candid camera

 
Recently I visited a (fairly) local reservoir to get some much-needed practise in the art of casting. I do not fish as often as I should so every time I get to a beat or reservoir I have to start with the basics all over again. With me, at the moment, the rod and line represent a job in themselves, rather than being merely tools for the job. Thankfully I have a patient and determined instructor who is quick to point out the problem(s). I started well enough but I soon started to produce what I call ‘twanging’ – ie, bringing the rod down too fast and low so that the tip ‘bounced’ at the end of the down stroke with the result that the line tangled as it passed beyond the rod tip. Another problem that can result from this fault is that if the line does manage to pass successfully past the rod then its presentation onto the water surface is heavy/clumsy and is usually in the order of line-then-leader so, if the fish are watching, the nice coloured line splashing down gives them plenty of warning that I am on the bank.

This was quickly spotted by my mentor who provided the solution both in words (for me to listen to and remember) and actions (demonstrating with his rod for me to watch) and even by holding my arm as I attempted to emulate the correct technique. All to no avail. I have to say that for some reason I could not get it. Maybe it was because I was several feet above the water surface (fishing off a pier) rather than being in the water (my normal habitat) but I was not having much success. In fact the more he watched the more I made a balls-up of it.

After lunch I thought I had got the hang of it. I spent some time feeling pretty pleased with myself and casting in all directions. I even started doing the fancy stuff – hauling. So we left (complete with a new story to tell about a very big fish that got away) with me thinking I was now well sorted in regard to (at least) basic casting.

A couple of days later I get an e-mail containing a short film. It was of me casting. At first I was acutely embarrassed but then I started laughing. Quite simply, I looked for all the world as if I was cracking a whip like the lion-tamers used to do in circus acts. All I needed was the chair in my left hand. I think the lion would have eaten me though.

Moral of this story – get someone to film you casting – it reveals everything, warts and all. As a aid to training it is the way to go. I sure don’t want to look like a lion tamer again...