December 13th, 2004

Card Table Tricks
"Make it Snappy!"
By James Castwell

Ever have trouble hooking a trout? If not read no more, this is for the very rare chap who on a very rare condition actually tries to hook a trout (insert fish of choice here) and actually fails at it. Zip, nada, zilch. No fish. No, the hook did not break, the tippet is fine, no excuses, the chap missed. Or did he?

Could it have been the fish? Yes it could have been the fish for any of many reasons. If the fly dragged it would be like an outfielder trying to catch a ball and having a string jerk it back just before it hits his glove. Or, the water is moving and so is the fly and he just misses the thing. Could happen, does happen. But are there any more reasons? Yes there are, and they are caused by you. Yes, I said 'caused.'

It may be something you are doing, working hard at in fact, and when you miss a fish, you try even harder and make it even worse. Seems silly doesn't it? Doing something that doesn't work and when it doesn't, try even harder to do the same thing!

Ok here, the fish makes a 'splashy-thingy' out there. Your fly goes away. You jerk the rod. The fish goes away. Your fly re-appears. You swear. You cast again and on the next 'splashy-thingy' you raise the rod even faster and harder. Still nothing! When he does that why do you insist on giving him slack? Even when it happens repeatedly, giving him even more and expecting different results?

There are three ways to hook a fish, two work, one doesn't. Guess which one you have chosen? Right.

Ok, here is the skinny, the poop, the real McCoy, the inside dope. Remember you read it first here. This is proprietary stuff. Only us old-timers know these things. You ready now? Can you handle the truth? Are you sitting down? Get a pencil... this is important.

Beg, borrow or steal a card-table if you don't have one. Only a card-table will prove this to you. Now, don't just read this, do it. Next week I will tell you step two.

Just kidding. Pay attention here now. Put your fly rod together. No reel, no line, just the rod. Stand back from the table holding the tip of the rod underneath the table. Yes, under it. Now, 'flip' the rod DOWN! Right, snap the rod toward the floor. Do it again. Again. Raise the rod to just under the table, and do it a few times.

Did you hear that? Did you? The little 'click' every time you flipped the rod down? Now, just what do you suppose caused it? Could it have been the rod? Naw, how could that have been the rod? "Reaction, equal action stuff here." When you first thrust the tip down, it first went UP! Every time. This is not my law, it's physics. Don't blame me, I can't change it. It will each and every time you do it. My oh my, what ever shall one do?

Well, stop doing that seems like a good choice! Why pitch slack? Consider this as an alternative method. It seems to have worked reasonably well for me for a few decades with few exceptions. Either one works. Method one. Just 'pick' him up. That's right, after the 'splashy-thingy' simply raise your fly rod. Chances are you will have a angry fishy on the end.

The other way is really fun; I prefer it in fact. Snap the rod AT the fish. Exactly. Right at the 'splashy-thingy' thing. With your thumb or finger on top of the cork, sharply snap the rod at him, the result will be the tip going UP! Right, up, in other words, back at you.

Well. Now there you have it. It is out. I hope I don't get too many nasty emails from other old-timers for letting you all in on this secret stuff, but live on the edge, I always say. Or how about this? "Make it snappy!" ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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