to the characeristics of moving water to produce an animate behavior. The image they present to the fish is dynamic; it is seen as a cinema (a sequence of events), instead of a snapshot (a moment frozen in time).” 

The ‘Ugly Fly’ patterns in the book are scraggily, wavy patterns that move upon and under the water’s ‘roof’ as Mulch calls them. I like the Cinema (fluid movements) vs. the Snapshot (static) idea. I have long suggested the impressionistic pattern is preferable to the perfect replica pattern on many occasions. Rather than being my excuse for sloppy tying, perhaps Mulch has given me even another reason to tie my unkempt patterns.

 

06
Oct
12

Fly Fishing: Wiggle Cast = Increased Hook Ups

In Handbook of Hatches by Dave Hughes, pages 87/88: “Learning to add wiggle to your emerger and dry-fly presentations will do more to increase your catch than any other single thing you can do, when you’re fishing over rising trout. Wiggle is important in the cross-stream reach cast. It is critical in the downstream wiggle cast. It can even help you take a few more trout in up-and-across-stream presentations. A little wiggle added to almost any cast will increase the likelihood that your fly will get a free drift. That will always catch you more trout, whether you’re fishing a mayfly emerger, dun, spinner, or any other insect imitation on the surface.

A nice fish to a chrionomid (midge) emerger.

Here is a short video that demonstrates the words describing the wiggle cast at Sexy Loops (remember shooting a bit of line makes all the difference on imparting the wiggles).

23
Aug
12

Casting the Fly Rod: Both Hands

SwittersB

Yes, that’s actually me fishing. Hard to believe. Now aside from the fact that I am a terrible double hauler…there is something else about this shot for you to consider for your own evolution.

My right wrist is fully fused. It has been for the better part of maybe 15 years. A titanium bar extends from right behind my middle knuckle half way up my forearm, secured with 7 screws. The wrist bone is actually a lot of hip bone, as the original bone was so badly damaged with arthritis it had to be removed and hip bone fused into the location. So, I can still cast ok with the right arm, my natural arm. But, my finger tips are partly numb and my knuckles are slightly swollen and painful.

But, after that surgery, a very painful ordeal I might add, I started out of necessity to cast with my left hand/arm. Yes, at first it was clumsy. At first, I played with the roll cast. But, today I am a passable caster with my left arm and you should be too. Not that you will have surgery necessarily.

But, injuries happen. Surgeries happen. Pain happens. Give it a try on a small scale. You won’t be wasting valuable fishing time. Or, go to a nearby park or your back yard or school yard and practice the stroke, the line management in your right hand, the single haul and if you are real coordinated the double haul (eventually). It will add to you arsenal, to your presentation. Of course, you will have to adapt to that reel handle being where it has always been should you catch a fish. Easy enough to switch over to the other hand as ‘normal’ to play the fish. 

24
Feb
12

Basic Fly Rod Waving w/ Lefty Kreh

GREAT BASICS BY LEFTY KREH FOR THE BEGINNER’s Fly Casting

Nice easy going basics on handling the rod to move the line. Look how nice and easy he makes it look. 

Legend Lefty Kreh throwing the line

17
Nov
11

Fly Fishing Presentation (Bugs & Other Food Sources)

As a beginner, or for someone coming back to the sport after a long lay off, your fly fishing presentation concepts probably will center around the mechanics of casting. As in any sport/outdoor effort, the mechanics of the activity are important for success and safety. 

However, I would encourage you to give equal or perhaps even greater emphasis to the food sources for fish and factor that into your presentation. The worth of a fly pattern is more important than dry, nymph, streamer tags. What do your targeted fish eat? How does that food source move in/on the water? Where are the food sources within the water column? How does that information factor into how you present the fly to the water?

Chironomid/Midge/Mosquito Life Cycle

This critical information in understanding the big picture, particularly if fishing blind (to the unseen fish, that might be holding nearby). How you present the fly will often be your assessment of what is emerging before you, or what your studies have shown to be likely present within the water.

Study the food sources. Study your mechanics of casting and how to cast. Study holding lies of fish (where they tend to rest and why they hold there…food/rest/safety). And, if you venture into fly tying (which I hope you do) then eventually learn what that fly is imitating (say, March Brown, Blue Winged Olive….) and then study the life cycle of those mayflies.

Mayfly Life Cycle (Kidfish.BC)

 Fly tying is a very creative, innovative past time. Don’t let the artistic, creative, innovative side blur the underlying intent….to mimic a food source that incites the take. Learn the food sources, buy/tie patterns that match food sources, learn how to present that food source in the most probable holding lie and good luck. Later, you can tie experimental patterns that perhaps don’t match the real food sources but still attract the fish’ attention. All part of the fun!

23
Jul
11

Beginning Fly Casting: Take a Lesson

Casting with Cushion Under Arm

“Some teach no movement in the wrist, or no movement in the elbow or no movement in the shoulder. Some teach the old method of holding a book pinned between the elbow and the body so as not to drop the book. Some use an analogy of pulling a light chain down to turn on a light. There are all types of devises and theories that were created in the past in an attempt to restrict the movement of those three joints in one way or another.

In establishing the certification program the Federation of Fly Fishers is attempting to standardize and improve casting instruction across the country. During this process a study in fly casting is emerging that is gradually clarifying the most important basics and how they can best be taught. This process is ongoing.

One fact that is becoming increasing clear is that each of us have unique body mechanics which must be taken into account.”  Floyd Dean…FFF Master Fly Casting

Fly Fish Louisiana

For the better part of my fly fishing life, I taught myself. No, that isn’t really true. I didn’t really teach myself. I adjusted. I tried to present a fly to a target and attempted to adjust the stroke to get it, the fly, there. I had no idea how my casting stroke looked. I tried to make sure I didn’t catch grass or trees behind me and out front, I wanted to land the fly ahead of the fish and entice a take. That was it.

Years later, at a shop, I stood looking at a rod in the shop. I did the usual tip shake. I looked at the handle and judged how it felt in my hand. I looked at the color…nice. All you really need to fork out a tidy sum? Not really. The shop owner said let’s string it up and have you cast it out in the parking lot. Well, I resisted as it was akin to taking a car for a test drive. Pressure to buy…just looking…thank you.

Well, there I stood in the parking lot with rod in hand and I proceeded to cast. My the rod loaded so sweet and I snapped that piece of yarn out there easily. Then it started…the casting critique. Hmmm? I was defensive at first. I didn’t need any stinking critique, thank you.

Fly Fish Louisiana

But, the shop owner, an accomplished guide, could immediately see my faults (tailing loop) and started the process of teaching me drift and a softer forward stroke…. It was my first impromptu lesson. Since then, I have had others, especially with a two hander. I don’t mind now. But, my bad habits are pretty well established. I study more on line now. But, wouldn’t it have been nice, way back, to have had lessons?

So, I advise you to take classes. Several. Be patient as each instructor pushes you, and your stroke, this way and that and learn the basics, the basics that always apply regardless of your (or the instructor’s) personal quirks. Take a lesson..take more than one.

Also, when you take on the effort to teach others, make sure you know what you are teaching. Your prior lesson(s) will help you impart the correct advice. Encourage the newbie to attend fly casting instruction events (FFF sponsored usually) and/or visit their local shop.

16
Jul
11

Fly Fishing & Tailing Loops

Tailing Loop

I wade out about as far as I dare. And, of course, the fish continue to pop up just beyond a comfortable casting distance. What do I do? Yes, I go for it. What results is overpowering my casts and a tailing loop and sooner or later, when it is totally inconvenient (I am in the middle of a hatch) I end up not just with wind knots but eventually a mess. What is worse, I don’t always see the mess, pressing onward and outward. Yep, there it is a mess and re-rigging time. Wind knots happen to most people (they say) and (they say) it reduces your leader strength by a reputed 50%. But, in my haste to reach those fish I push beyond a wind knot to a total stop in the action. So, I have vowed to slow down and fish shorter and smarter. Here is a nice little review of casting problems related to the railing loop at SEXY LOOPS

“The main cause of tailing loops (in Texas) is Forward Creep. Forward Creep is beginning the forward stroke too early. Anticipating the forward cast would be a nice way of looking at it. Either way it sucks. Your backcast is travelling backwards, your rod tip is travelling forwards, the backcast straightens pulling the rod tip under the Straight Line Path and you throw a classic tailing loop…..The tip path for forward creep is a Sine Wave.

Cure:…..If you are a complete beginner pause longer before you begin the forward stroke. If you are an intermediate learn to drift. Drifting is the antithesis of Forward Creep and is an important thing to learn if you want to throw Sexyloops.”





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