i’m both speechless, sporting a huge grin, absolutely amazed and just all-around happy-extatic for what this means for children, girls, women, any fly angler/caster and the future of fly fishing in general. here’s why:
” At the U.S. National Casting Championships in Long Beach, Maxine McCormick finished fourth in fly casting accuracy behind only the world’s best, made the All-America team and bested the all-time women’s mark. That’s right, at age 11, she had the highest women’s score in history. She also broke seven junior national records in different events.
To put it in perspective, casters are scored in accuracy on a scale of zero to 300 in three events. Maxine scored a combined 289 in three events for fly accuracy. That tied for the fourth highest among all casters, no matter age, gender or past achievements.
Maxine’s 289 beat the all-time record for women, 286, set in the 1990s by Canada’s top champion, Brenda McSporran.
So what happened is that 11-year-old old Maxine just scored higher than any female in the history of the American Casting Association and was only outscored by Steve Rajeff, myself and father Glenn by just one point,” said Chris Korich of the Golden Gate Casting Club. “
for more on this amazing feat click the image above for the full article. enjoy !
for more amazing fly fishing kids here’s the complete brainwashem’ young series to share with your little ones.
some yummily-tinted flying fly line eye candy for us today by my Swedish buddy/casting virtuoso Roger Håkansson.
this year’s Gathering was great but a little strange.
firstly, this year’s Scottish meet was in Spain. i can’t go into the hows or whys of that but that part was cool as it’s always nice to visit a new place, even more so that i didn’t have the time this year to turn it into the usual three week casting and fishing affair and it was only 600km round trip from home instead of the usual 3000 or so. i basically live in the Pyrenees mountain range but on the diametrically opposite side. i’m on the north-east slope closer to the Mediterranean sea in France whereas the Spanish Basque region is on the south-west slope of the range closer to the Atlantic. same mountain but subtle differences in the landscape and weather patterns make it exotic enough, besides, the Pyrenees range is one of my favourite places on earth. although i was born and raised very far from here, in a sense, it’s the closest i can think of when i think of ‘home’.
having been kicked off of the Sexyloops forum several months ago made it even more strange. not because of all the great friends i’ve made over the years through the forum which was the real reason i went there, and where the friendship status hasn’t changed one iota, but you know, being kicked off a forum for no real or valid reason by its owner leaves a sour aftertaste even if that sourness is very mild.
this being my fourth Gathering i knew that the ‘play it by ear’ style of event organisation was the norm but i can’t help but feel bad for our Spanish friends who are always used to meets that are very structured and where casters of different levels are taken into consideration and offered casting games and different activities other than all-afternoon comp-style distance casting.
to be honest, i’m a lot more disappointed than what the above might suggest. the super high-level quality and willingness to share of my attending friends was there but it seems that the sour atmosphere of the forum has taken some of that enthusiasm away. i’m not the type to dwindle on the past and nostalgia but these meets where a hell of a lot better before. things change and i guess that’s normal but the most important hasn’t. here’s what some of them look like.
Trevor BourneBen Dixon
Joaquin Quintas, Carlos Azpilicueta, Mikel Coronado, J Nieto Fernandez
Mark displaying a very Masterful ‘wind knot’
Spanish/French border just north of Elizondo (french side)
at first i had thought maybe Tracey had forgotten to bring deodorant but it turned out that Carlos is simply allergic to airborne pollen.
casting film crew- James and Trev ‘The Bipod’
by Louis Stopford Darling 1907 via openlibrary.org
always amazed by what a little searching on the net can bring, here’s a nifty little 130 page insight on how casting sport was practiced over a hundred years ago in the US.
even now there isn’t a whole lot published on the matter and that makes this a real treat. outdated and current, it’s a very interesting read. it does involve a few chapters on dumb bait casting equipment but by using the chapter reference below you can just flip pages or better yet, use the slider at the bottom of the page to access the fly casting parts. (be warned that the chapters pages are a little arbitrary… )
as fishers, of special interest to most of us is “Obstacle Fly Casting”. you can recreate your own ‘obstacle course’ during practice sessions and/or turn this into your own games among friends where the winner receives a chosen beverage and even the looser will have learned a trick or two to bring to the water. “He laughs best who laughs last”… 😉
click on either pic to access the complete ebook. enjoy !
“Have a good look at me and smile because it’s probably the last time you’ll look at me without wanting to throw me away.”
how many times have you heard the gleeful chant “I just cast 30m/99 ft !!!” ? (with as an example the average line of 27m/90ft plus a 9′ leader) and that person believes the fluff-fly is actually that far from their feet ?
well, i’ve heard it a lot but since Stanley was usually missing from the equation, my reply tends to be a polite smile and maybe a “far-out !” for encouragement all the while knowing they’re usually 20 or so % off.
– with the average angler, in most cases the above distance once Stanley’d might be something around 25m at best.
– with an experienced caster (in this case meaning someone who has good to great control of their cast) that distance might be around 27-28m.
– and a distance competitor maybe between 28 and 29m.
please take notice of the ‘maybe’s‘ and ‘might be’s‘ above. there are too many countless variables involved to reach definite conclusions. however, my point here was to demonstrate ballpark proportions for the three groups of casters.
as can be expected, the one’s who regularly practice distance casting will be the most consistent and their casts will go furthest but there is a common denominator to the different levels: no one is actually reaching 30m. because fly lines simply don’t fly out and land all straight, taught and perfect. (or at least it’s so rare that it’s basically a freak incidence when/if it happens)
with our 30m example, to get to that distance consistently would mean being able to cast much further consistently and then ‘holding-back’ to reach the 30m smoothly, precisely and with straight line layout: actions that are extremely hard to manage when trying to cast ‘all-out’.
of course (and thankfully), most fishers/casters couldn’t care less about exact distances, so this all is just a reminder of a common phycological state/belief that things aren’t always as they seem.
thanks to friends like Mel Krieger who stated “The distance between your head and your hand can be a long way” and not-so friends like Stanley who likes to slap our egos once in a while, in the end both will put us back on the right track and make us work a little harder to live up to our expectations.
if you want to cast further and don’t have a tape measure, get one. as stated above, you’ll spend most of your time wanting to destroy it but at the same time, deep inside you’ll be happy to have this new friend and this one always tells the truth.
(a little lovingly nudge in the ribs to all my distance buddies… 😉 )
competition fly casting, at least distance casting isn’t my thing.
as much as i might have a great time watching others partake and know full well that there’s a lot to be brought back from it to the fishing world (similarly to how Formula 1 racing technology comes back to our everyday cars), i’ll learn a lot from it but i don’t enjoy it myself.
i’ve hurt myself so much in the past doing other activities that this type of casting leaves me in pain. big pain. i’ll play along briefly with my friends at various shoot-outs at Gatherings but i won’t practice for it anymore. getting good at the distance game means an enormous amount of effort both physically and mentally and today’s featured comment is about this last part, the mental aspect.
however, as much as the thoughts below are geared towards competition they can also be of great benefit to the fly angler desiring to be a better caster, better prepared to attack a challenging situation in everyday fishing or on a special trip.
confidence, knowing when to give it all or hold back, repeatability, time constraints and looking outside of the fly casting world to find ways to improve our activity are just a few common elements that’ll make a great difference between an average caster and one who wants to go up a few notches.
to sum it up, it’s about being aware, conscious or whatever you want to call it about how you’re moving through space and time, being able to judge your ‘comfort zone’, lower and upper limits and yup, you guessed it, none of this will happen without regular practice, focussed practice, practice with a goal.
with John Waters’ kind permission, i’ll hope you’ll find it useful for your own needs.
Preparation for any sporting contest is the same, including casting sport.
Confidence in your ability to reproduce your best under pressure requires perfecting that technique. Training can be divided into a number of categories but I will restrict them here to two, namely technique training and competition training. Technique training should be performed at 50% to 80 % of your competition speed. You can’t learn/change technique whilst casting at full speed.
In conjunction with technique training, strength and flexibility preparation should also be undertaken. Close to the event start training under competition pressure. If you are alone in this pursuit (and we are unfortunately), you must structure your training as if you are competing. Replicate the event’s time limit to your training periods and plan each cast within that time limit. By that I mean you will usually get between 5 to 8 casts in 5 minutes. Train such that the first two casts are at 80% to 90% of your speed/power capacity and use them for a threefold purpose ie. relax your body, structure your breathing and judge your optimum trajectory in the conditions.
The 3rd and 4th casts are at max. speed and power, maintaining your relaxation regime. The 5th and later casts are at max capacity but realise that you need to increase your focus on relaxation because at this stage you may have the propensity to try too hard and technique suffers. Understand this and train to maintain your technique when the clock is ticking down to zero. There are many ways you can do this but a simple one is to train for this by setting an alarm clock to specify a time limit on a minimum number of false casts and a delivery.
If you want to perform at your best, you must maintain your technique under the pressure of competition so identify your specific coping mechanisms and structure your training accordingly. Competition-associated nerves cannot be avoided but can be channelled. Remember practice does not make perfect, but perfect practice does. In a casting competition you are only competing against yourself, because you have no control over what the other competitors achieve, so develop a competition persona and technique that focuses your complete attention exclusively upon what you are doing. The only other thing I could suggest is to compete in tournaments as often as you can.Also, I suggest you talk to as many people as possible about competition casting. I know you are concentrating on the fly events but correspond with casters in other events e.g. plug casting events because their competition techniques are far more restrictive than fly casting. You don’t have the option of another false cast to get it right there, it is all or nothing in one cast. Now that really focuses the mind on mental preparation and casting technique.