Fly Casting Accuracy with Simon Zarifeh

Simon is a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Master Casting Instructor from Australia and a fine example of the high quality of fly casting instruction from that part of the world.

i’m very much in tune with his approach, in fact i’ve been working on several articles that incorporate most of what we’ll see below but in the meantime… highlighted here are the key points of the presentation you’ll want to focus on.

- Precise Focusing – simply put, we can’t place our flies precisely if we’re not visually and mentally focussing on a specific and well defined spot.
Dominant Eye Detection – common to all types of shooting activities, dominant eye detection is basically unheard of in the fly casting world. do this simple test, it just might change your life.
Stance, the Triangle – i’d never considered envisioning the stance as a triangle but it makes perfect sense and am super glad to have learned this here. to add to Simon’s explanation, this stance combined with a little SRB prepare our bodies for supple and relaxed casting.
Head Position – what came to mind when listening to this part was a medical study i read years ago on the main cause of motorcycle crashes. these where wipe-out-in-turns crashes caused by the rider themselves, not collisions with cars etc and they where all related to over-tilting the head. basically, tilt your head and you loose or at least weaken distance and three-dimensional perception. thank goodness we don’t suffer from broken bones, road rashes and death when we fly cast but its still something to think about.
Pick a Target - this comes back to Precision Focusing but the trick here is to learn to focus away from the fish target and create a fly target, often where there really isn’t anything concrete to focus on. that’s the trick !
180° and Narrow Loop - back to The Five Essentials. they’re always there…
Elbow Movement - the elbow needs to go up on the back cast and come down on the front cast. elbow, rod hand, rod tip and loop all in the same plane. this is an integral part of Jason Borger’s ‘Foundation Casting Stroke’ and was probably the first thing i picked up and worked on when i started taking fly casting seriously. this makes casting, specially short and typical fishing distances easy, precise and repeatable.

this is really-really good stuff i hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from.
there’s a little something in it for everyone.

Fly Casting Instructor Demo – Sabah, Malaysia

amazing the things one finds when trolling the net !
this morning, while watching a fly fishing video i saw my name on the youtube sidebar and of course opened the page. the funny thing is, i didn’t even know this video existed ! but what a nice surprise as it brought back fond memories of a fantastic trip among some of the finest and talented people i’ve ever met.

just to set the context: saturday morning in the deepest-darkest Malaysian jungle. it had been and continued raining hard as it so often happens in rain forests so we decided to do our demo day indoors at the lodge safely protected from the elements with the coffee machine close to hand. most of the attendants where certified casting instructors, all from various countries in Asia or Australia. i thought i might share a few teaching methods i’ve picked up along the way as i was fairly certain my instructor colleagues weren’t too familiar with these techniques.

my demo being mostly based on Lee Cumming‘s ‘Triangle Method and Joan Wulff‘s ‘Circles, Eights and Straights’ exercises geared towards beginner fly fishers/casters with a few extras thrown in for good measure.
having Peter Hayse participate and give feedback during the demo was an honour and a real treat. after my bit is more of Peter’s wisdom followed by a great exercise by Tomonori ‘Bill’ Higashi.

finally, from beginner to instructor the following should have a little something for everyone. i hope you’ll enjoy !

Spey Casting- the Single Spey with a Twist

apart from affirming that the world is pretty much round and that the universe continuously spins and that the Straight Line Path rule can be overrated at times, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to learn fly casting-wise here.
on the other hand, as long as you don’t royally mess up, Spey casting is always a beautiful and super-fun thing to do.
i hope you’ll enjoy this pointless aesthetic twisty stuff as much as i do.
JP Single-Spey M.Fauvet:TLC 10-8-14

- being a bigger file than most gifs it takes a complete sequence to get up to speed and visualise properly.
please be patient for a few seconds, i’m new to this and learning the process !

a small stream dream

“Growing up where the rivers where virtually always chocolate brown, I dreamed of crystal clear mountain streams that I occasionally got glimpses of on TV and in books. I finally got to the most beautiful crystal clear stream with my good friend and fishing buddy”
filmed in South Africa here’s a drop-dead gorgeous environment with what appears to be a very healthy and eager population of rainbow trout. the stuff that dreams are made of…

this one’s a real gem, enjoy !

for regular news and all sorts of other South African fly fishing goodies be sure to check out and subscribe to Tom Sutcliffe’s site The Spirit of Fly Fishing

going down deep

where most anglers would walk on by.

here’s a little excerpt from the video’s page, underlined is the interesting part for us fly fishers-
“The snow is melting in the high mountains, flooding the lower rivers. The lowest, clearest water lies in the upper river tributaries. This pool is usually a bit easier to swim in low water, but today powerful rapids create a vortex of currents. Beneath the churning rapids lies a surprise- 15 feet of deep calm water.” where the fishes are !

now, getting our flies down to 15 feet in fast water isn’t the easiest thing to do (and in most cases impossible given the short drift times and adding that the faster water above is pulling the line/leader downstream, etc, ) but, these calm and fish-holding zones aren’t always that deep. sometimes it’s just a few feet and that’s very feasible.
how ? by dumping heavy/hydrodynamic flies (sleek and slender, nothing bushy !) into the very base of the waterfall using CNT ‘contemporary nymphing techniques’ (i’m trying not to use the term euronymphing… ) and letting the falling water push those big-heavy-nasty flies down deep where the fish are holding up in the slower waters waiting for just that:
food being pushed down to them.
finding the right approach position is crucial here or we can’t keep contact with the flies. it can be from upstream or usually to the side of the deep zone but for once we have an easy job discretion-wise as there’s a lot of bubbles, debris and stuff obstructing the fishes view. i wouldn’t go stomping the ground or rocks but it’s a safe bet they won’t hear us or detect unnatural vibrations either given all the ruckus created by the falls.

we’ll notice in the video all the smaller, curious and oh-so cute trouties hanging out by the diver but rest assured that the bigger dominant fish scuttled off before being filmed. these zones are prime holding areas for the bigguns because its a perfect place to eat in peace and stay away from predators.

another treat from River Snorkel i hope you’ll enjoy.

Ambidextrous Double Hand Casting

some super-nice advice, tips and a casting drill to get you off on the good hand when it’s time to cast off the non-dominant shoulder by Hywel Morgan via Fieldsports Channel
primarily based on double-hand casting, its not too hard to figure out that the very same exercise will be just as effective and beneficial with a single-hand rod.
like i always say, its pretty rare to see someone poke their eye out or stick the fork in their ear when they eat with their non-dominant hand meaning, that unless the person has serious motor skill issues fly casting with either hand is just a matter of getting over the mental ‘ican’t do it’ block and simply practicing a little. most of us are blessed with having two arms and hands, why not be a Ninja and learn to use them both ?

J.P.’s Single Spey

J.P. asked me to help him out with his double-hand casting in preparation for a salmon trip to Russia. being the sporty type (rugby), he’s quite in tune with how his body works but for us casting instructors, we know that the brain-order/body-movement correlation can be a long process… and sometimes not.
here’s his upstream, non-dominant hand-up Single Spey after ten minutes of explanations and demonstrations of what is generally considered the most difficult of Spey casts. sure, there’s a few things to smooth out and work on but he’s ready to safely fish.
as my UK mates say, i’m properly chuffed and very much look forward to seeing the progress he’s made since. casting instruction days are always a treat and this one was one of the treatiest.

JP SingleSpey beginnings