Fly Fishing with Doug Macnair: Product Update Tim Rajeff’s Micro Practice Rodã
For those interested in improving their fly cast, I’ve preached “practice, practice, practice” for years. My guess is that only about 20% bother to follow, what, to me, is a basic mandate. Regrettably, I’ve heard about every possible rationale for why practicing is impossible ranging from, “I don’t have access to the space I need,” thru “I don’t want to damage my fly line,” to “I only practice when I fish.”
Even though I’ve shown my clients how to build a practice device from a wooden dowel rod and a long piece of yarn, few have bothered to give it a try. Of course, Royal Wulff has been offering a more sophisticated device, called the Fly-O, for years … while it has enjoyed some success, I don’t think the statistics have changed very much.
I was excited when I first learned of Tim Rajeff’s contribution to the field – that’s when Rajeff Sports released the Echo Micro Practice Rod (MPR). Now, having spent a couple of months working with this casting aid, I believe the MPR has all the attributes the others lack: it is a miniature, nicely finished, 2-piece, 4-foot, fly rod complete with handle and single foot guides. The “line” is made of what appears to be a woven polyester. The “leader” appears to be made of yarn. But whatever the composition of line and leader, in conjunction with the rod’s setup, they work well.
There can be no question -- if you learn to cast with the MPR, you will be a competent fly caster! With it you can perfect the roll cast, the overhead cast, the sidearm cast and the backhanded cast. You can learn both the single and double haul, and you can shoot line.
Tim suggests that the MPR can also be used to master the elements of spey casting, a series of roll casting techniques rapidly gaining popularity in the US of A and an extension of the sport for which I judge myself to be a beginner.
That’s not bad for an inexpensive training device – retail around $36.95 - that can be used for a lifetime in teaching yourself and others the gentle art. The MPR comes in a plastic tube along with Tim Rajeff’s very simple and straight-forward instructions. (You know, of course, it’s arguable as to who is really the best fly caster when it comes to Tim and his brother, Steve Rajeff … both are superb fly casters and both are champions.)
As old age sets in, hindsight suggests that if only such a device had been available to youngsters like me a-way-back-when with little money and no instructors, who knows what might have happened to change my future.
In truth, practicing the fly cast is the secret to great fly fishing just as practicing the golf swing it is to a great game of golf … after all, both have a lot in common. Screw up either one and the results will dampen your day on the course or in the creek.
If you are serious about the sport, pickup an MPR and practice indoors or out. If you don’t have high ceilings, try it while siting down. There is only one thing to remember, don’t try roll casting on a hardwood floor … you need to be on carpet.
For more information on the Echo MPR, contact Rajeff Sports, LLD. at http://www.echoflyfishing.com or write to Rajeff Sports, 7113 NW 25th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98665. Telephone: 866.347.4359 / Fax: 360.694.1950.
Copyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 2007.
 The graphics used in this review are through the courtesy of Rajeff Sports, LLD.
Well good reviews do work, I ordered this last night from the full creel shop on ebay... $45 bucks with shipping to Canada.. blah, why not! Give me something to do in the house! My wife is gonna go bonkers!
My son's and I have been using this for about 5 months now. They have actually worn out the original yarn portion of the line. Had my wife get some yarn from the local store, back in business.
Has it helped me?... don't really know. It has with my son's, especially the youngest who practices every day with it. When he does use his real fly rod, there is a significant improvement in his cast. He actually has better form than I do. Not that I had any in the first place.
Regardless it is fun and we all enjoy using/practicing with it.
1) It can't really be used inside. When my box finally arrived after about a month of wait time from ordering, I tried to start swinging the thing inside and the yarn/rope is too heavy to use indoors.
Hit anything in your backcast and its gone. AS was the case when the rod edge came in contact with something on the table.
So I took it down to my basement. Which also wasn't big enough or tall enough should I say, so I sat down as the original reviewer said... This was fine for a while but its not great for practice. After all, we don't practice our golf swing from sitting down if there isn't enough room to make a full swing.
FInally took it outside which was fine but outside I can cast real line and a real rod...
Anyways, for the cost.. fine its nicely made, and looks fun.. But is it practical or useful? I would have to say, its going to spend more time in my closet then getting used.
Lindmar, I've had somewhat the same experience - freaked out my wife when she thought for sure I'd break some priceless artifact (would that I should be so lucky!). However, since I bought it to teach her to fly cast, not sure the idea hasn't backfired on me.
I do feel, however, that aside from finding enough clear space and height to really use it, it does really help in exaggerating the senses that tell you when you've got the rhythm right. I notice, for example, that you can really feel the "tug" that occurs when you've fully loaded the rod on the back cast and should begin the forward cast.
Now, if I only had a 6,000 sq.ft. McMansion with a bowling alley to practice it in . . .
I have the top half of several fishing rods. I tried it with yarn, was pretty
good, then I chopped an old 8 wt floater I had laying around, and wow
did it get interesting quickly. I'm not allowed to use it in the house any
more because the cat, the pit bull and the pomeranian were climbing
the funiture chasing it.
Ah, but I came on to say, heck yaa,
practise casting ... after a while it becomes
virtually effortless, more accurate, faster and more distance
I, too, bought one for my wife; so that she could work inside in the Winter on her casting. We have a high posted loft over a large garage and it's ideal for using this practice rod.
She uses it almost daily and I can see a real difference in her casting after only 2 weeks. The truth is, I use it probably more than she does; twice a day - on my way to the car/work and on my from the car/home.