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Flycasting Skills by John Symonds and Philip Maher

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Flycasting Skills by John Symonds and Philip Maher

Flycasting, that key pre-requisite to all successful trout and salmon fishing, can be a stumbling block for many anglers. When we received this new book from Merlin Unwin to review we knew there was just one man for the job, our own resident fly casting afficionado, professional casting instructor and guide, Jeremy Lucas.

Flycasting Skills for Beginner and Expert reviewed by Jeremy Lucas

This is not just another book about fly casting.  It is by far and away the best work on fly casting ever produced, geared towards both the beginner and the more expert as well as the aspiring or working instructor.  Fly casting has been a focus of development in recent years, and all the instructor schools give great emphasis to this area of the sport.  One should not be surprised, therefore, when such a book comes out of this sector, but I for one am very pleasantly surprised by the excellence of the work.

The authors are exceptionally good fly casters.  I have watched Philip on several occasions and been impressed by the consistency of any cast he performs.  The way in which the authors convey the method and execution of casting via the printed page, however, is what is so refreshing.  The quality of the illustrations is outstanding: eloquently developing the sequence through each type of cast, showing rod movement as well as the entirety of the caster’s stance and movements.  The accompanying text is brief and uncluttered, and similarly clear.  The whole is so well thought through, and there is not a wasted page.

Double spey castWho is the audience for this book?  The subtitle states ‘for beginner and expert’ and there can be no argument with that; it really does cater for the entire spectrum.  Perhaps the greatest beneficiary will be the intermediate level caster, possibly indeed the aspiring instructor preparing for the qualification procedure.  One suspects that the authors had this particular reader central throughout.  As such I can see this book being adopted as the standard casting guide of instructor schools for years to come.

Clarity is the first word that comes to mind when describing this book.  Everything really is so clear, to the point that the whole is an invaluable crib for every and any particular cast one needs to master or refresh.  It caters for both single- and double-handed fly rod and includes all the common casts, right up to the most modern ‘international’ casting techniques such as the Skagit and Belgian casts.  Technique and execution are described consistently throughout, and this is particularly helpful when the reader naturally concentrates on particular casts which might be personally troublesome.   I particularly enjoyed the various single-handed Speys and the line mending sections; all taken down to first principles of casting dynamics with the aid of the superlative diagrams and short, crisp descriptions.

I can find no fault whatsoever in this great work on casting.  It does cover everything we really do with conventional fly lines and what the instructor will need to teach in a casting sense.  It does not include the modern casting techniques with fixed-line (tenkara) or leader-only and casting with ultra-light fly lines, all of which are hugely significant in the development of (particularly) the single-handed river sport; but then it does not claim to cover these areas.

For anyone wishing to learn casting from the very beginning (albeit with a large amount of accompanying practice), to those refreshing or developing new casting skills, right up to the instructor embarking on the teaching of the entire range of (conventional line) casting techniques, this book should be strongly recommended.  There is nothing out there that really does it better and it is difficult to see how the printed page could achieve any measurable improvement.  An outstanding feat that should become a benchmark in our sport.

Published by Merlin Unwin. ISBN 978-1-906122-49-2

Author: John Symonds & Philip Maher
 Illustrator: John Symonds
 ISBN: 978 1 906122 49 2
 Published: March 2013
 Format: 246 x 189 mm
 Binding: Hardback
 No. of pages: 96
 91 colour illustrations
 Price: £9.99

Published 7 March 2013

Jeremy Lucas - Wilderness Fly Fishing

Jeremy Lucas is a member of the Hardy Greys Academy and former England all-round international. He is author of the book Tactical Fly Fishing. He guides mostly on the San River, Poland, and the Eden in Cumbria. These are the two top mixed trout and grayling rivers in Europe. He offers specialised, advanced fly fishing courses only on these rivers. These consist of week-long, small group visits to the San, and short courses on the Eden. Accommodation is arranged (always for the former, if required for the latter).

See www.presentationflyfishing.com for further information, or call on 07737 013604.

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