We will begin a series of posts of how to prepare for the exam.
Step 1 is to obtain the necessary equipment including rods, lines, leaders, yarn flies, targets, tape measure and anything else you think you will need. I’ve had a number of candidates ask about spey rods, lines, etc. for the spey portion of the test. These are not required and, in fact, wouldn’t be permitted on the test. As a minimum you will need your favourite rod (9 foot (or less), 7 weight (or lighter)), a manufacturer designated 7 weight (or less) floating line and a sinking line, leaders and yarn flies. You are permitted to change rods and lines between sections 1A and 1B of the exam but that is up to you. It is a good idea to have a spare available – rods (two that I’m aware of) have been broken just before a test. I recommend bringing a note pad and a pen because a picture is worth a thousand words – sometimes it is easier to draw a picture than trying to understand the question or the answer based on verbal communication only.
Step 2 – Practice. Practice a lot BUT avoid injury at all costs. Muscle stiffness and soreness are common as a result of practice but if the pain lasts longer than 24 hours you are overdoing it and need to take a break. If muscle stiffness and pain persists for 2 days or more then you should see your doctor.
Step 3 – This was given to me by one of our Australian Masters and I think it’s excellent advice. For each task in the test think about the whys and hows of the task but, more importantly, think about the 3 (or even fewer) most important things that you would tell a student about this task. These are your talking points if asked during the test. Be prepared to provide a short version (one sentence or even less) of each of these points and a longer version (a paragraph) but iff (that’s a mathematician’s short form for “if and only if”) you are asked for it. Review and revise your list of talking points often.
Step 3 is what I want to cover in these series of posts. I’ll provide my view of the 3 most important talking points for each task but, this is important, these points are based on my personal views. I invite each of you to think about what you think is most important in each of these tasks and feel free to tell us what they are or to comment on the points I provide. This type of discussion is the sort of thing that will help you to be mentally prepared for the exam.
Without further ado – task 1: Overhead Casts: Demonstrate 6 false casts with narrow loops. Line length shall be 50 ft. (15.2m).
Note that the task specifically says “Overhead casts” – these are not side arm or off vertical casts. Ideally, they are overhead or vertical casts. In general, a vertical casting plane is not required for any of the tasks but this one specifically calls for overhead casts and that, to me, means a vertical casting plane.
Why is this task important? Because it is the foundation of everything we teach or demonstrate. We want to make narrow loop false casts because narrow loop false casts are efficient and require minimal effort when casting. We want people to know and understand loop control and if we can’t make basic, narrow loop false casts then we don’t understand loop control ourselves.
Okay, so how do we make and demonstrate narrow loop false casts? i.e. what do we need to know in order to make narrow loop false casts?
1. Straight line path (SLP) of the rod tip. This is the most important point in this task. At this point we all know that perfect SLP will result in the line hitting the rod but we also understand that when we say SLP we mean “near SLP”. We need the rod to dip below the SLP at loop formation to avoid hitting the rod and the amount of dip is what controls the size of the loop (assuming that the path up to that point was straight).
2. 180 degree rule. We’ve already discussed this. For some people this is already covered in point 1 and that is okay.
3. I don’t think we really need a 3 point on this task but, if pressed, I would talk about keeping slack to a minimum and how this affects the 180 degree rule.
That is my personal view of task 1. As I’ve already said, please feel free to comment.
Those of you who are part of my study group will receive comments and discussion from group members.