November 28th, 2005

High Sticking
By James Castwell


Last week I hit it pretty hard on what bad examples many of the guys on TV are. That goes for how they fish, handle the equipment, the fish, just about everything. I guess they are supposed to look like the average fly fisherman. News flash, I have fished with plenty of average guys and these TV chaps do not measure up.

Perhaps they have a gift of gab, know somebody, are related to the right person or just fell into it. The methods and skills they present are often wrong and if imitated will bring poor results. As usual I risk ridicule by writing this but I'm used to it. Someone has to let some daylight into this subject. Those of you who are trying to learn by watching TV and are not improving take heart. They aren't improving either and without some education, they won't.

This morning, I was in my Lazy-Boy chair, still in my 'jammies,' working on my first cup of coffee, the TV lit up and on a PBS station pops a guy with a fly rod. 'Whoopie' I think to myself, only to be disappointed (as usual) and start my day off in the wrong wader boot. My column was fresh on the website and there I sat wanting to add more to it. Well, darn it, I will now.

How do I get this through to you beginners and some of you old timers? Do not point your rod 180 degrees away from any fish for any reason. It will bust. Fast. Easily. Guaranteed. Let's try this. Can we call it the 180 rule? Will that help? If you point your rod 180 degrees from a fish it will cost you $180 bucks? Would that help? Make up something on your end, help me out here. I don't want you busting-up your goodies. It is inconvenient, often costly and embarrassing to send a rod to a company claiming "It was defective," when you know darn well you busted the thing by stupidly high-sticking a fish.

Good grief man, even a tiny fish can bust a rod under that condition. These things are not spinning rods. They are not made to whip all the way back, to put a hoop in them, to touch the tip to the butt when you set the hook on a fish. Maybe if you very carefully test one you can see it yourself . Take a look at your rod when it is strung up. Hold the line tight with your rod hand and very carefully tug only an inch or so of line back toward the reel with your other hand. Stop! That is enough to bust it!

Imagine what happens when you have a fish flopping around. Your attention, as it better be, is on the fish and your rod snaps. My oh my, must have been defective. "Bull-Pucky," sez I. You simply forgot and pointed your rod to the sky while looking at your fish. And you float-tube guys are not immune either. Pretty darn easy to poke your fly rod behind you trying to get a fish in close enough to land.

So there you have it, again. For gosh sakes, try to remember not to high-stick. Try somehow to remember to never raise your rod very high at any time when playing a fish. Keep it at an angle of 90 degrees or less if possible. That keeps a great amount of pressure on a fish and protects your rod. Breakage is always inconvenient, and sometimes expensive. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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