Eat Sleep Fish, Happy Birthday and How to Lose your Flies in Trees

quite a special day today,

is three years old ! and a really nice three years its been.

Pete Tyjas, founder of ESF always pushing on to give us monthly fly fishing accounts from around the world from anglers of all levels in Pete’s For free and not for profit manner, something that’s really close to my heart. just as the link says in its title, you’ll find no boring advertisements, sponsors or commercial anything on ESF, just good ‘ole tales on casting, travels, tying, thoughts on fly fishing and all the other lovelies that englobe our passion.

on a personal note, i’d already contributed to ESF a while back with a piece named Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the S.R.B. and was delighted to be invited back for this special anniversary, this time a little something on the tricky mind games that can happen when we aim our back and front casts, target acquisition and conscious target disregard while still keeping the target in mind all the while upping our game at: How to lose your fly in trees

click the ESF logo to access this month’s edition and ‘the snagged one’ for my little contribution. enjoy !

Fly Tying- Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Organza

Get your Ojo working by Nick Thomas via Eat Sleep Fish

Ojo 1
the title basically says it all. Nick’s most excellent and comprehensive tutorial includes preparation of the organza strips, Ojo 2to mixing different coloured strips, to detailed sbs’s of three different patterns with plenty of tips and tricks along the way, to ideas on combining this material with others, to etc, etc, etc.
this is Ojo’d Organzan bliss.

click either image to access the complete article on Pete Tyjas’ Eat Sleep Fish, one the nicest, most unpretentious online fly fishing mags there is. enjoy !

Fly Casting- Getting on the Right Track

Fly Rod Tracking by Jim Williams via Eat Sleep Fish issue 14

“Tracking can be described as the directional travel of the rod tip within a pre-determined plane(s) back and forth for a given fly cast. If you want to cast more accurately or further then optimising your tracking relative to the application can go some way to achieving this.”

Master Jim. geez, the bloke won’t stop and let’s hope he never does. going into the finer points regarding this very important aspect of the cast and my intro being happily finished, if you’re interested in becoming a better, more efficient and happier caster/fisher click either pic and enjoy this real gem in full.

“What is good tracking?
Below is a birds eye view of two anglers, each has an imaginary target directly ahead. The objective is to complete an overhead cast in a vertical plane with a view to delivering a straight line layout towards their target. The coloured dots represent the direction and travel of the rod tip.”

tracking_animation JW - ESF #14now, if only we could get Jim to teach whoever laid these train tracks a thing or two about tracking straight the World might be a better place…


Fly Casting- Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the S.R.B.

here’s a reprint of an article i wrote last year for Eat, Sleep, Fish ‘s issue no. 3 on fly casting.
i hope you’ll enjoy and even more benefit from these words. i also wish to thank Jim Williams once again for the opportunity of sharing these thoughts to a wider audience on this great ezine.



In my absence, having trekked off to colder climbs to run a dog race, I asked Marc Fauvet to come to my rescue with this month’s casting article… suffice to say the man has delivered – and how! … Not with the normal ABC of a fly cast but some physiology… Thanks ~ Jim Williams

As fly fishers we’re always going on about this or that piece of kit, the best rod, line, reel or whatever new goodie and how they’re going to increase our fishing performance, but you’ll notice that the most important element is always left out: The Caster
Ok I’ll agree, it would indeed be a little strange to go to a pub and start telling your mates all about your wrists, biceps, thighs and heaven forbid, butt cheeks… but if we step away from that silly image a bit and consider that fly casting is about putting a fly rod in motion while applying forces to it through body movement, we’ll realize that not much good can happen if we don’t move the rod correctly and as far as we are concerned ‘correctly’ is directly related to the all important smoothness that makes or breaks fly casting.
Poetry, grace and fluidity are often used to describe fly casting but I’m sure that if you take the time to look at other anglers while they’re casting you might think twice before using those lovely words to describe what they’re doing.
So, what might be the number one cause to this less than gracefulness? My observations and experience says it’s tension. Body tension. Tension that was in the system before the cast even began.
Tension has many forms. Life and work stress, competing with your friends for the biggest fish, the excitement of finally getting away for the trip that took so much hard work and saving to get to. You name it, there can be a multitude of reasons and it’s quite certain that they’ll combine at one point or another but the one I want to focus on today is the tension related to stance and more specifically, stiffness through improper stance. By stance I don’t mean it in the usual casting terminology of right foot or left foot forward or both feet square to the intended casting direction but rather the dictionary’s definition: ‘The way a person stands, especially when deliberately adopted’ or alternatively, posture.
Let’s see what stiffness does and how a few simple suggestions can greatly reduce these negative effects.
Stiff bodies just don’t move well. We will one part to go in one direction, and another wants to pull it back.
Stiffness constrains. Being constrained yields complete opposite results than those lovely three words we cherish so much. Stiffness also promotes pain, fatigue and hinders recovery.
The idea is if we relax some of our muscle groups instead of tightening them up, we’re more fluid, comfortable and in better control of all our movements.
We’ll be able to disperse the work force and use more muscle groups instead of just a few. We’ll let the bigger muscle groups do most of the work and use the smaller ones to refine those movements. We’ll bend, twist and straighten better, all the while being smoother and more precise in the way we move our whole body.
This leads to not only performing better but this also reduces the possibility of cramping up and injuries from over-exertion and repetitive motions, ailments that are not exclusive to but are quite common amongst those of us who aren’t so young anymore or who have some impairment such as back problems or arthritis.
Now for the good part. It’s easy and we can all do it. It’s not very high tech but it has worked to great effect on just about every student I’ve suggested it to,
It’s called the S.R.B. (State of Relaxed Butt) so let’s start relaxing those cheeks !

Ok, hopefully you’ll have stopped giggling by now so we may resume !
The SRB thing is quite simply combining a slight flexion of the knees and relaxing the butt muscles or Gluteus Maximus, our biggest muscle group who’s main function is to help hold our torsos erect. This last information should give a clue to its importance for our purpose and why this area is the core of this method. Of course we want to stay upright but we want to do this without ‘pushing’ up. Because of their size and role, we tend to gather a lot of tension in this muscle group through unconscious pushing-up resulting in spine and leg stiffness. Take that tension away and we become swaying, dancing springs. Springs ready to smoothly and precisely jump into action!
Another aspect of this relaxed position is that it also leaves our bodies in a ‘ready’ position. Ready to move and ready to react, something once again, a stiff body has a hard time doing.
A slight flexion of the knees helps maintain the torso in a more upright position further increasing our stability and flexibility, not only in vertical and back and forth movements but also in torsion as when looking at our back cast when casting between branches, going for distance or when doing Spey casts.
If we take the examples of skiing, golf and tennis, sports whose flexion movements are often assimilated with fly casting, we’ll note that none of these are performed with locked knees or backs. If they did they’d either fall over or break a bone or two !
Luckily enough, as fly fishers the negative results of being stiff won’t be so extreme but I was just trying to emphasize how these two relaxation movements are very common and that assimilating them to our technique is just, well… common sense.
All of those sports include swinging and swaying, balance, power application, precision, maintaining control and a constant realignment of the body, all the things an effecient fly caster does.
Doing these two things loosens up the whole spinal column and legs and it really helps most people stay consistent with all the aspects of their casting whether it be accuracy, special line layouts or distance. As a side bonus, this leads to greater comfort, tends to relax the shoulders, neck and somehow the mind as well. If you feel a certain tensing-up while you’re out practicing your casts or fishing, take a little break, do some stretching and conscious controlled breathing and you’ll be good to go in peak condition in minutes.
Get up and try these two simple things right now, there’s no need for a fly rod. First, stand straight as a pole and pantomime the casting motions, try to turn around and watch you back cast, then try all this in the relaxed form. I’m sure you’ll feel the difference and just might have a ‘wow’ moment. Be sure to take this with you next time you’re out fishing and remember to relax !
To finalize this introduction to the S.R.B. method here is a very Zen-like “Be one with the rod” type quote from Jim Williams that describes this all perfectly:
“Perhaps we bend and move as the rod does, become flexible as it becomes flexible…
we don’t cast with a broomstick so don’t be like one !”


Fly Line Management in Flowing Rivers

here’s another fantastic article by Jim Williams via this month’s Eat, Sleep, Fish issue 12

ESF no. 12

What is good line management?… in part it refers to your control of the fly line during and after the retrieve.

ESF no 12 - 1

What part of the line am I actually trying to manage?… in this case and having deployed my cast at what ever distance & upstream angle, it is the trailing fly line that will occur from the retrieve as I pick up slack as presented to me by the moving current. 


apart from they’re always being brilliant examples of a well thought out process, what i like best in sharing Jim’s articles is that there’s absolutely nothing for me to add !
(except for, click either pic to access the full article and view the great explanatory videos Master Jim made up for us this month !)
enjoy !

Fly Casting- Lobbing it with Jim Williams

another wham-bamtastic !* casting lobbing tutorial from Jim Williams via Eat,Sleep, Fish Issue no. 10

‘Euro-nymphing’, what a barfable term.
stemming from an ignorant press and industry that’s only too eager to englobe a multitude of styles with all their varied intricacies and regrouping them in one silly-trendy name. hell, by the looks of it most of them believe that Europe is a country, ffs…

anyway…   Jim The Great does a wonderful job here in explaining and demonstrating that there’s a lot more to this very effective yet highly unmanly method than just ‘high-sticking it’.

i’m dizzy just by looking at the gifs below but if you can take it click on either one to experience the real thing full-blast. enjoy !

Eat, Sleep, Fish # 9

at it’s ninth issue  Eat, Sleep, Fish is going and growing well and strong and one thing’s for certain, they have their priorities straight !
always a pleasant read, this issue comes highly recommended.
(except of course for the article on tenkara… i care deeply for you my reader, please remember that any knowledge of this method further than the name itself will wipe out  all the good fly fishing karma points you’ve gained over the years leading to eons of pain and suffering, total lack of sexual capability and to top it all off, you’ll be forced to eat Swedish food forever while being basely reduced to fishing with worms… )

anyhow, click on the M&M bag, enjoy !   :mrgreen:

ps- something’s really queer about this photo. first one to say what it is gets bonus karma points !

Fly Casting- Jiggle it baby !

by doing this
 or this  

you can get this line layout.

Jim Williams has done it again and came up with yet another fantabulous fly casting tutorial: this time, the Wiggle Cast * (or the sideways jiggle).
the Wiggle is a very useful slack line presentation used to control or rather reduce drag on the line, leader and fly. this is not only a must-have-in-your-repertoire cast but it’s also a lot of fun to perform. anything fun just makes the whole experience better.
as with all of Jim’s other casting articles, once again there’s nothing i could add so i’ll leave you with a teaser that’s close to heart:

There are many nuances you can apply to improve and refine this cast, a slightness of hand or particular movement or rotation of the wrist and arm etc… be an artist, imagine the rod tip is the tip of the finest brush, the river is your canvas so go paint on it, with movements and energy that are both smooth and deliberate’

click either image/gif  or HERE to get to Jim’s awesome article in this month’s sixth issue of Eat Sleep Fish. enjoy !

* actually, this is a Wiggle Mend.
casts are produced before RSP (Rod Straight Position) or the ‘stop’ or more simply, before loop formation and mends are what we do with the rod tip after RSP, the ‘stop’ and after loop formation.
so, since the wiggles are executed after the stop, this is a mend.

Related articles

Fly Casting- the ‘Pull-Back Slack

by Jim Williams

this Jim just won’t stop !…
continuously putting up juicy fly casting tips and tricks for us to enhance our fishing experience, here’s another nifty one in the form of a presentation cast that gives a little bit of slack to the line and leader that’s very easy to perform and just the ticket for, as Jim calls them ‘non-complex’ flows.
what got me all excited when i saw this yesterday evening is i had ‘self-discovered’ this cast myself a few years ago when in a fit of tired laziness… i started lowering my casting hand after the completion of the cast and before line touchdown and noticed that it gave a nice, straightish yet slightly wavy layout that i later went on to use in the smaller Pyrenean streams around my house to great effect. back to the exciting part: until now i had never heard or read of anyone else other than Jim describe this cast that i had not-so-creatively named the “Pull Back Slack”.

as always, very well explained and this time including two fantabulous gifs that show it all. if you’re a river fisher take the time to read this article and practice it a little before your next outing for yet another dead-simple manner of presenting your flies with better drifts which as we all know, leads to not only more fun casting-wise but more success with the fishes !

you’ll find the complete article in this month’s edition of Eat Sleep Fish here. be sure to check out the rest of this great ezine  here, enjoy !

* the top photo of Jim performing a wiggle cast has nothing to do with this particular cast, it’s just a groovy pic of a groovy guy.

Fly Casting with Big’Uns

no, not Al Bundy dream biggies… but BIG, nasty, otherwise hard to cast  flies !

here’s a really nice article from my friend Jim Williams straight out of Eat, Sleep Fish‘s fourth edition on simple tips for casting big heavy flies easily and more importantly, safely.

click either pic for the full article, enjoy !

(you’ll see my name there a few times but Jim did all the work. i just sent ‘telepathic mental candy’ to sooth out the chore )

Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the State of Relaxed Butt

cool news today !
issue no.3 of Eat Sleep Fish is out with a more detailed article on the S.R.B. method and it  happens to be my first fly casting article in an ezine.
ok, this time i’m tooting my own horn a little but be sure to check out all the other great stuff from this great magazine as well. enjoy ! (and relax those cheeks! :mrgreen:)
click the image above for the complete article

Fly Casting- the Bow and Arrow cast

my friend and fellow casting/fishing instructor Jim Williams has summed this subject up so well through this wonderful article that there’s absolutely nothing i could add.
(except, read it ! ) enjoy.

click the pic !