Published Jun 13. 2005 - 12 years ago
Updated or edited Sep 27. 2015

Practise, man!

How do you get to Albert Hall? Practise, man, practise!

The old Albert Hall joke still goes around between musicians, and is probably as true as it is funny. My father was a musician. He's still alive, but just doesn't play anymore. Back when he was making a living off music, he would be out playing every second day or so. Most people would think that playing music every second day was enough to keep you trained. But no. Dad still practised, and I still remember the sound of him sitting in my parent's bedroom, running up and down the scales on his guitar. How do you become a good fly caster? Practise, man, practise! Remember back when you were new in fly casting, and you would ever so often go to the nearest lawn and fish for some "grass carps" with a piece of bright yarn as a fly? Stopped doing that, did you? Now you get enough practise fishing, don't you? Well, I do... And I used to practise -- a long time ago. Now I just go on the nearby lawn when I need to trim a shooting head, or can't wait to cast a new rod. Yesterday I was on grass again. My friend Jens had set up some practising and instruction with a casting instructor, and we were three people who spent the better part of four hours with the instructor, Lasse, on a lawn honing our skills. Pretty amazing what a good instructor can teach you in four hours. The three of us are all decent fly casters. Not experts, but we get it out there and are generally satisfied with our efforts. Apart from the tailing loops and low backcasts that is... but then again, the fly does get out there... most of the time. Lasse observed each of us, and gave us some specific and some general instructions. If I have to summarize his advice in a few lines, it would be: - Keep the wrist stiff - Use less power - Don't punch the rod at any point This was what he repeated over and over again, and the mistakes which we all made. Loose wrists and too sudden accellerations equals tailing loops equals wind knots and flies that hang up on the leader or fly line. I knew all this already, of course. But knowing and doing is not the same. I will probably be practising a bit more in the coming time. Take the dog and a rod to the nearest park and let the dog chase a piece of bright yarn while I try to get it to lay perfectly in line with the fly line and leader. With a stiff wrist and no forced or sudden movements...

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