This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

May 13th, 2002


Today was one of those perfectly glorious days when it really seems like spring. This afternoon my husband JC was seen gathering up a fly rod and reel which were 'waiting' on the kitchen table. Seems he anticipated that I just might decide enough of work, let's go get an ice cream cone.

An ice cream cone here is a major adventure. The place where we go isn't that far, about 8 miles, but it is a National Historical Landmark. The whole town. It's Port Gamble, Washington. The ice cream is in what used to be the 'company store', now a neat gift shop with a little café. There is a sea-shell museum upstairs on the open balcony, and downstairs is a serious historical museum.

Instead of boring cases of stuff, the museum is about the origins of the town, including the Captain's cabin of the ship which discovered the region, the ship creaks and the horizon changes through the porthole. Rooms are set up displaying the various lifestyles of that time period. If you are on the west coast of Washington it's worth seeing.

We got our ice cream, wandered around the park for a bit, and then drove a few blocks to one of the 'village greens' and the fly rod and reel were set up for some casting practice. JC was also experimenting with adding an extra stripping guide and he wanted to see if it would make a difference in how the rod cast - or if it would be easier to throw more line.

In fact, many of the casting tournaments across the world are the result of people wanting to improve their FISHING. That's what accuracy contests are all about. Distance casting probably doesn't seem to fit into the fishing part as easily, until you consider that by learning the reasons why a rod works the way it does, (the mechanics) and why fly lines or shooting lines behave the way they do, it does indeed translate into easier and more functional casting for FISHING. Not just for long-line saltwater casting either.

We will have both an accuracy and distance competition (ACA sanctioned) at the 2002 Fish-In at the Delaware River Club, Hancock NY on Saturday July 27th. Everyone of course is invited to attend, participate or just watch. It's a very neat, interesting thing to do - or watch. You can learn a lot about your own casting there too.

So JC was casting very well today - I think the longest cast, with my 6 wt, 9ft. Burkheimer rod was 124 feet - but that's not an 'official' measurement. I didn't come close. I am fighting the rod, hitting the forward stroke too hard, punching it, causing tailing loops - but the back cast was great. Terrific line speed, the line was just zinging. Stay tuned. I'm working on it, and as soon as my shoulder quits howling I'll be back practicing. (And yes you're right, if I had been practicing earlier this spring, I wouldn't be hurting now.)

And in case you wondered, yes, you bet I'll be competing. ~ LadyFisher

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