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Old 26th September 2011, 15:31
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Default DVD Review: How to Spey Cast with Mike Daunt. 'Ooh, you are awful ... but I like you!

Have you seen the Mel Brookes film, The Producers? A hilarious black comedy where the main characters produced a play of such bad taste it had the audience wide eyed and opened mouthed at first and then in uproarious laughter. Well that was me watching this DVD.

For the first 15 minutes I laughed and cringed in equal measure. As it went on, and Mike having likened spey casting to "making love to a difficult women " (and in some detail) for the second time, I laughed less and cringed a little more. I was however looking forward to the cast the DVD's back-cover claimed he was famous for; The 'Fanny Puller'. This turned out to be no more than the well known snake roll made famous by Simon Gawesworth many years ago but was entertaining nonetheless. Adding more spice to the show was a very funny rude story, an early reference to his 'family air-loom' and the odd mild swear word--but I think you must, by now, be getting the feel for the tone of this DVD.

But what of the spey casting? Well, the opening scenes showed a fly-fisher spey casting in the distance to very nice narrated prose (which was setting a fine fishing scene), and I thought, "hello - that can't be Mike Daunt surely?". I thought the fisher was spey casting as if he was wielding an axe!

I was wrong on both counts; it WAS Mike and he later described how you should throw out the line as if trying to bang down a door with a sledge hammer.

Mike is of the old school and so is his spey casting technique. I know there are many ways to skin a cat but modern spey casting methods are genuinely more elegant and effective than Mike's. Mike does, however, offer some unusual methods. He has an extraordinary style where he raises his hands above his head into the 'key' (sledge-hammer wielding) position before dropping them just before the final throw. We can call this the 'Daunty dip' because I certainly have never seen it before.

Less unique is the DVD cover claim that single handed spey casting is shown for the first time ever on film. This is simply a false claim. Derek Brown did so in 1995 and several others have also done so including Simon Gawesworth, Way Yin and more recently Jan Eric Granbo of Norway.

Nevertheless, Mike does offer viewers plenty of very sensible advice and he is a colourful character and dogmatic performer in the mould of his great mentor Hugh Falkus, but with a keener sense of fun. Clearly Mike will not be everyone's cup of tea, and Dick Emery's busty blond character would have pushed him away and said, 'Ooh, you are awful ... but I like you!', but if you are of the old school and like a whisky or two with the grumpy (but jolly) old men (and many of us salmon fishers do of course) then you will warm to Mike and treat this video as a bit of fun.

But no more than that. Expect to see it alongside the 'Effing' Fulfords on Channel 4 sometime!

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