With the Samurai System, starting with a kayak paddle held in both hands, one can:
- while standing in a kayak,
- after sighting a fish,
- stow the paddle quietly
- acquire the fly rod in the casting hand,
and make a 40 foot or greater fly-cast (whatever length you feel safe to keep in the stripping bucket)
- without splashing or bumping the boat with the paddle,
- or shifting one’s weight or making any extraneous motions that can telegraph to the fish by jiggling the boat, making shadows and movement.
- without having to drop anchors, stake a Cajun anchor or stab the paddle in the bottom
- all in 5-7 seconds or less, and WITHOUT EVER TAKING EYES OFF THE FISH.
The system allows you to have everything perfect and it is the same every time which allows you to practice. All that winds up actually allowing you to take your time and be smooth, no need to rush. I personally yard practice with the system using a velcro fly casting to targets. The velcro fly sticks to the pad on the stripping bucket and pulls loose like the hook in a fly and it sticks to my casting target. The practice helps me get all the motions down. The practice provides the confidence to prevent feeling compelled to look away from the fish.
These additional pitfalls are taken care of as well:
- In pre-“Samurai” days I would often grab my rod only to find that the line would be wrapped around the guides like this.
I have always said if you just put a fly rod in a room by itself with the line neatly stowed, if you leave the room and come right back, the line will be wrapped around the guides. Slack is the enemy. That is true in your casting and its true before the cast. Slack line and a windy day is the worst. The “Samurai” System keeps a tight line between the rod and the fly, keeping the rod from becoming wrapped. The rubber grommet, or “line lock” will allow you to have plenty of shooting line in the basket but will keep the line tight, and ready to cast. When you grasp the rod to cast, the line will be under your hand, still under control, in other words.
When you pull the rod from the holder, that’s the trigger, the line will pull from the grommet and be ready to cast. You don’t have to take your eyes off the fish, just feel with your stripping hand for the tight flyline, follow it to the fly, pull the fly loose from the fly landing pad, and cast!
- The wind is the bane of any fly fisher’s existence, sight caster or not, but the wind makes everything more difficult for a kayaker in the marsh. It only takes a few seconds for the wind to turn a kayak or push it out of casting range of a fish. My past tactic, after spotting a fish, was to drop bow and stern anchors. Two anchors were required to keep the wind from turning the boat as well as moving the boat. Many times while dropping the anchor, I took my eyes off the fish or I banged the side of the boat or made a big splash. Its hard to have an anchoring system that isn’t noisy. Even Cajun anchors require stabbing into the mud, some do that through the scupper holes, tell me there is no contact with the boat! Sometimes, even when I do drop the anchor quietly, the fish still spook because I think fish can feel the vibration of the anchor rope in the pulley. And just because the fish doesn’t make a mud trail high tailing it, does not mean he’s not spooked. Did you ever have a fish stay put but not want to take the fly or suddenly speed away when you didn’t appear to do anything? That’s because the fish sensed your presence. It was probably something you did that you didn’t think he noticed. The fish can sense you and then try to figure out what you are or what is giving him strange vibes. When the fly hits the water, he isn’t thinking of feeding, he is thinking of escape. He’s not just one of those crazy fish that spooked when the fly hit the water, he was probably on to you and was ready to get out of Dodge at the least disturbance.
Speed is the solution. If you can cast in 5 or 6 or 7 seconds, the wind can’t move you or turn you enough to make a difference. And here is a tip, never assume what the fish is going to do. Don’t be lulled into a feeling that the fish is going to hang around while you get your act together, most of the time, he won’t. The longer you take, the more opportunity there is for him to detect you. Cast!