Welcome to Salt Water Fly Fishing

Welcome to Fly Fishing The Salt! If you are just discovering the joys of fly fishing the salt (or salt chuck as some call it) here you will find information to steer you in the right direction. Tips on what equipment to use, why, where and how to fish. And we will try to include a little inspiration to get you going. For the experienced salt water angler, there will be personal stories about real fishermen and their experiences, tips on what flies for which fish and techniques that work. Your stories and articles are also most welcome. Share the knowledge and adventure. Pass it on! This is for you.

Welcome to Precision Casting

By Capt. Doug Sinclair, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

For most of us, the conscious mind is only capable of dealing with one thing at a time. We call this concentration. In any sports activity our inability to hit a straight shot, or sink a basketball or hit a target with our fly rod, we blame this on the wind, on back ground noise or anything else that interferes with what we are doing.

When I was in school, I read several studies on how the body learns athletic motions. I had plenty of time for this after successive sports injuries and my second ACL and 7th knee operation. It gave me something to do while I was in rehab. I have also observed the same phenomena while working on my own skills and from observing my students. What I have observed, and what the studies mentioned, is that it takes a certain amount of time for the body to learn a simple motion, much longer than most of you would imagine.

Happy Tails

My anglers almost always fall apart when they see what we've been searching for - Happy Tails. Cast to the side. Cast beyond. But Cast. All of a sudden we have forgotten how to cast and the most bastardized versions of casting come to surface.

It kills me to see a seasoned angler or my best friends struggle with learning advanced casting motions. I know that the double-haul stroke goes against what most of us learned when we were younger.

It frustrates the hell out of one of my charter clients. Michael is a fine caster and athlete (College Football). Every once in awhile he gets into a funk about his casting. He learned to finesse casts fishing the back streams of his Virginia home. Using an index finger up casting motion he could set a Blue-Dunn so softly on the water that the trout didn't even realize it was there. Michael has a beautiful casting motion and when he is on his game with the double-haul he is superb. I've seen him unload his HP887/3 Scott Rod and roll out an 80-foot cast, without thinking about it.

The double-haul is an easy motion once learned. I recommend practicing a new motion for at least three to four weeks (if practicing regularly for about 15 minutes each time). If you do any less, you run the risk of not learning the motion, or you may only partially learn it, depending on how often and over how long of a time span you practice.

For definition purposes, learning occurs when a conscious effort to put the body in a particular position or to move it in a certain way is transformed from a conscious action to an automatic action, requiring no thought.

Many of you would call a learned motion "muscle memory," and I do too, just for the sake of simplicity. It's as if the muscles have a mind of their own, they can perform amazingly complex motions without a person having to think about it. It becomes effortless.

For illustrative and descriptive reasons, I much prefer the term "muscle memory," even though it may be an inaccurate term. What difference does it make if you call it "muscle memory," "learning," or, as one irate fan of mine prefers, "motor memory." They all refer to the same principle!

A recent study looking at fiber type conversions during muscle hypertrophy may have uncovered a possible mechanism for this phenomenon. For those of you not crazy about scientific lingo bear with me. Towards the end you will see what I'm getting at with this study. In this study the distribution of myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoforms, fiber type composition, and fiber size of the vastus lateralis muscle were analyzed in a group of adult sedentary men before and after 3 months of resistance training and then again, after 3 months of detraining. Following the period of resistance training, MHC IIX content decreased from just over 9% to 2.0%, with a corresponding increase in MHC IIA (42% to 49%). Following detraining the amount of MHC IIX reached values that were higher than before and during resistance training, over 17%! As expected, significant hypertrophy was observed for the type II fibers after resistance training, and even remained larger than baseline after 3 months of detraining.

Myosin heavy chain isoforms, or MHCs, refer to the types of contractile protein you see in a given muscle fiber. MHCs determine how the muscle fiber functions. MHCs are what make a fiber "fast twitch," "slow twitch," or something in-between. Certain MHCs are known to undergo a change in response to resistance exercise. In this case, fibers that contain MHC IIX are fibers that aren't really sure what kind of fiber they are until they are called to action. Once recruited, they become MHC IIAs. So, fibers containing MHC IIX proteins serve as a reservoir of sorts for muscle hypertrophy because they can transform themselves into fibers containing MHC IIX, which grow easily in response to training. So much for the scientific explanation.

Bottom-line, repetition builds on muscle memory and lets the mind concentrate on things like speed, accuracy, distance, and catching fish. If you are having trouble with the casting motion, take a lesson. Nip the problem in the bud so you can get on with having a good time on the water. ~ Doug Sinclair

About Doug:

Capt. Doug Sinclair has relocated from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to Grantsboro, NC. He specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle charters. Doug charters the Coastal Carolina area of New Bern or Oriental. Catch him on the web at www.flyfishacademy.net or call him at (252) 745-3500. Doug is also a Sponsor here on FAOL.

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