Although the river season is over on the River Taw our fly fishing school still has it’s doors widely open. I met up with Keith yesterday who has never really held a fly rod before, bar a short stint on a river in Germany over 20 years ago, so he was pretty much coming at it as a newcomer.
He was keen to learn to fly cast and how to approach river, lake, pike and bass fishing. This was a really interesting proposition for me as with these forms of fishing listed there is a need to be able to cast at short and long ranges and to be able to land your fly accurately,overcome drag and to be able to turn over heavy flies. I was also keen that Keith went home with not only a good understanding of how the casts worked but also how to put them right if they didn’t go to plan.
I love this sort of stuff and was really looking forward to meeting up with Keith and to get him going. As ever, I was early knowing that Keith had booked himself in for one of the Fox and Hound’s “Full Devon” breakfasts. I met him as he tucked in and I sipped a coffee!
We headed off with a chat about safety and how the tackle works and I got him roll casting. Within a few casts I could see he was a natural. He immeadiately understood the use of a controlled wrist and letting the rod do the work. This was going to be fun!
One of the things that I notice as a fly fishing instructor is that people try and hang on to everything that you are explaining and can quite often suffer from information overload so I make sure that I explain everything as simply as possible and break things down into digestable chunks. It is easy to “get all technical” but I really believe that keeping it simple is best and as long as my guest has a good understanding then they will hopefully enjoy many hours on the water!
With Keith I wanted to make sure that as we were going to cover so much I didn’t give him too much to analyse as he was a natural caster. As a result when he picked up the concept and mechanics of the overhead cast I tilted the casting plane over to the side to let him see what was going on with the line and rod. This often allows the guest to visualise how everything is working making the overhead cast a whole lot easier and also gets the caster “false casting” really quickly and naturally without me having to explain until after they have learnt it. It also helps with timing, rhythm and casting planes although I try and introduce this during the roll cast as it shows there is nowhere you can’t get your fly to.
Needless to say Keith was a star and we covered just about everything including how to cast a tailing loop, slack line casts, drift, creep and he was double hauling with no problems at all. The fish better watch out!!
I checked my computer this morning and recieved a message from Keith
What a great day. I reallly enjoyed it and I came home confident that your tuition has given me the confidence to perform on the water.
Your relaxed style of teaching was great. You answered my questions and explained the mechanics of casting so well that I understood it and you also gave me lots of prompts to remind me of how and what is going wrong and also what it feels and looks like when I get it right and how to analise if things get out of synch. Great. I will certainly be keeping in contact and would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone who wanted to learn to cast and enjoy it.
I wanted to wish every single fisherman on the Devon rivers that has an extension good luck. Sadly we don’t have it on the Taw but I took my video down to the river after the rain we had on Tuesday. There wasn’t quite enough water but it didn’t stop the fish from wanting to move on.
to see a few Taw salmon.