Joan and Lee Wulff developed these as teaching tools for use in their fly casting school. They are still available from The Wulff School, although I actually got mine from an online auction.
To quote the Wulff website:
"The Fly-O is a 3' rod with 15 feet of bulky fluorescent yarn for casting practice. Requiring the same timing and nearly the same strength to push the yarn through the casting motions, it simulates fly tackle perfectly. For off-season or brush-ups. New instruction booklet by Joan Wulff included. Replacement yarn available."
When I got mine it was minus the bulky yarn. I found what I believe to be a suitable replacement at the craft store, but I can't say for sure if it has the exact same casting qualities as what Joan sends out with the Fly-O.
From my experience, it really is an interesting toy to play with. The yarn is light enough so that it forces you to pick up line with a good bit of speed and pretty much the same amount of power you would use to pick up a real fly line off the water. You also have to really push through on the forward cast. It definitely makes you focus on your timing. I've also tried it out with a scrap piece of 6 wt line. That works OK, but to actually use fly line you really need to have the right length of line out to cast it effectively.
There is also a version (I think it's safe to call it a copy) put about by ECHO called the Micro Practice Rod. This one is a 4' two piece while the Fly-O is a 3' one piece. I've seen one of these at a FFF local club meeting once, but I didn't try to cast it. It seemed like pretty much the same thing.
|tool or toy?|
So am I the only one with a bit of cabin fever playing with an indoor fly fishing toy?... or as the Wulff Fly-O description calls it, doing a little "off-season" brushing up.