Looking at Practice
By Captain Paul Darby (QRRFISH1), Shalimar, FL

Practice, Practice, Practice, now that should be good advise, must be good, everyone seems to think it is, so it must be true.

But then again everybody thought casting a fly rod was a good idea too. You see I sort of take the same approach to practicing as other parts of the learning curve of the fly rod. If you're doing the wrong thing with the wrong idea is it really helping? If you're just reinforcing wrong ideas all your going to do, is get a lot better at doing it wrong.

The best way to stop doing it wrong is awareness of what is right and what makes it right.

The fly rod is a lever and levers multiply effort, not exactly a news flash I'll admit. However if it's so obvious, why isn't it better understood?

For you fellas' back there in the cheap seats, put your hands down that was a rhetorical question.

Practice, if you're going to practice, practice with a purpose in mind, improve something about what you're doing now.

Do not confuse practicing on grass with doing it on water. They're not the same. Line on grass, line on water and line in the air are all very different situations. Each one has it own little speed bumps that remind us of this fact. I'm going to take them in order and point out some of the sign posts, so you can be aware of what you need to be aware of.

Line on grass doesn't have the friction factor that you will have on the water. Therefore you will not have to work as hard to aerialize the line and that factor will give you a false sense of how much power it will take to put the line in the air. The line slides easier across the grass than it does across the water, but you still need to use the same moves as if you were on the water.

This is to say you will still want to draw the line with the off hand to simulate the moves of being on the water. Movements that become a learned part of your opening routine, free up awareness for the more complex judgements to come later in the presentation of the fly.

Will somebody poke Skeeter in the ribs and wake him up; I ain't talking over the top of his snoring.

Now why do I want to draw the line with the line hand while lifting the rod? It goes to action and reaction. The last thing you did is likely the next thing you're going to do. If you used too much power to get the line off the water, the next thing your likely to do is overpower going forward. Over powering will put you out of balance and control will suffer as you struggle to regain control and get back in balance. Learn to avoid the situation altogether, draw the line with the line hand, while lifting the rod. This has multiple advantages; first it makes it easier to aerialize the line, by causing the line to plain up on the surface film and reduces the friction between line and water surface. It also helps to remove slack in the line and shortens the amount of line in contact with the water. Frankly if you can hear the line being lifted off the water your over working yourself. It takes energy to create sound and that sound should be a warning bell that your setting yourself up for further complications.

~ Capt. Paul

Have a question? Email me! captpaul462@aol.com

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