Tournament casting

A couple of friends of mine have just got into a bit of tournament casting, and I think they surprised themselves when they went to their first casting tournament in Cornwall on Sunday. They are both seriously talented anglers who catch more fish than a lot of us put together, and they can both put baits where they need to most of the time - but with a lot of anglers, there is always the question of "how far is my lead actually going ?" (and on the flip side, a lot of anglers wildly exaggerate how far they are casting. 200 yards with bait ? Dream on !!! Most guys have no idea how far 200 yards actually is.)

I used to do a fair bit of tournament casting when I was at university down here in Plymouth (those were the days - as much time as I wanted), and I was taught how to pendulum cast by a really kind local angler called Kelvin Bedford. Never once did he clutter up our minds with endless technical rubbish, rather he helped me and a couple of mates to simply develop our casting to the point where we were doing pretty well. My mate Chris could chuck a lead an awesome distance.

I did ok at a few casting tournaments (and I had huge fun doing so), but I had always promised myself that if I ever went casting instead of fishing, then the casting would be knocked on the head immediately. I caught myself one day heading off to practise casting when the weather and tides were perfect for fishing, and that was the last time for me. To this day I have never done a pendulum cast when I am out fishing, and I still believe there is no need for it at all on the beach or the rocks.

Yes, learning to pendulum cast properly was a very good thing to do, but a full pendulum cast belongs on the tournament field only. It creates huge power if done properly, but it is impossible to hold on to a full blooded tournament pendulum cast when you are in a proper fishing situation. I have still yet to meet an angler who can execute what I would call a "really good pendulum cast" when out fishing. Instead I have had to duck far too many times as people give it a go and do nothing but endanger themselves and us guys around them. Leads and baits flying around all over the place is downright dangerous, and far too many anglers simply are not compressing their rods at all (look at the photo above - that is Julian Shambrook bending a rod properly). No compression ? No distance.................

But, and this is a big but - learning to pendulum cast taught me one vital thing : how to bend a beachcasting rod properly. I learnt what it took to compress these things, and from that knowledge, I then developed my own kind of out and out "fishing cast" for those times when a bit of distance is required. It delivers huge power if needs be, but it is always under control and I am never swinging a big lead and bait around my head and causing danger to guys around me. It works just fine, it gets me out there if needs be, and I can repeat it again and again.

And as we all know, more often than not we end up casting right over the fish !! Casting is a blast, and if whacking leads over grass is your thing, then that is fantastic. Me ? I've done it and I did fine, but personally I am more interested in learning all I can about the fish.

Anyway, I need to tell you about another great extreme metal release - they keep on coming this year. 2008 is going to go down as a great metal year (that keeps denting my wallet far too often). And Norway has to be the most productive metal country on this earth. Satyricon have been around for ages, and they keep on putting out quality albums that offer a great mix of cold, harsh, but ever so catchy and memorable black metal (or whatever you want to call it), and their latest CD "The Age of Nero" is no exception. Pounding drums (Frost is awesome), a unique guitar sound, great production, and a bunch of songs destined to pummel my ear drums for many happy hours. This is a monster. My youngest daughter was 2 yesterday, and she loves it - how much more of a recommendation do you need ?