I would like to jump into this fracas as a late comer. Like parnelli, I too am opinionated, and I try to temper my opinions with objectivity rather than subjectivity. I also like to stress the well made point, not buy me(unfortunately), that opinions are like anal sphincters; everyone has one and they all stink! Me included!
First, IMHO, Certification DOES NOT a good instructor make! Let's face it, some individuals have a talent for teaching, and there are those who don't and no amount of teaching them to be teachers is going to overcome their inabilities. In fact, some of them could not carry water in a bucket from the well without assistance.
I respectfully submit that everyone of us has had bad, if not horrible, teachers during our academic careers, starting with the first grade. I most definitely have, and not just one; and every single one of them was certified! This same situation held true throughout my entire academic career at the University level. In spite of the bad teachers we had, most, if not all, of us have gone on to become responsible productive citizens, with many pursuing and attaining advanced degrees in various and sundry disciplines.
Second, I totally disagree with the opinion that pokes it's head up in several of the previously posted comments that instruction is essential to becoming a better caster, NONSENSE! It definitely speeds the learning process up, but it is NOT essential! Otherwise, no one would have ever learned to cast, or swim, or play golf, etc., ad infinitum et ad nauseum. The truth of the matter is that the old adage about the fastest way to Carnegie Hall is Practice! Practice! Practice! I can personally attest to the fact that instruction is NOT required. I bought my first fly rod, which I still have, in 1952, and am self-taught. I have made every mistake conceivable as a caster, and still make a few, and am definitely not a 'tournament caliber' caster, but I can at least hold my own and do catch fish; and I have successfully taught others to cast.( Let's not forget that many of the great masters of music had no instruction!) If I had waited until I first saw someone else cast, I would not have started fly fishing until 1982, 30 years after I bought my first fly rod! I learned by reading every piece of instructional material I could put my hands on on the subject, and practiced the three" P's".
My final point is that the point parnelli makes about handles on fly rods has a lot of truth in it, and even applies to the fit of the handle on a hammer. I have a rather small hands for a man, and found early on that the typical fly rod handle resulted in serious hand cramps during a long day of fishing. They are too small! Thus, when I made my first fly rod, I used 1 1/2 inch diameter corks rather than the typical 1 1/4 inch corks, and shaped it by hand, using a 4-in-hand file to shape it, stopping periodically to 'try' it,, rather than turning it on a lathe; producing a 'custom fit' cigar-shaped handle that is a perfect fit for my hand. This solved my hand-cramp problem, and is still my favorite handle. A better hand-fit, as parnelli suggests, is also partially attested to by the the fact that elliptical, or hammer-handle-shaped handles, were put on many bamboo rods by one of the better know bamboo rodmakers of the 1900's, and the introduction by an Englishman in the 1970's of a very strange looking handle that was supposed to be more ergonomic than the typical round handle and had a much better fit to the hand than the typical handle. These entities realized that there has to be a better approach to a comfortable, properly fitting handle, or they would not have introduced their 'new designs'.
Perhaps, as parnelli infers, we need to be more pragmatic in our choice of handles on our rods.
I have gleaned the above opinions after having dipped my oars in the water for the past 73+ years, and a fly fisher for 58 of those years.
Last edited by aged_sage; 06-16-2010 at 03:45 PM.
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