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Backcasting perils could involve a kiss from a stranger; angling.

Byline: Moc Morgan

As all game-anglers know, the ability to cast the fly-line accurately is a basic requirement of angling.

Length of cast and accuracy are called for in order to get the fly to land exactly where the fish are feeding.

This calls for concentration which is possibly why we sometimes tend to lose sight of where our back-casts go. In my angling career which extends to well over 75 years, I have caught fish galore. I often recall the pleasures in my writing but seldom have I mentioned the disasters caused by my back-casts.

I have hooked hundreds of trees and spent hours trying to retrieve my precious flies.

When bank fishing a lake, the fish always seem just beyond one's casting reach and a long line is called for. A long line in front means an equally long line behind - which could prove a hazardous action.

This happened to me when I was invited to fish in a prestigious fly-fishing competition in Belgium many moons ago.

It was a tri-country affair involving Belgium, France and England and I was a guest of the English team. The lake on which we were competing was in a public park and had a wide path all around the perimeter hedge.

I was keen to do well and concentrating hard when a fish jumped some 40 yards out into the lake.

I reacted immediately by lengthening my cast and cast back. Imagine my horror when a loud scream pierced the air behind me.

An aristocratic lady had been walking her dog along the path and the fly from my back-cast had hooked her hat and my forward-cast saw it landing in the lake in front of me. She became hysterical but I was not guilty of attacking her with my fishing-rod as she implied to the large group gathered around her.

Fortunately the Belgian supervisor calmed her down by explaining what was going on. She suddenly smiled, turned down my offer to buy her a new hat and planted a very passionate Belgian kiss on my cheek.

What a kiss; it was even more welcome than a box of Belgian chocolates but I had learnt a very important lesson.

A friend of mine had even a more frightening episode to contend with. He was quietly fishing a small lake with plenty of space behind him. Unexpectedly, his back-cast caught in something.

He tugged to no avail. And he turned round to see a bull standing there with the fly hooked in its ear.

The bull was not amused. It was digging clots of earth with its fore feet - a sure sign of an angry bull.

My somewhat "rounded" friend was not built for speed so he reversed slowly until he was 10 yards from the gate when he turned and made a dash for the gate. He clambered over with the bull within inches of catching him. Had the bull caught him he would certainly have had help to clear the gate!

Night-time fishing can be hazardous too. One summer I was sewin-fishing on the Ystwyth near Abermad.

I had cast my flies into the water some 20 yards downriver.

I felt a pull and thought I had hooked a huge fish. Then I heard a whistling sound and saw two pairs of eyes swimming up river towards me and realised that I'd hooked a young otter and his mum and dad were coming to his rescue. I did not wait to explain my actions. A sharp turn and a record 200 yards sprint got me safely back to the car. I was shaking. Avoid lady dog-walkers, bulls and otters - or it could be disastrous.

CAPTION(S):

Casting on the River Nevern in Pembrokeshire. Moc Morgan recalls 'catching' lots of trees until his patience was >rewarded with a nice sewin
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 17, 2013
Words:639
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